Daniel Ricciardo “Baku is different to other street circuits – because there are places where you can pass. Actually, lots of places where you can pass. As opposed to Monaco and Singapore where there’s not many places to overtake really.

“The trickiest thing in Baku is braking. There’s so many braking points where you have to commit and you have to brake as late as you can – but there’s no room for error. Once you’ve committed to that braking point, if you’ve locked a wheel, you’re in the wall. I’d say the hardest part about Baku is finding the limit with braking, and just having that confidence.

“You have Turn One, Turn Two and then the DRS straight. We’re honking down there, and then you see the wall coming, coming, coming and your instinct is to brake, brake, brake, brake. You need a lot of confidence to leave it late. That’s the biggest challenge with Baku, being able to really attack the braking, it’s such a high-speed circuit. Monaco is not that high-speed, it’s more about cornering, and Baku is more braking.

“With a street circuit you have to love it – but you also have to respect it and understand it. I understand that, to be fast, you have to be on the limit – but put yourself there and it can bite you.

“Last year Baku was crazy in so many ways for so many people. Just like last week in Shanghai the team had an awesome strategy and made some great calls in the race. Did I think we would carve our way all the way up to first, no way, but everyone in front was dropping like flies, I was making some good overtakes and there was just all this momentum keeping me going. Crossing the line I was a bit confused, thinking how did we just win that race but also ecstatic. It was crazy, fun race and definitely one to remember.”

Max Verstappen “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.”



In a chaotic and action-packed finish in Shanghai, Ricciardo rose from sixth to the lead in less than 20 laps in an advance which included stunning overtakes on Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas.

For all his talent this was only Ricciardo’s sixth F1 win, his emergence coinciding with Red Bull’s post-2013 dip, but the Australian is desperate for more so he can maximise his talent and fight for championships.

It’s a fun way to win for sure,” Ricciardo, out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season, told Sky F1. “I really feel like, just give me a chance to be in a title hunt and I really believe I’ll take it.

“I feel I can capitalise on opportunities and I guess today was a good example.”

Ricciardo was labelled the “race burglar” by Sky F1’s Martin Brundle following the race, with all six of his wins coming from lower than third on the grid.

This sport’s crazy. A week ago, I was with my head down after two laps on Sunday, frustrated at the sport, frustrated at all the variables that are involved in the sport,” Ricciardo said. “Sometimes I question why I chose this sport because there’s so many other things out of your control and it does get you down a lot, but then when you have a day like this, it’s worth 50 of those bad ones.



Ferrari’s domination of Mercedes in Chinese GP qualifying is “the turning point” in the battle for supremacy in F1 2018, according to Sky F1 pundit Damon Hill.

Sebastian Vettel set a new lap record of 1:31.095 to take his 52nd career pole – and Ferrari’s first in Shanghai since 2004 – and pip team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by eight hundredths of a second.

Mercedes had previously taken every Chinese GP pole since 2012 but were over half a second behind the two Ferraris, with Valtteri Bottas third and Lewis Hamilton fourth

It is the first time since 2006 that Ferrari have secured back-to-back front-row lockouts, and 1996 world champion Hill believes the balance of power is now firmly with the Scuderia.

“This is the turning point,” Hill told Sky Sports F1.
“For so long we have seen Mercedes dominate. They’ve had the party mode in Qualifying but now both Ferrari cars are ahead of Mercedes.

It certainly does look like the tide has turned for the first time in a long time in this turbo-hybrid era.

“Ferrari have won the first two races and are in a strong position to win the third.

“If this is the start of a new era, then Lewis Hamilton will have to think carefully about whether he signs up to Mercedes for a long-term contract.

“All these racing drivers know they have to be in the coming team and the team that is showing it’s going to be the team for the next era.

“It’s like empires rising and falling and maybe Mercedes are on the wane and the new Ferrari era is about to come back.”

F1Weekly podcast # 753


Seb first once again, Kimi retires after an accident in the pits leaves a mechanic injured

Sakhir – You always fight to win, but not all victories are the same and this one is bittersweet. For the second time in as many races, Sebastian Vettel won with Scuderia Ferrari, but at the moment, the thoughts of everyone in the team are with the mechanic who was injured during Kimi Raikkonen’s pit stop, the Finn stopping and retiring immediately after in pit lane. As for the Grand Prix, it was closely contested right down to the final corner and the win came courtesy of a well thought out strategy and the abilities of the driver who managed to make a set of Soft tyres last 38 laps no less, on a track that is one of the hardest on tyres.

Off an all-red front row, Seb made the most of pole, while Kimi who was starting on the dirty side of the track was attacked and passed by Bottas. The virtual safety car was soon deployed, when Verstappen had a puncture as a result of a coming together with Hamilton in the middle of the pack. The race got underway again on lap 4, with Sebastian quickest, a couple of seconds ahead of Bottas. In the garage, an analysis of our speed in individual corners and that of our rivals was taking place as well as working out how much fuel had been saved while the race was neutralised A long distance duel with Hamilton thus began, the Englishman fourth, 15 seconds adrift, but running the harder tyre: Supersoft for the SF71H and Soft for the Mercedes.

