Start, Baku City Circuit, 2017

Azerbaijan GP rated among top ten races of last ten seasons

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Rate the Race result

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What a difference a year makes.

Baku’s first grand prix currently sits among the ten worst races of the last ten years. But Sunday’s race was rated among the top ten by F1 Fanatic readers.

A series of unpredictable incidents, places swapping hands until the chequered flag fell and not a little controversy added up to a race we’ll remember for a long time. Here’s what you said about it.

What more could you ask for? Several contenders for the win, underdogs holding top five positions for long periods on merit (Stroll, Magnussen, Alonso), drama, crashes, collisions, brain-explosions, a bit of luck and some outrageous overtakes. Who overtakes three cars at once?! Who does that!? Crazy. Force India must be kicking themselves.
@Roodda

Since 2007 there have been four races that I have recorded and never deleted on my set top box. Just so I can watch and re watch and re re watch whenever I like. This is the fifth.

Heart-thumping moments throughout. It’s been a while since I had my heart in my mouth. The last one being when both Mercedes crashed last year in Spain. A lot will be said and written about the ‘negatives’ and it is to an extent true that there were more negatives than positives but once a while you need these races that awaken the teen in you.
Urvaksh (@Thedoctor03)

Plenty of good racing all around the field, contacts, clashes, drama between the two championship contenders & a breath-taking finale to the chequered flag.

Just improve the marshalling, that was below average.
Lorenzo (@Thegamer23)

A very good race for F1 standards. Somewhat reminded me of IndyCar/CART street-track races from late 90s.
@Damon

It was a bit of a crazy race with all the Safety Cars and the red flag, I thought that some of the safety car periods could have been dealt with by the virtual safety car which in turn wouldn’t have led to some of the other problems.

A part of me thinks that they chose to use a full safety car to close the field up and try to make things more exciting, which for me made the race feel a bit artificial and probably resulted in me giving it a slightly lower rating. Race control would obviously deny their intention was to liven things up and say their decisions are based on safety reasons only.

With everything going on it was an entertaining race, much better than I expected as I thought it would be dull race like last year.
@PJA

I wouldn’t want all races to be like that but that was incredible to watch! 3 wide into turn 1 on multiple occasions – often when DRS was disabled. Lots of incidents and some really strong drives.
@Petebaldwin

Safety Car, Baku, 2017
The Safety Car appeared too often for some
There was a small but vocal minority who didn’t like what they saw.

This was a joke, not a peak in motor racing.

Drivers unable to keep it clean, track marshals unable to effectively remove stopped vehicle, unable to deal with debris well. Red flagging, many Safety Cars, restarts are always somewhat random, so you screw up once, you have another go later. This race displayed how badly prepared Baku still is.

Many people rate high because a lot happened in this “race”. But what happened was not racing but random chaos that someone came on top of.
Mike

Total joke as a race although entertaining.
@BBT

And that old bugbear, the Drag Reduction System, came up again.

Good up until DRS robbing Stroll and Williams of second at the final moment.

When the car behind has 20kph boost from a gimmick, its just wrong.
PeterRogers

While there wasn’t much common ground between those who enjoyed the race and those who didn’t, several people admitted to feeling suspicious that the many Safety Car periods had beencalled to ‘spice up the action’.

That was just a mess, a great race, but at times, for the wrong reasons.

The Safety Car seemed to be deployed as a tool to spice up the race. A Virtual Safety Car would have been far more appropriate the second time. The safety car ended up causing more issues than it solved the second time round.
@Mach1

Rate the Race: The Twitter verdict

On Twitter the story was much the same: Plenty of praise for the race but also a few complaints that it felt rather artificial.

2017 Rate the Race Results

RaceAverage score
2017 Australian Grand Prix6.408
2017 Chinese Grand Prix7.534
2017 Bahrain Grand Prix7.957
2017 Russian Grand Prix4.900
2017 Spanish Grand Prix7.869
2017 Monaco Grand Prix4.936
2017 Canadian Grand Prix7.545
2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix8.790

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2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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54 comments on “Azerbaijan GP rated among top ten races of last ten seasons”

  1. What a difference a year makes.

    1. As I have said before and will say again,

      I am not proud of it, but this race was entertaining as hell,

      Yes it wasn’t about racing, it was drama, rage, shuffle in the usual podium, new race winner etc.

