AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX RACE
LAST YEAR’S RACE LAP RECORD BROKEN BY MORE THAN THREE SECONDS,
ON SUPERSOFT TYRES
DANIEL RICCIARDO WINS A CHAOTIC RACE WITH STRATEGY
DICTATED BY INCIDENTS AND STOPPAGES
BakuJune 25, 2017 – A dramatic Azerbaijan Grand Prix was characterised by multiple safety cars and an extended red flag period in the middle of the race to sweep up debris from earlier incidents. This meant that the one-stop strategy that would have been adopted by all the leading runners went out of the window, and instead, teams had to react to changing circumstances. Nearly every driver made what they thought would probably be their sole pit stop under the safety car on lap 13. But under red flag conditions on lap 22 teams were allowed to change tyres, which meant that the race concluded with a 29-lap sprint to the flag, with all the drivers then using supersoft tyres. Through all these incidents Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo emerged as the winner, while another stand-out performance was from Valtteri Bottas, who went from last to second, also using supersoft for most of the race.
MARIO ISOLA – HEAD OF CAR RACING
“It was an eventful and dramatic race, during which the best strategy consisted of reacting to events rather than following a pre-determined plan. The supersoft demonstrated both durability and performance, as shown by a race lap record that was more than three seconds faster than last year.”
The one-stop strategy was discarded as soon as the red flag came out; otherwise, most drivers looked set to implement it by stopping under the safety car from lap 13. With a free choice of tyres for the second half of the race, they all ran on the supersoft to the flag, making it effectively a two-stopper. Ricciardo followed a slightly different pattern to most: he started on supersoft, switched to soft on lap six while dealing with a technical issue, emerging 16th, then went back to supersoft after the red flag.
Post photo – BY COURTESY OF PIRELLI