Baku, 2017

Verstappen worried Red Bull will suffer on Baku’s straights

2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen expects the long straights on the Baku City Circuit will expose Red Bull’s straight-line speed disadvantage when F1 visits the track next week.

His Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo won last year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix after several of his rivals were delayed or eliminated in a hectic race.

However the two Red Bull drivers had among the lowest straight-line speeds in Shanghai last weekend. Baku has several long straights and sees the highest top speeds of the year.

“It’s a nice circuit even though it isn’t ideally suited to our car,” said Verstappen. “The straight is so long which means we miss out on some valuable time there.

“Last year I think we managed to drive around our problems really well and therefore be competitive come the race day.”

Verstappen was running fourth in last year’s race when a power unit problem forced him out.

“Last year was a very unfortunate weekend for me,” he said. “It was a shame because the car felt really good but I encountered a lot of problems which ultimately meant I missed out on a potential podium, perhaps even a win. I’m hoping this year I can make up for that lost opportunity.”

Verstappen criticised Red Bull’s TAG-Heuer-branded Renault power units during the Chinese Grand Prix weekend. He said some of the problems he experienced were the same as those he suffered in Baku last year.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 55 comments on “Verstappen worried Red Bull will suffer on Baku’s straights”

    1. I wonder how Toro Rosso will fare on the extremely long approximately 2km full-throttle section (the longest full-throttle section of the entire Championship), LOL.

      1. @jerejj Given that their speed trap figures have been among the best this season I’d suggest quite well, actually.

    2. I’m more worried that the spinster max will destroy the race to be champion.

      1. Very childish remark if you ask me .. it’s getting old very fast !!
        Verstappen has a point that the long straight wil cost them probably 0,6 to 0,8 sec .. maybe they can win back some time in the corners.

        1. @Arnoud van Houwelingen , How is it getting old when Verstappen provides a reminder every race?

          1. @philby

            Lewis caused worst reactions in his 5th season when he was still the lucky 1 time champ putting up poor defences of his titles. Funny how moving to an utterly dominate team his flaws were papered over. Maybe the same will happen to Verstappen.

            Niki Lauda
            “What Hamilton did there goes beyond all boundaries”. “He is completely mad. If the FIA does not punish him, I do not understand the world anymore. At some point, there has to be an end to all the jokes. You cannot drive like this – as it will result in someone getting killed.”

            Jackie Stewart
            “Lewis is having too many collisions with too many drivers, and he can’t blame the stewards, because there is a different set at every race.
            “I’m a great supporter of Lewis, but I think he’s hiding under blinkers at the moment. You can’t keep going for gaps that don’t exist, and if he’s blaming the car and the team, that’s just unprofessional. No driver had the perfect car.”

            Stirling Moss
            “Lewis is going a bit too far in some cases, his handling of himself is not that good. His father is no longer his manager, which is a problem. If they could get together, it would be a good thing.”

            Mark Webber
            “clumsy, I think he thought the chequered flag was in Turn Three”

            1. @bigjoe
              As it was true then it is true now. So what should we do? Abstain from criticizing Max Verstappen because other drivers have done the same in the past?
              The recurring themes at every race of the year so far have been Mercedess winless start, Williams hitting rock bottom, Mclaren underdelivering yet again and Verstappen driving like Maldonado.

            2. @philby,

              Criticizing is not the problem. Every driver deserves a healthy portion of it.. But it’s a bit ( a lot in fact) of balance now.
              i.e. Did you looked the Alonso action on VET.. no problem for many but way more serious compared to VER on HAM.

      2. Red Bull worried Verstappen will suffer on Baku’s turns

        These comments just scream to be made. And I strongly believe that it will all be forgotten after a few stellar races by him.

    3. I don’t mean to sound like I’m jumping on board the “Max is terrible” bandwagon, but if I were him right now, I’d be worried more about running a clean race. Get the car home undamaged, don’t spin anyone, just play it safe. Don’t be as cautious as Bottas was in Bahrain, per se, but he should be focused on improving his decision making. If he has a shot at the win, go for it, but that’s not the highest priority.

