Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc spent their Thursday in Baku splitting their time between talking to media, having meetings with the engineers and walking the track. The two Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow drivers walked round the street circuit here in the Azerbaijan capital, before the first full planning meeting with engineers and technicians prior to the start of track action tomorrow.
Ready to do well. Sebastian Vettel was first up in front of the press, telling them he was set for a busy Friday. “We have some updates that we will have to test and evaluate to decide if they can help us get the results we’re expecting.” As to the topic of their chances of fighting for the championship title, the German had no doubts about it. “We are still in the hunt. In the first three races, things did not go as we had expected and so maybe the competition got a bit more than they deserved, while we got a bit less. But we are working to turn things around. I still believe we have a very competitive package and if we manage to make it work properly we can be very quick and make life difficult for our rivals.”
This track has always smiled on me. Next up it was Charles Leclerc’s turn to face the media in the team hospitality and he began by repeating the fact he loves the Baku track. “I adore all the street circuits and I have to say that this one has always smiled on me, both in Formula 2 and Formula 1, as it was here last year that I scored my first points.” The Monegasque driver expects to be competitive this weekend and is aiming for the win, even if he insists he’s not obsessed with the idea of taking his first Formula 1 win. “If I have a goal, then it’s simply to do a good job, to work on getting everything out of the car and bring home the best result I can. Of course, I’m not saying I’m not impatient to take my first win at this the highest level, but I also know it’s wrong to focus more on the win than on doing the work. We will start like that and I am convinced we can get the results we are after.”
Timetable. The first two free practice sessions take place tomorrow, at 13 and 17, while on Saturday, after a final hour of practice at 14, comes the battle for pole position at 17. The race gets underway on Sunday at 16.10. Baku is 2 hours ahead of Central European Time.