2022 AM Wings_Mono Negative
On Track

The Debrief by Aramco: Azerbaijan GP

With 22 points scored at the end of the first Sprint race weekend of the 2023 season, Fernando, Lance and Team Principal Mike Krack offer their thoughts on the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Azerbaijan GP

A double points finish in Baku.

Fernando and Lance raced up the order in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on race day to come away with plenty of points on the board.

Both drivers made moves in the early stages of the race and delivered decisive overtakes on the Safety Car restart to help secure their results after fighting right until the final laps of the race.

At the end of a fast and frenetic weekend, the drivers and Team Principal Mike Krack shared their views on how the race shaped out.

Sunday

F. AlonsoFL: 1:44.241
P04
L. StrollFL: 1:45.627
P07

"Another well-executed weekend by the entire team and we leave Baku with a combined total of 22 points. That is a good return from quite a challenging event on a very demanding street circuit." Mike assesses the results of the weekend in Baku, with a decent number of points accumulated across the Sprint and the Grand Prix around the challenging streets of Baku.

"I think we had a tricky weekend with the DRS issue on Friday and Saturday, but despite this we have finished only one second away from the podium at the chequered flag. With that in mind, I have to be happy with fourth position and our overall performance which was encouraging all race." Fernando explains that despite the challenges faced by the team this weekend, the pace was there to deliver a strong result at the conclusion of the weekend.

"It was pretty tough out there today. I was happy with my start, as well as the Safety Car restart, but I wasn't feeling super comfortable with the car once the race got going and made a slight mistake. A little misjudgement can end your day here, so I was fortunate to get away with brushing the wall and managed to continue with the race." Lance explains the race from his side, including the slight brush with the perilous Baku walls at Turn Five.

"Full credit to the drivers who did an excellent job to make progress from their starting positions. They managed the Hard tyres well over a long stint, while maintaining good race pace, and brought the cars home safely to round off a clean weekend." Great teamwork. Mike pays tribute to Lance and Fernando, who both had to manage their Hard tyres for 40 laps, and were continuing to show plenty of pace in the final moments of the race.

"Thankfully today the DRS seemed to work fine, and our tyre management was strong. I thought the tailwind was quite random and here in Baku you are always on the edge." Having faced DRS issues throughout the weekend, Fernando highlighted the strengths of the AMR23 in the race and the additional variables needing to be managed during the race.

"Once Lewis [Hamilton] passed me, it was just about maintaining position and holding off George [Russell] for the remaining laps. He was pushing hard, but we managed the tyres well and I was able to keep him behind me." Lance spent much of his race battling with the Mercedes pair. He crucially overhauled Russell at Turn Two on the restart, and kept him at bay until the chequered flag.

"We only have to wait a few days before we go racing again, so let's see what we can do next week in Miami!" There is a very short gap between now and the next Grand Prix, and Fernando is already looking ahead to the Miami International Autodrome next weekend.

"As a team, we definitely have a few things to work though ahead of Miami, but I think we need to be pleased to come away from the first Sprint weekend of the year with a decent haul of points to maintain second in the Constructors' Championship." In the mix. Lance reflects on the weekend as a whole, which has concluded with AMF1 Team still ahead of Mercedes and Ferrari.

"This sets us up nicely for our first trip of the year to the United States next week as we get ready to entertain the fans in Miami." Mike believes that the strong performance showed in Azerbaijan despite the challenges faced by the team will tee the team up nicely for the Miami Grand Prix next weekend.

Saturday

#14 | Fernando Alonso | Sprint Shootout & race

SQ1
1:43.789
P06
SQ2
1:42.976
P05
SQ3
1:43.010
P08
SprintFL: 1:44.544
P06

#18 | Lance Stroll | Sprint Shootout & race

SQ1
1:43.879
P08
SQ2
1:43.375
P08
SQ3
1:43.064
P09
SprintFL: 1:44.855
P08

"We are happy to have scored some points in the Sprint after gaining two positions." Fernando picked up three valuable points in the Sprint race, after making moves on Alex Albon at the start and Lewis Hamilton on the restart, and was pleased with his day's work.

"That was a hard-earned point, but I enjoyed the new format today. Every time we go out on the track, there is something to fight for. It keeps us on our toes and I think it is exciting for fans, too." Lance likes the nature of the new Sprint format, where every session plays its own role in the Grand Prix weekend.

"A good job by the team today: we scored four points in the Sprint and both drivers raced well, made decisive overtakes, and stayed out of trouble." Mike highlighted the effort from the whole team during Saturday, which netted four hard-earned points.

