F1 Raceweek: Vettel not worried about suicidal seagulls, drivers ready to push the limits in Baku


The streets of Baku are the location for this year's European Grand Prix, but despite another coastal location on the Formula One calendar, Sebastian Vettel is a little less worried about "suicidal" seagulls. 

Vettel came close to winning his first grand prix of the season last Sunday in Montreal, but a poor strategy choice from Ferrari cost the German the race victory.

The four-time F1 champion jokingly blamed his inability to catch Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages of the Canadian Grand Prix on needing to avoid seagulls.

But despite the Baku City Circuit being located right next to the Caspian Sea, Vettel seems to think seagulls will not be as much of a threat as the St. Lawrence River pests. 

"Well, technically I think it's a lake; it's not a sea," the 28-year-old said. "I read some years ago that it is the biggest lake in the world. 

"So I shouldn't be afraid of any seagulls. There will be some, but hopefully they won't sit in front of the car."

With F1 racing in Azerbaijan for the first time, the new circuit will throw up plenty of challenges aside from just a few seagulls. 

Most drivers have been busy in the simulator, getting as many laps in as they can before they head onto the track for Friday free practice, but just how long will it take for them to push the limits?

"Well, to find the absolute limit you won't be able to build up all those small details until the qualifying really," Williams' Valtteri Bottas said. 

"Normally in qualifying you manage to do the best lap of the weekend - but you get very close to that very quickly, I think, with all the preparation we can do nowadays: simulator etc.

"In practice one you already have, after the first run, second run you are already very close to the optimal lap time you can do in those kind of conditions. It's not that long."

Nico Hulkenberg says he will push his Force India to its limits after about 15 minutes of the first session.

"At a guess after 10 laps you have a really good idea of the track. You have it in your mind by then. You know what's coming," he said.

"From there onwards it's work-in-progress really. You keep finding little bits here and there. The track will progress as well: there will be more rubber so it will keep moving on and go faster and faster, so you just have to go with that. 

"But, I think, to give you a number, 10 laps and you're at a pretty good level."

As for the others? McLaren's Fernando Alonso says he will start pushing after two laps. Vettel replies quickly: "I do it in one and a half!" Alonso: "One!" Leave the competitiveness for the track, gentlemen.