Formula 1 Racing

F1 Paddock Diary: Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Baku City Circuit, 2023

Formula 1’s 11th-hour changes to the format of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix did not produce the thriller many hoped for. Claire Cottingham reported from the paddock for RaceFans.


Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Baku City Circuit, 2023

Flying to Baku from the UK requires a lot of patience and time. After packing my bags and setting off for a four-hour stay in Istanbul before flying onwards to Azerbaijan, I was thankful to get to my hotel at 5am Wednesday morning, exhausted from a night of travel but buzzing about my third visit to Baku.

After getting a few hours’ kip I was invited to a karting event by the promoters. Despite finding eight seconds during my 10-minute stint, I remained dead last – exactly where I knew I was going to be. Despite being a competitive person, I know my limited karting experience left me on the back foot, so content with my performance I made my way back to the hotel for an early night.

Starting Thursday morning in the paddock with a trip to Williams, there was a slight state of confusion around after the FIA and Formula 1 decided to shake up the entire weekend format just days before the sprint event was due to take place. I held back a moment after having a chat with Logan Sargeant: I had interviewed him once before at a TOCA (Touring Cars) round, and I had been to the British Touring Cars round at Donington Park last weekend (the same one Lewis Hamilton attended incognito). He was happy to hear an update on how the championship was getting on.

After speaking to various other drivers I sprinted down to the media pen to chat with Charles Leclerc. The session had started as I arrived so I stuck my recorder in ready to hear what the Ferrari driver had to say. He seemed in relatively good spirits with a smile on his face and refreshed after a few weeks off. Conversion turned to his music and a new single he released. When asked, he admitted he’d love to do a collaboration with Hamilton, however, he may not like the “sad songs” he has been producing.

“If he’s happy to sing in a depression song, then I might be the one he goes to. My songs are not the happiest ones.”

Joking back to a comment about “singing a song about catching Red Bull,” he replied laughing: “Yeah, that could go well with my style of music!”

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Logan Sargeant, Williams, Baku City Circuit, 2023

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