Ahead of the F1 Azerbaijan GP 2021, our circuit guide tells you all you need to know about the Baku street circuit.
Photo credit: Codemasters
With the F1 season in full swing, the next destination is a fairly new addition to the calendar, but one which has already produced some awesome racing action: Baku in Azerbaijan. The cars will hit the street circuit from 4 until 6 June, which leaves a few days to hop on F1 2020 and familiarise yourself with the circuit. We’ve created a guide to help you hit the ground running and hopefully keep you out of those oh-so inviting barriers.
Turns 1 and 2 – A challenging start
After the long main straight where you reach speeds of up to 365 kph (226 mph), T1 is a sharp ninety-degree left-hander. It’s crucial to be careful on the brakes as they could be cold and it’s easy to lock a wheel. With DRS enabled and a strong tow from the car in front, this also represents an excellent overtaking spot. There’s a short straight before T2 – another slow ninety-degree corner. Make sure to stay up against the wall to ensure the perfect exit into the second DRS zone.
Turns 5 and 6 – Keep it tidy
After two more ninety-degree corners at T3 and T4, you approach the chicane of turns 5 and 6. Brake for T5 just after the 100m board and hold a very tight line, before immediately entering T6. Your front wing will get very close to the outer wall on exit, so be careful not to damage it. Upon reaching T7 prepare to take a lot of kerb, but not too much or you risk a penalty for exceeding track limits.
Turns 8 to 12 – Threading the eye of a needle
Next we come to what is arguably the most difficult part of the circuit – the castle section. This sequence of corners is categorically single-file only, as the track is only marginally wider than an F1 car. Enter slowly, and watch the kerbs on either side. It’s easy to misjudge this and have rather an embarrassing accident – much like both Robert Kubica and Charles Leclerc did in qualifying back in 2018.
Turn 16 – A good exit is important
Once you’ve squeezed through the castle section unscathed, you’re rewarded with a little break. Turns 13 and 14 are easily flat out in the dry, though you may need to lift a bit if your tyres are worn. T15 is a much greater challenge. It has a deceptive downhill gradient, which means you have to brake hard before you reach the kerb. Brake any later and you’ll have to bail down the escape road on the right. T16 is also critical, as it’s the last braking point in the lap. Getting a good exit here will help you carry good speed throughout the final part.
Turns 17 to 20 – Just keep it flat out
You can forget about your brake pedal now because you won’t need it again until T1 of the next lap. Turns 17 to 20 are all flat out, assuming it’s dry and you haven’t picked up any wing damage earlier on. However, this sequence of corners remains a challenge, and taking the correct line could shave a few extra thousandths of a second off your overall lap time. If you’re unsure how to recognise the ultimate racing line, check out our guide on that topic to find out how it’s done.
GUIDE: HOW TO DRIVE THE PERFECT RACING LINE
So now you should be ready to hit the track and rock Baku. Take your time, avoid those walls, and with our handy tips you should be lapping like a pro in no time at all.
Are there any other circuits that you would like to see a guide about? Let us know at @overtake_gg or leave a comment down below!