      And no I’m not a casual racing fan, I’ve been to local race tournaments, spent countless hours on assetto corsa doing laps on Imola to improve my lap times, and watch all kinds of racing highlights,I learn all kinds of racing techniques from professional drivers on youtube,.

      So I guess overall the rate of an F1 race truly depends on entertainment and not racing, overtakes, etc. I am sad to admit I am also a victim of this.

      But the things is I wouldn’t mind 1 race going about like this per season, wouldn’t want this to happen every noe and then. The championship contenders battle was almost made artificial by Charlie with the convinient penalty.

      Just sharing what was on my mind !

  2. I wonder if the Ham-Vet clash played a role in this!?! 🤔😁

    1. Yeh it was part of the mayhem and people like that above racing.

    2. Why wouldn’t it? It only spices up the championship battle! It polarizes the fans, it makes them/us more invested. That’s why people watch sports!

      This rivalry very much feels like Senna vs Prost 1989 or Schumacher vs Hill 1994 and we love it!

      1. Completely agree. It’s just that people scream manners on one hand and vote 10 on the other.

  3. I think I must have been watching a different race. It wasn’t a bad race, but, it wasn’t great either and without Hamilton’s headrest forcing him to stop and Vettel have a penalty, the race would have been predictable from the restart.

    The only way to potentially see this race as being great is through the expectation of it being a terrible race in the first instance.

    1. it seems to me you missed a lot of the action.
      Maybe you should look again. Massa, Force india, Ric et cetc.. all very unexpected

    2. “The only way to potentially see this race as being great is through the expectation of it being a terrible race in the first instance.”

      Even if that was true, it wouldn’t make this race different than any other. We can expect a terrible race at ANY circuit in the calendar.
      But I don’t think that’s the case in the first place. The 2 most terrible circuits for racing are Monaco and Hungaroring and even there, I think, we approach the grand prix weekends with a renewed enthusiasm each year.

      1. @damon Monaco yes, but Hungaroring is by no means a terrible circuit since Pirelli and DRS came to play.

  4. It was a lot of fun! This year F1 is much better. I wonder how firing the dinosaur Bernie had to do with it.

  5. After seeing this rating, I think I finally understand what most fans want. Drama. The ‘driver of the weekend’ didn’t really do anything special. He was just one of the few who didn’t screw up. There really weren’t any memorable passing moves. There was a ton of inconsistency, crashing into each other, and re-starts. The three drivers on the podium got there because of circumstance. Ricciardo was more amused at his win than anything. When F1 is trying to put forth that it’s the best drivers in the best cars, the cars kept breaking down, and the drivers were either bouncing around like pinballs, or didn’t seem to understand what they were supposed to be doing. So… exciting race? Yep. Impressive race? Oh god no.

    1. Sadly it’s true. Something to talk about among fans. Engage at emotional level. Drawing media and new fans attention.
      As someone suggest the safety car were deploy to spiced up the race, or others said there’s no way all the questionable stewarding was not orchestrated, or from my point of view: Americanized F1.

    2. After seeing this rating, I think I finally understand what most fans want. Drama.

      Well, yeah. It’s F1. It’s always been about drama, unexpected outcomes, rivalries between heroes and villains.
      This is nothing new. I remember checking the evening news in the 90’s only to see who got disqualified while hoping it was the guy I didn’t want to win.

      Drivers colliding on the way to the title in the last race, engines blowing up mere metres before the finishing line, teams who bent the rules just a little too far, races that get decided hours after the checkered flag – for me, that’s what’s always been the core of F1.

      We’ve already lost unreliabilty and costly (for the hardware) mistakes in the last years thanks to development restrictions and ever-wider tracks, we lost standing restarts and get robbed of excitment by DRS and VSC, so a race like this (or Canada 11, or Brazil 08) is very, very welcome.

    3. Well said it was an exciting race; however it was a joke of a race. I want a race to be great because I am sitting on the edge of my seat because of intense competition, ballsy passing manoeuvres, and excellent strategy, not because of crashes, red flags, and drivers loosing their cool.

