Max Verstappen expects the long straights on the Baku City Circuit will expose Red Bull’s straight-line speed disadvantage when F1 visits the track next week.
His Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo won last year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix after several of his rivals were delayed or eliminated in a hectic race.
However the two Red Bull drivers had among the lowest straight-line speeds in Shanghai last weekend. Baku has several long straights and sees the highest top speeds of the year.
“It’s a nice circuit even though it isn’t ideally suited to our car,” said Verstappen. “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.”
Verstappen was running fourth in last year’s race when a power unit problem forced him out.
“Last year was a very unfortunate weekend for me,” he said. “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.”
Verstappen criticised Red Bull’s TAG-Heuer-branded Renault power units during the Chinese Grand Prix weekend. He said some of the problems he experienced were the same as those he suffered in Baku last year.