Hamilton isn’t exactly rearing to race on the new Azerbaijan circuit that will be debuting at the European Grand Prix.
Baku’s medieval cityscape may seem like an unusual, exciting backdrop for the season’s 21st race, but some F1 drivers themselves aren’t particularly won over. Worryingly, Lewis Hamilton happens to be one of these. He’s been quite vocal about his reservations about the track, not sure if it can live up to some of the older street circuits he’s raced in the past. In fact, he’s so apprehensive that he’s practically lost for words.
“I don’t really know what to say about it. It’s just another new track. There’s one very tight spot on it. It’s got a very long straight… I don’t really know what to say about it.
“Monaco is the street circuit. And they don’t make them like that. I don’t know why they don’t, but why don’t they make street circuits like they used to? I don’t understand, it’s super wide in some places, as wide as a motorway almost in some places!
“But hopefully it will be fun. I heard the weather would be good, and hopefully they’ll have a good turn out there.”
His main concern seems to be the dimensions of the track. It’s interesting to note that he considers this “new layout” inferior to those of classic tracks like Monaco when in all likelihood, the plan was drafted to accommodate structures that were there long before the circuit was even the seed of an idea. Baku has an atmospheric, ancient old town with an extremely rich history, so it’s not surprise that some concessions have been made to protect it from the ravages of the racetrack. Can fragile old architecture coexist with a world class F1 circuit or will we be nodding our heads with Hamilton when the dust settles? It remains to be seen.