Lewis Hamilton excited for Baku 'lottery' as Ferrari bid to recover
The Azerbaijan GP top three in qualifying are in agreement: Anything can happen in Baku; Watch race at 1.10pm on Sky F1
By Matt Morlidge in Baku
Last Updated: 28/04/19 1:22pm
Lewis Hamilton is braced for one of the "most challenging" tests of the season at the Azerbaijan GP, describing the race as a "lottery" where anything can happen.
Qualifying offered a dramatic glimpse of the Baku streets' unpredictable nature, with several mistakes from drivers as well as two crashes at the same corner, and Ferrari pole-favourite Charles Leclerc's Q2 shunt allowed Mercedes to capitalise.
The Silver Arrows went on to snatch an unexpected one-two, with Valtteri Bottas just ahead of Hamilton.
But the last two Baku races have served up thrillers and Hamilton is preparing for more chaos come lights out on Sunday, which you can watch live on Sky Sports F1 at 1.10pm (build-up at 11.30am).
"It's like a lottery here with all the safety cars and all the different things that can happen," Hamilton told Sky Sports. "It's very easy to make mistakes throughout this race - it's a really challenging circuit.
"It's one of the most challenging circuits we have on the calendar. The risk versus the reward is very tricky.
"It will be really interesting - particularly as it's cool if we have restarts on cold tyres, and all these different things."
An excited world champion added: "I'm going to have to be the most switched on that we can be."
The Azerbaijan street circuit features several unforgiving, sharp corners - such as Turn Eight where both Robert Kubica and Leclerc found the barriers - as well as the longest straight on the calendar where engine power is key.
With Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel just behind, and an improving Red Bull also on the second row with Max Verstappen, it promises to be a cracker.
"It's one of those anything can happen races," admitted Sky F1's Damon Hill. "High chance of a safety car and incidents. To get through to the end of this race without somebody blocking the track or something like that is a hard job. They've got tonnes of overtaking opportunities with DRS and the long straight - it's going to be exciting!"
Bottas takes top spot, while Ferrari remain confident
Bottas made it two consecutive poles by claiming the fastest time on Saturday and will now hope to do what he could not manage in China - hold off his team-mate, and indeed any other rivals, at the start.
"Here is a very unpredictable race," Bottas said. "Obviously we are pretty happy we are starting with a one-two as a team. We feel we do have a strong car in the race - but here, anything can happen. It's a very eventful race.
"Who's tyres are going to last the best, who's going to have the best pace. Also, with safety cars, how everything pans out. You can get lucky or unlucky. Many unpredictable things can happen.
"Where the accidents happened in qualifying, for sure it's one of the most difficult parts on the calendar. It's extremely tight, you're going over the kerb. If you do a small mistake, you're in the wall, as we saw, especially when it was getting cooler, it's easier to lock the tyres up under braking. So, it can happen."
Ferrari, the dominant pace-setters all weekend before Leclerc's mistake and the subsequent drop in temperature, insist they remain very much in the hunt.
"It's a long race, anything can happen here," claimed Vettel, who starts third and just ahead of Verstappen.
"Certainly if we have a good start, that might help, and then it's a long straight after closing the first lap and we'll see where we are. It's a long race ahead of us.
"It's definitely possible to overtake around here."
We can't wait for this one, and here's how you can follow the Azerbaijan GP on Sky F1:
10am: Azerbaijan GP Formula 2 Race Two LIVE!
10am: The F1 Show on Sky One
11.30am: Azerbaijan GP Pit Lane LIVE!
12.30pm: Azerbaijan GP On The Grid LIVE!
1.10pm: THE AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX LIVE!
3pm: Azerbaijan GP Paddock LIVE!
4pm: Azerbaijan GP: The Notebook LIVE!
4.30pm: Azerbaijan GP full race replay
Watch the Azerbaijan GP live on Sky Sports F1. Sky Sports is the home of live and exclusive F1. Find out more here to watch the 2019 season live