"I'm not sure if the DRS issue that we've had all weekend is fixed, but we will analyse it overnight and hopefully it's fine for tomorrow. Even with DRS activated, overtaking was quite difficult today and we were all very closely matched in terms of performance." Fernando highlights the issues with the DRS that have affected the team throughout the weekend, and also the closeness of the teams in the top 10 around the Baku City Circuit.

"We had some DRS issues during the Shootout, but fortunately it seemed to be working for the Sprint, which was important because overtaking is quite a challenge at this circuit." Lance faced issues with the DRS during the Sprint Shootout, but was able to utilise it in the race itself to work into the points.

"Fortunately, the DRS issues we have encountered throughout the event did not affect us during the Sprint. It was also a valuable learning experience for the Grand Prix tomorrow and the long-run tyre data will help our strategy decision making." Mike explains the status of the DRS issues, and highlights that the experience gained in the Sprint today will be crucial to Sunday's Grand Prix.

"I enjoyed the battle with Albon and having followed him for a few laps I was pleased to make the move stick going into Turn One." Lance had to get past Albon for the final point position. He was able to make the move as the race approached the second half, and then showed strong pace towards the end of the run.

"I think we have learnt a bit more about the tyres because it was our first long run all weekend. I believe we have a chance to finish even higher in tomorrow's race and there is always a chance of a Safety Car or red flag here to mix things up." With Saturday over, Fernando now looks ahead to the Grand Prix, where he looks to move forward.

Friday

#14 | Fernando Alonso | Free Practice & Qualifying

FP1
1:43.560
P08
Q1
1:41.720
P03
Q2
1:41.370
P05
Q3
1:41.253
P06

#18 | Lance Stroll | Free Practice & Qualifying

FP1
1:43.455
P07
Q1
1:42.524
P13
Q2
1:41.576
P08
Q3
1:41.611
P09

"It was close out there today; the car felt good and I had the confidence to push hard which is a huge benefit around a circuit like this." Lance was happy to get back into the car after the four-week break, and felt that he was able to push in the AMR23 on Friday around the twisty streets of Baku.

"I am satisfied with sixth position on the grid for Sunday after we lost a little bit of performance today with a DRS issue." Fernando was pleased to qualify on the third row of the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix despite the DRS problem around a circuit with two very long zones.

"Unfortunately, we were having intermittent DRS issues throughout the session and I completely lost DRS on the pit straight during Q3. It cost us a fair bit of time but we'll be doing our best to solve the issue before running tomorrow." Lance explains the issues that affected him during qualifying. There will be time to look at everything ahead of the Sprint Shootout.

"It's a long weekend ahead of us and there are plenty of opportunities with this new format, so hopefully we can make up some positions and perform well tomorrow in the Sprint." The new Sprint format means that there is still a significant amount of important running to come once qualifying has concluded, as Fernando explains.

"Both Fernando and Lance did well under challenging circumstances today. The single practice session was quite straightforward, but going into qualifying we experienced an ongoing DRS issue across both cars, which meant it was only working intermittently." Mike expands further on the issues that affected both Fernando and Lance throughout the day, but praises the drivers for their work and for getting through into the top-10 shootout.

"I enjoyed the new format today; it was exciting to go straight into qualifying and it makes for a more interesting Friday. We know it'll be a challenge to do it all again first thing tomorrow morning without running beforehand, but I'm looking forward to it." With the new format in place for this weekend, Lance felt that the changes have shaken up the dynamic of and the race weekend overall.

"It's very close between a number of teams, so we'll need to try and be more consistent throughout the rest of the weekend." As has been the case for much of the season so far, many of the teams have been within just a few tenths of a second of each other. Fernando highlights what is needed to be on top of his direct rivals.

"Despite this costing us some performance, we progressed to Q3 quite comfortably and the team and drivers did a good job of managing a busy session with the yellow and red flags. We had the potential to be a bit higher up the grid, but I think we are well placed to fight for points on Sunday and this is a circuit where overtaking is possible." Mike feels that there was the possibility to be closer to the front on Sunday, but highlights that this is a circuit where is it possible to overtake.

"It's exciting to know we are waking up tomorrow and jumping straight into the car for another qualifying session." Straight back at it. The first bit of running to start the day on Saturday will be the short first segment of the Sprint Shootout, and Fernando will be eager to get going.

"Our attention now turns to Saturday and maximising the standalone Sprint event to pick up as many points as we can." Final words of the day from Mike, who now focuses on Saturday – a day of running with points on offer but without affecting the grid in any way for Sunday's Grand Prix.

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