Both Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are remaining cautious over their prospects ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The high-speed nature of the Baku City Circuit has typically accentuated the weaknesses of Red Bull’s package, with supplier Renault still behind engine rivals Mercedes and Ferrari.
Verstappen, who has suffered a difficult start to 2018 amid a sequence of mistakes, retired from last year’s event due to a power unit failure.
“Last year was a very unfortunate weekend for me,” said Verstappen. “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.
“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.”
After winning the last event in China, Ricciardo is hoping the momentum of a race victory will help carry his form onto the streets of Baku, where just like in Shanghai, the Australian pulled off some of his trademark audacious moves to take the chequered flag.
“Last year in Baku was crazy in so many ways for so many people,” added Ricciardo.
“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.
“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.”
Source: Motorsport Week