Interviews by Sergio Álvarez; spiritual guidance by Diego Merino.
What do I like about Baku? It’s a tough one to answer, in all honesty.
It’s wider than Monaco, one and the most important one.
The architecture around the track is downright Soviet, from the 1940s or 1950s. So original and unrestored, two.
The narrow old city walls turn thingy is ace, turn 9, is it? Awesome for serious track blockage, three.
“Ericsson hit us”, four.
A podium for Lance Stroll? Five.
“Did I leave the magic on?” Lewis, six. He’ll need a lot of his magic back in Baku this time around. Okay, as a former GP2 champ, kind of F2 of its day.
Vettel knew what he was doing there, he rammed Lewis. Remember that one?
Relative to F2, well, I suppose Vips Baku double last year? Enjoy the face mask, for sure.
Folks, feel free to check out our previous posts from the Land of Fire by clicking here.
You’ve been… thunder-blocked!
Jüri Vips, pole, 1:53.762
Liam Lawson, P2, 1:53.925
Dennis Hauger, 1:53.973
Q: “Dennis, good to see you in this presser. Something has obviously clicked for you in qualifying, can you share with us what that may have been for this improvement in form?”
Hauger: “This track and Monaco I’ve never been to. This one seems to be one of the quicker tracks I’ve been driving on as well. Also, I think it’s about building up through the season and getting there more and more, getting more comfortable with the car. To be honest, in terms of (driving) technique, the tracks I thought I’d struggle more, I really worked hard to try and fix it, try to work on it so I’m really happy we could make this step. I think that’s something good we can also bring to other tracks.”
Q: “We know that Baku clashes with the Le Mans 24 Hours/WEC round, would you guys like to drive there at some point in your careers?”
Vips: “Um, at the moment I’m interested in the move to F1! But yeah, I dunno, five-ten years from now, potentially yes. I think at some point Le Mans for sure, maybe Indy 500 as well.”
Lawson: “Formula 1 right now is what I’m thinking about but obviously there are very, very cool things and series that maybe in the future I would definitely be interested in. For sure right now, the goal is the same (as Vips).”
Hauger: “Yeah, obviously the same goal – F1. That’s the main focus. Obviously in the future at some point that (LM24) could be a possibility but that’s not my first thought right now.”
Frederik Vesti, winner, 48:36.014
Jehan Daruvala, P2, 48:36.394
Liam Lawson, P3, 48:37.116
Q: “First off, massive congrats to Fred! During such a chaotic race on restarts, how difficult was it keep the tyres the brakes in the optimal operating window? If all three drivers could share their opinion with us, please.”
Lawson: “I would say the most difficult thing with F2 is keeping the brakes warm under the Safety Car. Even on this circuit with the long straights I feel like the SC was… or at least from where I was most of the race, I was sitting in P9 or P7. It was really tough for me to keep brake temperature. When you lose the brake temperature, you also lose the tyre temperature and it makes the restarts quite tough. That part is quite difficult to get perfectly in the window and I would say that’s sort of the most difficult thing we face when we have these consecutive restarts because when it goes green, it takes at least a lap or two until you basically do Turn 1 and a big brake there, then you start to generate the temperature again. Without that, it makes it quite tough.”
Vesti: “The first SC was quite challenging because I had no idea what to expect here in Baku. After the first one, I didn’t have a lot of grip and that’s why Jehan got away. But then on the second one, I adapted a few things and I had a lot more confidence and (tyre) temperature in the car which meant I straight away was able to fight as well. It also gave me, as soon as I got past Jehan, the possibility to actually push really hard and then make that gap.”
Daruvala: “Yeah, it’s quite tricky, I think. Especially with only a few laps to go and cold brakes. Well, not cold brakes, but brakes that don’t work as well as they normally do and tyres which are not in the window. And every driver is pretty much playing a game of chicken down the straight, you know. Everyone looks at each other and you wanna be the last person to do the brakes and it can go wrong! That’s why a lot of people end up going into the wall but it makes it really exciting as well.”
Dennis Hauger, winner, 1:03:29.334
Logan Sargeant, P2, 1:03:29.826
Felipe Drugovich, P3, 1:03:30.280
Q: “Felipe, you’re on the podium in Baku, it must feel great to extend your championship lead. Do you think consistency is the main goal for you now in the remaining rounds?”
Drugovich: “Yes. I think, as I already said quite many times, I try to be consistent every time, that’s the main focus I’ve had coming into this year and it’s working now quite well, I would say. So that’s going to be my focus until the end of the year. Obviousy we have some big areas we need to work on, but at the same time we need to be or try to be at least consistent and get the points when things don’t go our way.”
Q: “The Castle section has so far claimed a few drivers, be it in F1 or F2. What’s the key to staying out of trouble there for the whole race?”
Sargeant: “You just have to trust the car really. Again, I’ve been building up on this track day after day, starting to feel more and more comfortable. It just comes down to being confident in the car, trusting what you have underneath you and just pretty much throwing it in there. That’s about it!”
Hauger: “Yeah, I mean, same as Logan said. In the end, it’s about building up on this track. The people who were here last year obviously know some of the margins and having a bit of experience always helps with that. All the weekend it’s getting tighter and tighter and the margins are so small, especially in such a tight section with the speeds we’re having. I don’t think there’s really a formula – just send it!”
Drugovich: “Yeah, drive fast, get close to the walls, but not too close.”
Valuable life lessons from Baku:
- Drugovich scored 19 points to Pourchaire’s 2. Not particularly great for the Frenchman. ART need to get their art of producing quick cars back. “I think in Quali, we’re not good”, says TP. Let’s wait and see what happens in Silverstone next time out.
- Vesti and Hauger never give up: how fresh was that to see Vesti and Hauger take wins on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Keeps working at it, keep pushing.
- Daruvala is getting closer to Pourchaire in the standings, just a meagre 10 pts away. Go Jehan!
- Did F2 look more exciting in Baku than F1 or wot?
- Vips under pressure: for a Red Bull junior he’s been doing a lot of Scott Speed/Liuzzi impersonations lately – and not even racing for the team formely known as Toro Rosso. Is that a psychological issue?
- F1 drivers will now envy F2 peeps who don’t really suffer nearly as much with spinal issues. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? You tell me, I’m clueless!