19 laps, one third distance, Seb pitted as planned and fitted the yellow-banded Softs. The order was Bottas, Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vettel. Next time round, Kimi did the same. Vettel pushed hard and Bottas, emerging from pit lane on the Mediums, lost ground. On lap 25, Seb was in DRS range in his duel with Hamilton, closing to under a second. It was time for wheel to wheel combat and Seb didn’t lose any time, diving inside his rival under braking at the start of lap 26. Hamilton changed tyres immediately, also fitting the Prime Medium. Seb had 5” in hand over Bottas, who was aiming to finish the race doing one less stop. Sebastian lost time with backmarkers but Kimi made the most of the traffic to close on his fellow countryman.

Lap 36 and something you never want to see happened: Kimi came in to change tyres and as he drove off, the mechanic on the left rear wheel was knocked over. The number 7 car stopped immediately, Seb stayed out on track, but at this time, strategy, racing, counted for much less and with one of our own in the medical centre, the thoughts of everyone in the team went out to him. Out on track, Bottas pursued Sebastian for 20 laps, but our driver never gave him room, even though his tyres were finished. That is Ferrari and that, Francesco, is for you. Hurry back.




DANIEL RICCIARDO, Finish Position: DNF, Start Position: 4th
“Coming in to turn eight I lost all power, everything switched off without warning and I couldn’t do anything. I guess it’s an electrical engine issue, maybe battery related but I don’t know exactly yet. Obviously, everyone in the team is so disappointed as we genuinely felt like we had a good car today. The weekend was going pretty good for us and I really believe our race car was even better. I know I only did one lap but I could already see Kimi sliding on the rear tyres. I really felt like we were going to be in with a good chance which makes it even more frustrating. Being out so early in a race is just the worst feeling; especially when it’s a night race and you are up all day waiting for those two hours and after two minutes it’s over. I get really fired up for Sundays so now I’ve got two hours of adrenaline stored up inside me and I don’t know what to do with it. This sport can rip your heart out, it’s brutal sometimes.”
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: DNF, Start Position: 15th
“Due to the hit with Lewis we sustained some more severe damage than just the puncture, we haven’t had a chance to look at the car yet but we suspect the differential. From the start I was enjoying the feel of the car and finding the gaps and it was shaping up to be an exciting race. I had a good tow on the straight, the last corner was really good so it allowed me to stay close to Lewis. We got a bit squeezed but from the middle to the end of the corner I was ahead, I then felt a nudge from behind and could feel the puncture and therefore knew the race was likely over. In my opinion there was plenty of room for the both of us to go around that corner and to say ‘no action taken’ is a bit harsh as I am now out of the race due to that contact on my left rear. If it was the other way around I’m sure he would want it looked into.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “A brutally harsh race for us today. After an average start Daniel managed to move back up into P4 and was catching Kimi quite quickly. But then a complete electrical shutdown with a suspected failure to the energy store brought a premature end to his race. While Max made great progress in the first couple of laps, he was right on Lewis’ gearbox and lined up a pass into turn one and unfortunately contact on the exit of the corner gave Max a puncture and the resulting damage, and that sustained to the transmission driving back to the pits, ultimately caused his retirement. Both cars retiring within two laps is extremely disappointing particularly when we had a race car today that was capable of challenging Ferrari and Mercedes. Thankfully the next race is only one week away and congratulations to Toro Rosso on a fantastic race result.”



Whilst Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, who rejoined under Rally 2 rules today and won three out of the leg’s six stages, performed superbly on behalf of Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle suffered an unfortunate end to their day when they went off the road on the final stage when running in second overall.

Crossing the inland scenery of the Cap Corse from east to west, the day’s completely new and very fast opening stage (35.61km) promised to be a real challenge. The same could also be said for the next stage, also brand new, held in the Désert des Agriates to the south-west of Saint Florent, on more sweeping, circuit-style roads.

These two demanding speed tests provided Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, who rejoined under Rally 2 rules this morning after their misfortune yesterday, with the perfect opportunity to remind everyone of their immense talent, as the pair won the day’s first two stages. The nine-time world rally champions even claimed a third stage win in the afternoon, therefore winning half of the six tests contested today, taking their personal tally to the impressive figure of nine hundred and twelve stage wins in the WRC! The crew’s times showed they are still very competitive and confirmed the high performance level of the C3 WRC in Corsica.

Also in good form on the day’s opening stage – as seen in his third fastest time, just 1.9s behind his famous team-mate over the 35km stage – Kris Meeke then had a more up and down morning, but still managed to hold onto third place. The midday service enabled the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT to fine-tune the set-up of his C3 WRC for the afternoon loop. Kris had just drawn level with Neuville in second overall when a pace note mistake meant he carried too much speed into a corner and ended up going off on the final stage of the day.

Another formidable Tour de Corse challenge awaits the drivers in tomorrow’s final leg, as the crews tackle the rally’s longest stage. A marathon 55.17 kilometres between Vero, Sarrola and Carcopino, 48.21km of which are completely new, like the Power Stage which follows it.

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast