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F1 chief Ecclestone confused by human rights concerns

Third practice: Saturday, 18 June 11:00 BST.

Still, Ricciardo’s young teammate, Max Verstappen, finished in fourth in Canada and many will be hoping that Ferrari and Red Bull can once again push Mercedes in both qualifying and on race day Sunday.

Formula One heads to Azerbaijan for the first time as drivers prepare to face the challenging streets of Baku.

Several drivers including Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg have complained about the lack of run-off space on the track and the risky high-speed entry to the pit-lane.

Button added that some corners “don’t have any run-off at all”.

“The bit I don’t like is a few corners”.

“Ecclestone is famed for his incendiary views, which include his admiration for Adolf Hitler and President Vladimir Putin, and he was in fighting form as his F1 circus geared up for this first grand prix around the streets of Baku”, he says.

Senior members of Formula One management, but not Ecclestone, met campaigners in London last week and the Briton said the Azerbaijan authorities had given an assurance that “they are looking into all these things. This is the circuit and if they don’t like it, they can go home”. It is a shame because a lot of the circuit is good and you look at the condition of everything, it does look very good.

Boullier added the problem with Button’s engine was still “under investigation” while Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda’s project chief, warned: “We believe that Baku will be similar in its stop-and-go characteristics and long straights [to Montreal], so we think it’ll be another tough challenge for the team”.

“We just left the greatest place in the world North America – and compared to here, it is a bit of a s***hole isn’t it?”

With the new, safer, Tecpro barriers, it helps decrease the impact force considerably, however with nowhere to go, drivers are going to have to be more anxious about the cars behind them hitting them than the impact of hitting the wall.

But when asked about Azerbaijan’s notoriously poor reputation for respecting human rights, he didn’t appear to be all that concerned. “It’s a super-wide track, nearly as wide as a motorway in some places”. After a brief gap from 1986 to 1992, the very next year in 1993, the venue shifted back to Great Britain but this time at Donington Park and the race was won by the late great Ayrton Senna.

The area governed by the pit-lane speed limit does not start until after the chicane.

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“So it’s really hard, but that’s part of racing”. It is widely expected that Button will be replaced by Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren’s highly-rated reserve driver, who deputised for Fernando Alonso in Bahrain this year.

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