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Ricciardo heads back to Baku 'where you need to leave it late'


Chinese Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo will attempt to make it two in a row in Baku next week, where the Red Bull driver also won in 2017.

Ricciardo hopes to keep up his winning momentum in Azerbaijan at a venue which doesn't resemble your typical street circuit.

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

The lengthy 6.00 km circuit, designed by F1's resident architect Hermann Tilke, is a challenging proposition for drivers with its mix of long straights and slow technical sections.

Baku's layout also caters to those who are late brakers, a quality Ricciardo - as the sport's best overtaker - fortunately enjoys in abundance.

"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," he says.

"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," he adds.

"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."

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing

The Honey Badger captured his fifth F1 career win in Azerbaijan in 2017. Looking back, he remembers a rather chaotic affair where strategy and skill prevailed.

"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," says Ricciardo.

"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."

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