  6. This all leads me to believe F1 should evolve into an entertainment rather than a sport. Other sports are evolving to improve fairness but looking over safetycar and restarts F1 seem to prefer carnage over fairness. I think the main thing people dislike about F1 being more focused on entertainment over sport is the Championship becomes unfair when gimmicks are introduced ( double points for example) . Why not remove the Championship and just have one off races? That way gimmicks can be introduced such as two races per weekend, reverse grids, maybe even the introduction of a guest car. A double prize money weekend for example wouldn’t cause any outrage but we all know double points did !

    I love the tradition in F1 but I think this result shows people would rather view an entertainment race than a boring sport.

    1. “This all leads me to believe F1 should evolve into an entertainment rather than a sport.”

      Those 2 are NOT exclusive! They are 2 NECESSARY ingredients of all sports.
      Nobody follows a sport that isn’t entertaining.
      Those 20 cars racing one another produce more harmful noise and polution than whatever supposed benefit they could bring to society, come on man, let’s be real.

      1. I disagree @damon

        Sports should focus on being as fair as possible. Entertainments don’t have to worry as much about fairness. If F1 wanted to be a fair sport there would have to be so many rule changes. Take the safetycar for example, a driver can be ahead of another by 20+seconds and that’s completely wiped out by a safetycar which is no fault of that driver. In Football that would be like a team leading 3-0 and having the scores reset because a player from the opposite team gets injured. The only way to increase the fairness of the safety car would be to time the starts to reset the gaps, but that wouldn’t be as exciting. That’s why I’m saying F1 should pick to evolve into a fair sport or an Entertaimnent series.

        1. Why? They are not mutually exclusive. Sports get more interesting when there is competition, and when there is competition there is often drama. The safety car is the best we got until now unless you want to make the whole grid depart at exactly the same time intervals they had before the safety car.

          I don’t know what all the big fuss is about seriously, the only thing that was different besides the Ham-Vet incident was that instead of run off areas mistakes were met by the swift justice of a wall. Which if it doesn’t interfere with safety, is mighty entertaining to me.

  7. I’m flabbergasted you guys (I forgot to vote) gave it such a high rating.
    3 SC following one another; what’s the fun in that? Some racing was good, but don’t forget that many of the overtakes were simply a result of the looooooong straight which advantages cars with extra potent PU’s after each restart; that’s not exciting racing to me.

    But as I would have given it a 7, that means that the real rating would have been (8.790+7.000)/2 ;)

    1. @f1-liners You’ll need a notification apps and a bot to create 800 or so WordPress account…

    2. @f1-liners.
      I think you need a review in math my dear friend :)

      1. Just to be brief, the real rating would be ->( 8.790*tot of votes + your rate)/ (tot of votes +1)

        1. note the ‘wink’ at the end of my comment.
          alberto94 & @drycrust

    3. I don’t know how many people voted, but if it was 300, then wouldn’t the score be (300 x 8.79 + 7)/301 = 8.78.

      1. I found the number of voters: 690.

    4. @f1-liners you have to tune down your sarcasm. It is in such a high level people think you’re stupid. It happens to me too…

  8. So glad to see this made the Top 10, I was hoping it did.

    The main question I’ve got is @thedoctor03 what are the other 4 races since 2007 have you got recorded?! Brazil ’12? Canada’ 11? Bahrain ’14?

    1. Brazil 2007, 2008 and 2012 and Abu Dhabi 2010. Canada 2011 would have surely made the list but for me getting smashed at a bar in New York in the middle of the afternoon waiting for all the red flags to end :-) prior to 2007 I didn’t have a record box but some of the races from pre-2007 are safely stored in my own memory box, mate!

  9. A deserved result, this race is definitely one of my top 5 of the last decade and I’m glad such a unique track design paid off after last year’s disappointment.

    It’s a shame some people didn’t enjoy but that’s why we need variety I suppose. Personally I loved it and thought it was great for casual fans but there was also plenty for us fanatics, as evidenced by the result.

