F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix – live!

1.39pm BST

Irrelevant celeb watch: Mariah Carey is trackside with her young son. “I love everybody, I’m here to support everyone,” she babbles to Lee McKenzie.

More relevantly, here’s a reminder of how they line up:

30 MINS TO LIGHTS OUT

Here’s a reminder of how things stand

There could be quite a shake-up in just over two hours’ time#AzerbaijanGP pic.twitter.com/4WyyXKEbxl

1.29pm BST

Some bite-sized pre-race thoughts from the contenders: Lewis Hamilton tells Lee McKenzie that he “feels great” and is buoyed by the news that his best friend’s had a baby – “It’s a fresh day, a new start,” he beams.

Sebastian Vettel is exuding calm too, despite having to make an engine change and asked whether that means he’ll be down on power? “Not really,” he replies, “it wasn’t what we wanted, the engine has served us well in the past but it’s just another one. Here you can pass, not like Monaco, and you’ve got a long straight, but you know it’s never easy.”

1.12pm BST

Some non-F1 related pre-race reading for you – here’s Richard Williams on the joys of the Le Mans 24 hours:

Related: F1 could learn a few things from the magnificent Le Mans 24 Hours | Richard Williams

1.06pm BST

“Welcome to the oilfields, welcome to Azerbaijan,” roars Eddie Jordan in one of his now-traditional portentous voiceover intros to Channel 4’s coverage, glossing over some of the more problematic aspects of the country’s economics and politics.

Meanwhile, F1’s official Twitter feed brings the bantz:

It’s raining in Baku* ☂️

Team race strategies being torn up as we Tweet#AzerbaijanGP #F1Baku

*Not really pic.twitter.com/OZIqMo72Qk

11.28am BST

Afternoon everyone. And welcome to our coverage of the eighth grand prix of the season, one that could well see things get that bit tighter at the top of the world championship standings, if Lewis Hamilton’s imperious last-lap drive for pole on Saturday is anything to go by. For all that Hamilton had bother trying to find the right grip on the hard rubber of Baku’s street circuit in practice on Friday, his performance in qualifying reminded us that while tyres may be temporary, class is permanent. “It was a perfect lap,” he chirped yesterday.

Right behind him on the grid though is Valtteri Bottas, who’s been a revitalising, youthful presence in F1 this year and who was second in Canada a fortnight ago and is seeking a second victory of the season after his superb maiden triumph in Russia in April.

Continue reading…

Source: Formula 1

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