      1. @forzamaldonado For me I think the last thing he needs to distract himself with is worry. I think Max himself said as much right after China…that he has to focus on picking the timing of his battles a little better, but he’s not going to change his hard charging ways much otherwise, thank goodness.

        I’m sure what stung the most for him was handing DR the win, so I’m sure China will be a valuable learning weekend that will stick in his throat a bit. That said these guys are well trained not to dwell too much on what has already happened, and to just learn from it and move on. And Max has a massive career ahead of him.

        1. @robbie Exactly. The only issue that he has had is impatience, in situations where he had plenty of time and a clear advantage. He should think more strategically before committing to such opportunistic moves.

          I didn’t mind his aggressiveness at all when he was behind Magnussen in Melbourne. If he didn’t try it there he would have been stuck behind – finishing in a useless position anyway.

    4. Max (@varrietix70)
      19th April 2018, 20:39

      Not a problem for him. He will crash into other to overtake.

    5. Cheeky Keith, putting a McLaren picture with that headline

      1. About that picture. Do we need mammoth Mexican border in that section? It kinda miss opportunity of having a unique view.

        1. @ruliemaulana Yes and for two reasons:
          The obvious one, if an accident happens in a worst case debris or even a car might make its way onto the opposite lane and cause a potentially massive massive accident, think Zanardi but with way bigger speed difference.
          The maybe less obvious one, walls or armco without any sort of fencing on top pose the risk of the car contacting the edge of the wall from atop if it gets airborne. This sort of impact is massively dangerous and hard to protect against as all the force is applied in a single, small spot-> where the wall top contacts. And this means that a) your protection needs to be extremely strong and b) extremely small close nit so the edge cannot cut through or ‘slip between’.
          An unprotected wall edge could even today result in a scenario somewhat similiar to what happened to Francois Cevert and several other drivers.

        2. Or in short, if you don’t have this sort of fencing, the upper edge of the wall can basically act as a concrete knife.

      2. two McLarens, Vettel and a blue flag, what more can you ask?

        #blessed

    6. Low top speed hasn’t stopped Ricciardo from winning in China and Baku.

    7. @ruliemaulana how about a flush border, so if someone crashes can directly hit incoming traffic on the opposite straight! Seriously, for that kind of configuration, I think the fence is never high enough.

    8. Without Max most viewers of F1 would be asleep after the 3rd lap. Let’s hope his driving gets more aggressive.

      1. Yes, let him take himself and some Ferrari and Mercedes car out, so we can have a fresh podium with cars from Haas, Renault and McLaren.

      2. All those spins and crashes Verstappen done this year, only damaged his own and others drivers races. He needs to take himself and 2 other top cars completely out. You can do Verstappen ;-)

    9. Sad to see the Max Verstappen Witch-hunt still ongoing. Are F1 fans becoming snowflakes due to the sport increasingly becoming more sanitzed?

      Guess which driver the below legends + Mark Webber were talking about?

      Stirling Moss
      “He is going a bit too far in some cases, his handling of himself is not that good. His father is no longer his manager, which is a problem. If they could get together, it would be a good thing.”

      Niki Lauda
      “What he did there goes beyond all boundaries”. “He is completely mad. If the FIA does not punish him, I do not understand the world anymore. At some point, there has to be an end to all the jokes. You cannot drive like this – as it will result in someone getting killed.”

      Jackie Stewart
      “He is having too many collisions with too many drivers, and he can’t blame the stewards, because there is a different set at every race.
      “I’m a great supporter of him, but I think he’s hiding under blinkers at the moment. You can’t keep going for gaps that don’t exist, and if he’s blaming the car and the team, that’s just unprofessional. No driver had the perfect car.”

