Formula 1 championship leader Max Verstappen was in no hurry to get out and inspect the Azerbaijan Grand Prix circuit on Thursday, saying he would rather stay in bed. The Dutch driver revealed that the pre-race ritual which most other drivers religiously take part in to glean information about the track condition before getting in their cars is unimportant. The Red Bull driver has never been on the podium in Baku but the same fact applied to Monaco until late last month when he won the sport's showcase race to take the overall lead before going off for dinner with Prince Albert.
When asked about how much value there was in doing a track walk now that teams have such sophisticated tools. The 23-year-old, however, revealed that he hasn't done track walks since he was a teenager, "I haven't done one (track walk) since 2017. I can’t be a**** to walk. I have a few more minutes in bed, and if I want to know the track I will drive my out lap a bit slower, look around, you know. Everyone has a different approach."
Verstappen made the revelation ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where many drivers, including his press conference partner Esteban Ocon, had already spent time checking out the street circuit. "I know the track is going left and right at one point. You have your markers in FP1 and throughout the laps, you will see where you have to go,” added Verstappen.
Formula 1 drivers and their engineers walk around the track on the Thursday morning before it is closed, looking out for any changes. Some are meticulous in seeking any advantage, others evidently less so. Most drivers also prepare before travelling to the track by undertaking runs in their teams’ simulators, which helps them to develop the set-up of the car ahead of the event but that does not necessarily provide an accurate representation of conditions.
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix circuit has served up a different winner every year since 2016. Here's the schedule for the 2021 Azerbaijan GP:
Friday, June 4, 2021
Saturday, June 5, 2021
Sunday, June 6, 2021