Nikita Mazepin is ready to take on the challenge of one of the fastest street circuits on the Formula 1 calendar after a positive weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix two weeks ago.
The rookie driver enjoyed one of his best performances so far, finishing ahead of his team-mate for the first time in 2021, and will want to carry that momentum into the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Mazepin says Baku is unlike most street circuit and will be another challenge inside the Uralkali Haas F1 Team car, but is curious to see what will happen.
“Baku City Circuit is a very interesting circuit, it’s unlike most street circuits where normally you don’t get up to high speed. The track is quite a smooth surface, reasonably new tarmac from my experience there in 2019. You have massively long straights, super high speeds, and big braking points.
“The track is cool because it contains the Old Town as well, which is super tight – a bit of a Monaco type section, but in general it’s a huge difference from Monaco, but another challenge in a Formula 1 car that I need to take on.
“I’m quite curious to experience the speeds we’ll reach on the main straight. It’ll be interesting to see what will happen in Baku.”
This won’t be the first time Mazepin has raced around the Baku City Circuit, having competed at the track in F2 in 2019 in which he described as a ‘good experience’ and believes he will be more confident this weekend.
“I had quite a good experience in Baku in F2 back in 2019, although it was just at the beginning of my career there.
“Baku definitely requires confidence in the car, and I was only building then. I think I’ll be much more ready for the challenge, and knowing the circuit is a privilege going into it.”
Mick Schumacher – “I’m definitely looking forward to it”
His team-mate Mick Schumacher struggled at the Monaco Grand Prix, colliding into the wall in FP3, missing qualifying due to repairs, before finishing rock-bottom of the pack in Sunday’s race.
Despite a difficult race last time out, the German driver is looking forward to racing around the streets of Baku, but acknowledges a bad start can be costly at this track.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it, it’s a great track, and I was there in 2019.
“It’s a fun track. The long-run down to turn one, if you have a good start, you can benefit from it really well, but if you have a bad start it will pay you loads.
“It’s also important to have a good qualifying in order to be in the mix and to fight with the guys around us.”
Similar to his fellow rookie driver, Schumacher has previously raced at the Baku City Circuit for F2 in 2019 and was a track that he liked in his junior days. However, using his past experiences, he says it’s a track that provides drivers with opportunities and needs to be opened minded going into the race.
“Well obviously it’s going to be my first start in a Formula 1 car in Baku, for sure it’s going to be different as it’ll be a lot faster. It was a track in my early Formula 2 career I felt I got along with pretty well.
“We were on the verge of making it to the podium, or P4 at least, in the Sprint race. Unfortunately, in the Feature race I had a mistake which led to a DNF, but nonetheless we caught it back in the Sprint race coming from the back of the field into the top five.
“It’s a race where anything can happen, we’ve seen that in previous years. It’s a track where opportunities open, and if you’re in the right place, you can benefit hugely from it – that’s what we’re aiming for.
“We should be open minded going into the race and take the opportunities that are given to us.”