After a rather quiet start to life on the F1 calendar in 2016, Baku has really kicked on since 2017 and created some crazy races.
So with Baku back this weekend, let’s look at five memorable moments from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix:
5: 2016 – Perez’s Podium
Although the 2016 race at Baku was technically the European Grand Prix, rather odd seeing as Azerbaijan is not in Europe, Force India’s Sergio Perez won’t care.
After miraculously getting his Force India onto the front row of the grid, before being penalised five places for a gearbox penalty, the Mexican used the straight-line speed of his car to move back up the field.
Perez kept the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton at bay all race, and pulled off a nice move on the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap to claim 3rd on track, something he would have collected anyway due to the Finn having a time penalty.
4: 2017 – Stroll’s maiden podium
After a mad opening to the race, including safety cars and even a red flag period, Williams’ Lance Stroll found himself in 4th place on Lap 29, unexpected for a Williams.
But the Canadian would soon find himself up to 2nd place, but with Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton all bearing down on him fast.
He started the final lap still ahead, but only just, and only the run to the line, Bottas deployed everything his Mercedes had, and just pipped Stroll to 2nd by a mere 0.105.
However, Stroll still claimed 3rd place, to take his maiden podium finish in F1, and become the second youngest podium finisher in F1 history.
3: 2017 – Vettel sees red
The 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix is mostly remembered for the moment title rivals clashed, quite literally, on track.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton clashed on the safety car restart on Lap 19.
Vettel ran into the back of the Mercedes, claiming Hamilton had brake tested him, although after investigation, no evidence was found that Hamilton used the brakes as he became the defacto safety car.
The German then saw the red mist, pulled alongside Hamilton and drove into the side of the Brit.
The stewards put the incident under investigation, and deemed Vettel to have driven dangerously and gave him a 10 second Stop/Go penalty for his reaction to the initial collision.
There is still a debate on whether the penalty was harsh enough, with some even wanting Vettel disqualified or given a race ban.
2: 2017 – Ricciardo’s triple overtake
Not only is 2017 remembered for Stroll’s maiden podium, and a collision between Hamilton and Vettel, but also for a remarkable triple overtake by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Daniel Ricciardo is known for his skills under the brakes and notorious for his divebombs.
However, in Baku in 2017, he pulled arguably his best overtaking move of his career.
At the safety car restart from the red flag period, Ricciardo was placed in 6th place, however, used the tow down the long main straight and his skill under braking to pass not just 1, or 2, but 3 cars into Turn 1 to take 3rd.
The Aussie lunged passed both Williams of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, as well as the Renault of future teammate of Nico Hulkenberg.
It would be an important move as the Aussie would inherit the lead of the race and go on to take victory, from 10th on the grid.
1: 2018 – Red Bulls lock horns
If 2017 was memorable for victory for Red Bull, 2018 was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Ricciardo and Verstappen started from 4th and 5th respectively, but spent most of the opening period of the race swapping places with each other.
However, their battle was getting ever more feisty, as the pair collided on more than one occasion.
Verstappen had got the advantage over Ricciardo through the pit-stops, using the overcut to his advantage, however, Ricciardo was soon back on the Dutchman’s tail.
However, on Lap 40, the pair got a bit too close, as Ricciardo tried to dummy Verstappen, trying to go from the outside to the inside, but as Verstappen moved back to the inside, Ricciardo couldn’t back out in time, and slammed up the rear of his teammate.
The collision left both cars out of the race and left Red Bull pointless.
It also led to Ricciardo’s decision to leave Red Bull later in the year, as he felt he was badly treated after the incident by Red Bull management.