      Mark Webber
      “clumsy, I think he thought the chequered flag was in Turn Three”

      1. I tend to see it the other way around: The standard of driving just keeps dropping. Where Schumacher was just squeezing people, it is nowadays the accepted norm that smaller pieces of car go missing during a ‘clean’ overtake. I still cringe remembering Hockenheim 2014- everybody heralding Hamilton on his drive through the field while he basically kept crashing (or bullying) people off at the hairpin. Has this been going on for decades? yes. Is everybody doing it? sort of. Does this fact make it better? i don’t think so.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          20th April 2018, 12:50

          @mrboerns if everyone drove like Lewis, then F1 in its current form would truly be the best wheel-to-wheel spectacle. Lewis is actually one of the most measured drivers out there and IMO has the ultimate “squeeze” where other drivers have time to react and made a decision. He even squeezed out Max without pushing the whole way over the weekend.

          In general terms, it’s most of the other drivers that can’t do what Lewis does. One driver who blows me away by his extreme tactics is Vettel.

          @BigJoe Spot on – Max needs to regroup. I believe this will be the turning point – there’s criticism from everyone including his father – I’m sure he understands that this is nowhere near the level he should be performing. People no longer see him as a rookie kid – they see him as a real F1 racer and he has to deliver at that level.

          1. @freelittlebirds And I think the criticism toward Max, at least as it comes from F1 insiders, has only been constructive, and nothing Max wouldn’t agree with and already knew coming out of the car after China too. An immediate apology to Seb and contrition in his post-race interviews.

            Whoever said this is so right I think…that being, that it is a lot easier to get a hard charger like Max to dial it back just a notch and be a bit more thoughtful of better places and times to attempt passes, than to get a driver to become a hard charger like him to begin with if they are not already. Can’t help thinking of VB here, and that for me at least he doesn’t have that level of instinct…that same drive. Max is in for an awesome F1 career. VB’s will be ok, but after this season he won’t have as good a chance for the WDC again, and he won’t be winning it this year. Max will continue to have many chances and will achieve several WDCs in his career. Imho of course.

          2. @freelittlebirds lets agree to disagree then.

      2. I don’t understand your point regarding snowflakes, f1 has always had drivers who cause more accidents than others, and they’ve always been criticised by fans, Max is no different. Only difference now is that social media is more prevalent than it was in the past, so people can voice their opinions easier.

        1. And more important,, not distracted by any knowledge shouting all kind of strange remarks.

          1. Indeed, especially the ones who are driven by blind nationalism. BigJoe, hahostolze, patrick-anunaki, seth. 98% of their comments are only made to portray some kind of impeccability of their idol.

      3. “Are F1 fans becoming snowflakes”

        Judging by your response to criticism of who I can reasonably assume to be your favorite driver, then yes. Absolutely. Because apparently Max can do no wrong and if he spins or crashes, clearly it’s not his fault. Either someone drove into him, checked him up, the team left him out on old tires too long, the track conditions were poor, RBR clearly is conspiring against him and want him to fail, the reptilian space gods that decide the results of every F1 race just don’t like him…

        I think I’ve made my point.

        1. @forzamaldonado

          I don’t have a favourite driver. I should be supporting Vandoorne though.

          I first noticed the increase in snowflake fans when we heard more and more of the drivers on the radio and hearing the complaints/said things out of frustration under adrenaline and get criticised for it online. Fans are getting genuinely upset and offended when drivers say things out of frustration. In the old days you’d respect that drivers have earnt the chance to be where they are and look up to them. Now we’re at the point where fans want to see drivers hounded out of F1 as if they are beneath the fan. Maybe it’s F1’s own fault for the good PR culture and directing towards squeaky clean images and the fans got confused. I watch other exciting Formulas with more human drivers and more trouble on and off the track yet the fans of those series enjoy it.

    10. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      20th April 2018, 12:56

      Not sure if it will be Red Bull that suffers only – we saw Lewis unable to pass Sebastian last year and I think Bottas had trouble passing Stroll.

