Back-to-back eleventh place finishes for Jolyon Palmer means he is getting ever closer to his first points score of the season as he targets a stronger Saturday to propel him into the top ten on race day.
What do you make of the Baku street circuit ?
I think it is a cool track, there are some high-speed sections - especially for a street circuit - and overtaking is a possibility. The middle sector is busy and difficult with its undulation and the sector is extremely tight. Any mistakes on a street circuit tend to mean you are into the wall, so you have to be alert. It is wider than Monaco, apart from through the castle section. You’ve got to get as close to the walls as you can to open up the line and carry the speed through.
Are you excited to get out there ?
I’ve loved street circuits ever since I drove Marrakesh in F2 and then Monaco in GP2. I’ve always got on well with them. I’m looking forward to getting back out on another city circuit and approaching it very differently to Monaco and building up a little bit more. It’s great when you’re so dialled in and you get close to the walls ; that’s the best buzz for us. That is two eleventh place finishes in a row. I think in Baku we can at least be in the top ten, maybe top eight. We are doing well at the moment, we will keep going and I am feeling strong, I need to work on qualifying pace and being higher on the grid.
Does the weather in Baku make things tricky ?
It is going to be very hot and it is very windy in the city, so that could affect us as well. The wind affects the airflow over the car. We’ve had cars crash in the past because of a sudden, big gust of wind and these F1 cars are very sensitive. Race day in Canada was like that, it was very windy especially across the back straight ! Baku is by the coast as well so you could get a bit of coastal wind coming in, according to my GCSE geography…
What do you remember from Baku’s debut outing last season ?
It is always tricky getting to grips with a new circuit, it is very high speed and it brought a lot of challenges. We now know where the bumps are and which gears to use. I qualified on the final row last year and managed to work my way up to fifteenth in the race. I think I put in the eighth fastest lap of the race which is very positive, I am looking forward to getting out there and building on that knowledge.