Max Verstappen is hoping he can make up for last year’s disappointment in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, though he admits it’s not a circuit that favours the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team.
The 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was one of the most action-packed of the season, and was where we saw the infamous clash between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
This contact, couple with headrest issues for Hamilton, blew the race wide open, allowing Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo to take his fifth career win and Lance Stroll to take an extremely unlikely third place.
Verstappen, meanwhile, was unable to take advantage of this unlikely scenario as he’d retired on lap twelve of the fifty-one lap race with oil pressure issues.
This year Verstappen says he is looking to make up for that “missed opportunity“, though crucially admits that the RB14 lacks the straight-line speed that is so crucial in Baku.
“Last year was a very unfortunate weekend for me. 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.
“Baku is a cool place so I enjoy going there and driving the track. It’s a nice circuit even though it isn’t ideally suited to our car.
“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.
“The castle section looks great on TV and is also a lot of fun to drive. It is really tight so you have to be precise turning in as there is no room for error, especially with the wider cars we have now.
“I still haven’t managed to get out and see a lot of Baku. The hotel is right next to the paddock, so as well as being really convenient it also limits what you see of the city over a busy race weekend.
“I have heard the local food is really tasty so I’ll do my best this year to get out and find some delicacies.”