Now being an avid F1 fan, I just had to walk the street circuit. Looking at where the hotel is, it is a 0.5 - 0.75 mile walk to the circuit and a pleasant nearly 4 miles round.
Apart from one thing. It is hotter than hell here! I never understood what was meant by track temperature and air temperature until today. Yes the thermometer might say it is 29C here but walking in the streets, it was reaching nearly 40 in some places!! Was really glad I went fairly early and so missed the midday heat (well I was still walking in it but almost back) and also that I carried 2 liters of water with me. Went through all of that and still had to buy more in a charming little shop. 2 liters of coke and 2 x 500ml of water cost me 2 manat. That is just under a pound!! For the nicotine addicts out there, a pack of 20 cancer sticks will set you back a whole 3 manat, or just under £1.50!! Petrol is between 35p for Diesel and 45p for a liter of premium fuel!
So after getting up this morning, at about 10am (7am UK time) I decided to go for a walk.
I started and finished at Turn 15 as it was closest to the hotel but for the purposes of the blog, I will start at the start line (don't want to confuse anyone)
As I walked down the long straight leading to the Start / Finish line, the pits came into view. I was astonished when I saw them in real life, they look massive on the TV. Next to the pits was where the Rostrum was
The straight into turn 1 is exceptionally short
Now we have a left hander, another short straight and into turn 2
Another 90 degree turn that led to one of the DRS zones
At the end of the straight there is a sharp left and a sharp right (Turn 3 is about 50m up this, you can make it out at the trees. This is turn 4 Cars would be coming towards you and turning left from this point of view
This is where I made one of my detours, I had noticed these billboards on an adjacent street when we went for a meal so I was wanting to get a shot of them
After turn 4 we have a short straight then a crazy left right leading down to where the track runs parallel to the main straights heading to the start finish line
This is the whole corner, you can see the left leading in and very quickly there is a right, the next three pics will break the corner down
Now we run parallel with the track coming up with only the concrete barriers to separate the cars (I had to double back here to find somewhere to safely cross the road!)
Another short straight
Leading down to Turn 7 / 19. If you look at the barriers you can see them turning slightly to make turn 19
Cars would be going from left to extreme right. Now we have another short section and we are into the bit that completely blew me away. We know the speeds they are doing here, but is it so so tight.
If you recall, Lewis Hamilton had a major issue in qualifying and didn't make turn 8.
Turns 8 to 12 are incredible, It looked narrow and twisty on TV but you really don't get an idea of just how narrow and twisty it actually is,
Here we have 2 views of turn 8, one looking up at turn 9 and the other looking down from 9 to 8
You can see how little width there is with the car!
Straight after 9 you have another left / right kink for turns 10 and 11. As this is near the castle, the road is a bit wider
To top it off straight after turn 11, you are into turn 12, a sharp left hander. This means in the space of about 5 seconds the drivers are going left, right left, right, left. All of this is uphill!!
Finally a bit of relief for the drivers as they have one of the longest straight bits leading to Turn 13. Again it is uphill
Turn 13 is a gentle turn, none of the 90 Degree nonsense the drivers have had to face
They would be taking this flat out. Turn 14 is not much of a turn, more a kink in the road! If you look hard you can see it!
This leads downill to Turn 15 and onto a cobbled section. For the race, this was covered temporarily with asphalt but has been restored since. This was also my start / finishing point (apart from the slog up to the hotel!)
Now it is a sharp downhill to turn 16 (would have been good if they had left the cobbles there for the race!).
Here we are looking from 15 towards 14 and you can see the cobbles I was referring to
Short downhill drop to 16, Quite a nasty bend this one!
Now at the closing stages, fairly straight bit through 17 to 18 (it is hard to see with the trees, follow the path that runs along side it)
Turn 18 is a right hander
Turn 19 sits on the same junction as turn 7 there is a concrete barrier in the way to prevent crossing.
Which has been clattered by one of the drivers (I am trying to remember who)
Another longer straight bit into the tiniest of kinks in the road which is laughably labelled turn 20
And you are finally on the long straight leading to the start finish line (turn 1 is in front of the hotel right in the distance)
So there you have it, a "Flying" lap of Baku. In total I walked 6.16 miles in 2 hours, 45 minutes and 25 seconds. looking at my splits my time on the track was 2 hours and 10 minutes. Was wanting to do it in less than 2 hours but given the conditions I can be pleased with that time.
That was fun, need to go and find some salted peanuts to cure the cramp in my legs caused by dehydration :D