      The straight seems to really go on forever although there is a section with a few corners before you hit it but they seem to be flat out. Does anyone how long is that straight or how long they drive at full throttle? Is there a longer straight in the season?

      Also does anyone know why the Mercedes couldn’t pass the Ferrari last year on the straight at Baku? Everyone kept saying the Mercedes is faster or much faster but it didn’t seem capable of an endless drag race with DRS and a draft against the Ferrari.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        20th April 2018, 13:03

        Are turns 17, 18, 19, 20 at Baku flat out? The DRS activation zone is right on turn 20.

        Baku Circuit

    11. Abiteboul just said Renault is bringing a BIG upgrade from Spain, and Max continues with the PU digs. I really believe what Lauda said about him is true.

      1. Spain is then, Baku is next weekend. The upgrade won’t help Max in Baku. Hence his concern. And then let’s see how big the upgrade is, especially if others have upgrades too.

      2. Shouldn’t they still use the first engines as of spain?

        1. I think Renault are aiming mainly at mapping/software upgrades.

    12. Schumi did a lot more than just squeezing while defending. Including moving all over the place and crashing on purpose

      And we shouldn’t forget that the current cars are more fragile with all these tiny bits on it

      1. Oh this was supposed to be a reply to @mrboerns

      2. “Schumi did a lot more than just squeezing while defending. Including moving all over the place” – So has Max in his still short career.

        1. Sure he did this, but that’s not really relevant (and actually within the rules). It was said that shumi only did squeezing. But just ask Hill and Villeneuve

          1. Yeah yeah i know but it was Hardly
            His standard move. Did it twice in desperate situations.

            Also this thinkpiece is Not about what is permitted by the rules but about what we should and should not consider as sporting and fair.

            1. @mrboerns

              Schumacher did it more than it twice. Ask Massa, Alesi, Wurz, Heidfeld, Montoya. Nurburgring (2003 I think), he was actively looking to take out anyone trying to pass him, Button cottoned on then realised he would have to overtake way around the outside. This was a wet race too were presumably Schumacher’s set-up gamble didn’t pay off. Schumacher’s instincts were like the soccer goalkeeper’s professional foul.

          2. It certainly ís relevant.
            And actually within the rules? Most certainly not. He has gotten numerous penalties (and actually not even enough).
            Hill and Villeneuve. Those two examples weren’t just squeezes, indeed. But the main thing is, you came up with the Schumi-examples just to excuse Max, like you always do.
            And another funny thing is, Max is modelled after Schumi. Ask Jos.

    13. I’m still waiting to see onboard video from Louis, when Max was overtaking, until I see that I don’t agree with none of you!

    14. If the long straights are going to cause Red Bull problems, how far behind will McLaren be?

      1. I think this will be their worst circuit performance wise so far, mostly because of their drag issue, and just that Renault just hasn’t gotten their straight line speed woes fixed yet. Heck, Honda looks to have improved it’s straight line speed to Renault levels, or maybe even more.

        It’s not going to be an easy weekend for them, but as in Baku last year, anything’s possible

    15. @mrboerns

      Schumacher did it more than it twice. Ask Massa, Alesi, Wurz, Heidfeld, Montoya. Nurburgring (2003 I think), he was actively looking to take out anyone trying to pass him, Button cottoned on then realised he would have to overtake way around the outside. This was a wet race too were presumably Schumacher’s set-up gamble didn’t pay off. Schumacher’s instincts were like the soccer goalkeeper’s professional foul.

    16. Does anyone really want to see Max change the way he drives? He and Dan are keeping F1 alive at the moment giving the top two a run.

      Yes he made two errors but I think give him a break. He made a mistake, apologied and moved on. If he keeps doing it then fair play, but he’s not a rookie now and he will learn .

    17. Apologised.

    18. Max Verstappen doesnt have the right to criticize anyone or anything right now.

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