  10. Victor (@victorandrei1999)
    29th June 2017, 20:26

    From my point of view, it deserved an even bigger mark. Some people on this site are negative about everything: if the race is full of overtakes, someone will say – wow, all the overtakes were boring, if the race is full of crashes – wow, this track is made just to bring out the Safety Car, if the cars are fast – wow, these cars are just to fast to watch them on TV….
    Let’s be more positive and say that this season is the first one with 3 teams wining races since 2013 or that these cars are so fast that they are taking down all the racords from 2004 even if they are 200 kilos heavier.
    What are the reasons to give this race marks between 1 and 7? OK, Baku GP will never be like Brazil 2012, but you had lot of hard-worked overtakes, lot of crashes, lot of drama, WHAT DO YOU WANT MORE?

    1. Obviously we wanted our Lewis to win (or at least to have beaten that nasty German who used his car as a weapon, the cad!) and then we would have given it a 10/10.

  11. KEY POINT:
    This street circuit is simply FANTASTIC. Especially the super long straight – is on of the best long straights in the world of motorsport.

    Azerbeijan street circuit >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Monaco street circuit

  12. Estaban de los Casas
    29th June 2017, 20:43

    I find the environment around the race site of interest. Like Monaco, Singapore at nighttime and now Baku. Fantastic aray of structures super old and super modern. This is apart of Formula One. Where is the race at ? So Baku was measureably better and becomes high on my list but the track layout aint so good.

  13. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
    29th June 2017, 20:54

    This race de-throned Valencia 2012 as the best street circuit Grand Prix, had a very controversial incident between the Top 2 and had a big upset.

  14. The GP2 race last year held out a lot promise for the F1 race, but sadly it didn’t materialise. This year the races for both classes were pretty spectacular. If you haven’t already seen it, go watch F2 on this track.
    Azerbaijan resembles Macau, at least in my eyes.
    While I really dislike the succession of right-angled bends, they and the super twisty bit that follows seem to work with the stupidly long straight to produce an exciting track.
    Please note that I haven’t said anything about the intelligence or otherwise of any of the drivers so far. But if you apply a dozen or so super-motivated drivers at least one of whom seems to have problems with recognising personal culpability, you are bound to have a pretty stormy afternoon.
    For me, the downsides were mainly the fragility of F1 bodywork and the inability of the marshals to get a crane quickly to a stranded car. It would have been a better race if both those details were improved.
    I would love to see tin top racing around this track. Were there any saloons on the support card?

    1. “Azerbaijan resembles Macau, at least in my eyes.”
      It does indeed!

      “While I really dislike the succession of right-angled bends”
      I actually love them! Why? Because 90 degree turns are what driving a car around a real city is about, isnt’ it? Those kinds of turns make the track give a realistic impression of driving in a city.
      The right angle turns together with the street surface markings give a Grand Theft Auto feel :)

      1. These cars are capable of cornering at 6G’s, they arn’t meant for 50mph tight right angled corners.

        I felt almost embarsased watching F1 in front of non-F1 fans last week, the cars looked pathetic going around that castle section.

        1. “These cars are capable of cornering at 6G’s, they arn’t meant for 50mph tight right angled corners.”

          That’s a silly statement. Those cars are “meant” to be fast as possible around racing tracks. Tight corners are part of racing tracks.
          You’re basically insinuating that the engineers who design the cars only aim at making them fast in types of corners that are appealing to the eye and disregard the cars’ ability to be fast all around. That’s absurd.

          1. Yeah exactly, incase you missed the memo, these cars where precisely designed to give us that ‘wow’ factor around racing circuits, not to fart around dusty streets at formula E speeds. Again, they looked pathetic trying to tactic those single-file, 50mph roads

          2. As a mechanical engineer I can without hesitation state the fact, that the modern day formula 1 car is designed to every type of corner regardless whether it is slow or fast – both scenarios are build into the design of the car. For low speed corners mostly mechanical grip can be utilized due to the reduced air flow and the its impact. When going fast, the aerodynamics adds more grip but rely on speed. The cars in Baku have 90 degree corners doing around 100kph and less bendy corners where they exceed 300kph. They are indeed meant for every type of corner and Baku provides this. The new aero and tire regulations gave the cars an opportunity to corner at greater speeds, however they are still meant to do slow corners because of different track layouts. It is much more fascinating when a car can do both slow and fast and it is a much bigger deal to design a car capable of both – to be as versatile as possible so they can race every thinkable racetrack.

