McLaren Test & Reserve driver Lando Norris aims to consolidate his early 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship advantage when the British teenager makes his début at the Baku City Circuit in Azerbaijan next weekend (28-29 Apr).
Norris begins Saturday’s 29-lap Feature race with a nine-point championship lead after the opening two Bahrain races in the 24-race series, Lando having finished first and fourth in the Feature and Sprint races respectively.
As in Bahrain, Norris will be making his race début around the 3.73-mile circuit that is run in an anti-clockwise direction. Lando started the Bahrain Feature race from pole-position, setting the fastest race lap, and started from eighth place due to the reverse grid in Race 2. A likely podium finish was thwarted when his Carlin-entered Dallara suffered a momentary gearbox glitch at the end of lap two which nevertheless delayed the hapless 18-year-old in the region of four seconds with no drive. The reigning FIA European F3 Champion finished 5.043secs behind the winner.
Friday: 1100-1145 Practice; 1500-1530 Qualifying.
Saturday: 1200-1305 Race 1 (Feature).
Sunday: 1310-1400 Race 2 (Sprint).
Lando Norris (GB): Born: Bristol, England. Aged 18.
"I’m always gunning for victory but it’s hard to know exactly what to expect until I get to Baku. I think it’ll be harder [than Bahrain] but I’ll do some preparation on the sim – I did some [sim] work for McLaren around there last year. The circuit comprises of long straights which cools the brakes and also the tyres a little which can make the braking extremely tricky. I don’t know how hard the track is on tyres – it shouldn’t be too bad as there aren’t many slow traction zones. The tarmac is also fairly smooth. It’ll be very different to Bahrain – the complete opposite basically – so we’ll need to adapt. Whereas I tested in Bahrain before the race week, my first time on-track in Baku will be in the one and only practice session before qually on Friday morning. I’m confident of getting on the pace pretty quickly although I don’t think it’s a track that a ‘rookie’ can nail straightaway. I know Carlin has been working hard since Bahrain going through everything that needs to be done before we get to Baku so we can start on Friday in the strongest position possible."