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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Ricciardo's Red Bull can sprout wings in Baku

China winner can keep the good feeling going

Daniel Ricciardo could have even more to smile about this week
1 of 1

Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice one
Channel 4 & Sky Sports F1, 10am Friday

Daniel Ricciardo's victory in China last time injected some life into the world championship and the Red Bull ace is worth backing to keep up his form in practice for this week's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Aussie won a chaotic race on the streets of Baku last year after the Red Bulls had gone 1-2 in first practice.

Max Verstappen was the quicker driver that day, but Ricciardo has looked stronger in the early stages of this season.

Verstappen may not be in the best frame of mind after his latest bout of overexuberance in Beijing cost him a likely victory. 

Azerbaijan features some of the tightest corners of the season, but its defining feature is a huge 1.4-mile long straight. 

Ferrari-power edged out Mercedes through the speed trap in China, which also has a very long straight, and that should stand them in good stead as Sebastian Vettel looks to get back on the win trail.

However, Ferrari have tended to run conservatively on Fridays so we may not see the best of the Prancing Horses until qualifying day.

Lewis Hamilton headed practice one in Australia and China and is favourite to do so in Baku, but at the prices Ricciardo is worth chancing.

Recommendation
D Ricciardo fastest in P1
1pt each-way 10-1 bet365, Hills

Track facts

Venue Baku City Circuit, Azerbaijan
Number of laps 51
Lap length 6.006km
Lap record 1.43.411 S Vettel (Ferrari) 2017
Schedule – practice one 10am Friday; ­practice two 2pm Friday; practice three 11am Saturday; qualifying 2pm Saturday; race 1.10pm Sunday.
TV All live on Channel 4 & Sky Sports F1
Circuit characteristics An anti-clockwise street circuit which features some very narrow sections and a 1.4-mile straight
Tyres allocation Soft (yellow), supersoft (red) and ultrasoft (purple)
DRS zones The start/finish straight and before turn 3
Last year In a chaotic race, Daniel ­Ricciardo forced his way ointo the lead at a restart following a safety car period. Valtteri Bottas nicked second place from Lance Stroll on the run to the line.
2017 pole L Hamilton, 1.40.593
2017 fastest lap S Vettel, 1.43.441, lap 47
2017 classified finishers 14/20
Reason for retirements Mechanical (4), accident/damage (2)
Weather Sunny but not particularly warm. Some cloud tomorrow with 40mph winds.


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Ferrari have tended to run conservatively on Fridays so we may not see the best of the Prancing Horses until qualifying day
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