            Otherwise they could just be going in ovals and you’ll have your 6G-wow-factor all the time to impress your non-f1 fans ;)

            Bonus fact: When the car is approaching a certain speed close to the border of mechanical grip and aerodynamic grip a small “no grip zone” appears because the car is moving too fast for the mechanical grip to work but a the same time too slow to get the aerodynamics to affect the grip. Baku is a perfect example of cars moving within that “no grip zone”.

  15. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    29th June 2017, 21:49

    How fickle we F1 fans are! There are still fundamental problems with the sport that need addressing ASAP.

  16. So, what we really need is crap narrow slow twiddly fiddly street circuits where there’s little to no run-offs, few places for cranes to quickly remove cars, and when there’s any contact, Safety Cars are brought out to remove any debris that cannot find itself off the circuit.

    Monaco should be the exception, not the rule.

  17. I wholeheartedly agree with the “small but vocal minority who didn’t like what they saw”. It was an entertaining race, but utter rubbish from a sporting perspective. The race wasn’t decided by skill, it was distorted by an unbelievable amount of debris and interruptions, further worsened by a track layout that is simply bovine excrement.
    The mere fact that the main straight is so long that the race leader has to wait an incredibly long time before he can accelerate properly, so as to avoid accidentally overtaking the safety car and being punished for that, is farcical.
    This race has offered excitement for all the wrong reasons, and I hated it.

  18. It was good, But I didn’t think it was great….. Certainly not from a purely racing perspective which is the thing thats most important to me.

    I’m not saying it was bad or that it wasn’t entertaining, Just that I don’t get why its been scored this highly when I can think of several races that got rated lower which in terms of actual racing were far, far better (This year’s Chinese Gp for example).

  19. coincidence that this was the only race where both Mclarens finished and one of them even scored a point?

  20. i think i’ve said this before but i’m certain we can’t compare the rate the race results from a few years ago with the ones from today. you used to have a label next to the score (10 was ‘perfect’ or something) but then that disappeared and the ratings all suddenly got slightly better. maybe it’s just the progression towards extremes that you tend to get over time, but really, was this better than brazil ’08? i mean, come on!

    1. @frood19 You are correct they did have labels at one point – sorry I can’t remember off the top of my head when that changed. Another change which may have had an effect was that until the end of 2010 it wasn’t necessary to have an account in order to vote. All the old polls are still up there if you want to have a look at them:

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/category/regular-features/rate-the-race/

      1. @keithcollantine thanks keith, that is a great trip down recent memory lane. there are some real unsung classics of the last 10 years (monaco ’08 was quality)

  21. The race was exciting, that’s a fact! But I would rate it as a 7 or a 7.5 max. The race reached a boiling point because of the inability to clean the track of debris. Before the red flag I saw marshals running in circles, not knowing what to do. No brooms, no blowers, no… nothing. VERY POOR TRACK MANAGEMENT! That’s a big minus for me.

    Good show overall, but I don’t think that drivers should suffer from the mistakes of anyone else other than themselves or their teams.

  22. Just adds to my theory that it is not the track that makes the racing great or bad. A terrible Tilkodrome can produce a classic (see Abu Dhabi ’12) and classic racetracks (Spa, Monza) can produce dull processions with no drama at all. It’s just the circumstances that produce the racing.
    Still, don’t take Spa or Monza out of the calendar, ever.

  23. I may be in the minority here but I love Baku. The setting for the race: the cars flashing by medieval castles, the long straights by the water, the looming walls all of it. In a way that’s very reminiscent of Monaco, it’s a very challenging and unforgiving track to negotiate at the limit. But it has at least some degree more options than Monaco for overtaking. I’ll take Baku over many of the new tracks with their runway sized run off areas and utterly forlorn locations and back drops.

    Also, let’s not realistic about the *great* old days of F1 that are often looked back on with longing: many of the close and unexpected outcomes were the result of cars failures or restarts. No, of course I don’t want that to be a dominant element in today’s F1 but a little bit goes a long way to making things more exciting.

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