Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 preview: Prediction, date, UK start time, TV channel, live stream, tickets, F1 odds

JOE KRISHNAN

Baku may be one of the less glamorous venues on the Formula One calendar to visit but on the track, it's quickly become a hotbed for overtaking and dramatic crashes.

It was here where Sebastian Vettel infamously lost his cool and steered into championship rival Lewis Hamilton behind the safety car.

It's also where team-mates always seem to collide. Last year's race was dominated by the incredible smash-up between Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo at turn one, while Force India (now Racing Point) were left to despair as Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez came to blows.

As we approach the third race at the new circuit since its introduction in 2017, it will feel like a strong opportunity for Ferrari to hit back after watching Mercedes storm to victory in the first races of the campaign.

But after Ricciardo won this race in 2017, Red Bull will fancy their chances with Max Verstappen now backed as their number one driver. The only question that remains is whether the Honda power unit can compete with Ferrari and Mercedes down the long main straight.

The two Red Bulls crashed after battling for position, resulting in a double retirement. (Getty Images)

The midfield battle continues to rumble on after impressive performances from Renault and Toro Rosso in China and with a number of tight turns on this street circuit, there is bound to be lots of wheel-to-wheel action.

Scroll down for our comprehensive Azerbaijan Grand Prix preview...

Date and UK start time

After the early morning starts in Australia and China, the F1 season comes rolling into Europe for the summer months which means sessions will be held at more suitable viewing times.

The first free practice session starts on Friday, April 26 at 1pm on track (10am BST). Then later in the day, the teams will be back out on track at 5pm (2pm BST).

The drivers will go through their final preparations for qualifying in FP3 at 2pm (11am GMT) on Saturday, April 27, before the action gets under way in qualifying at 5pm (2pm BST).

And finally, we arrive at the race in Baku on Sunday, April 28, which is scheduled for a 4.10pm (1.10pm) start.

TV channel and live stream

UK viewers will no longer have the luxury of being able to choose between the two rights holders for the race in Azerbaijan.

Sky Sports subscribers will be able to tune in for every live race in the 2019 season, but the same does not apply to terrestrial viewers.

Channel 4 recently downgraded their rights package which means they can only show highlights of qualifying sessions and races, with only the British Grand Prix scheduled for live coverage in the 2019 season.

Sky Sports subscribers can watch the entire race weekend live on the Sky Sports F1 channel (channel 408). If you don’t have Sky Sports, you can watch with a NOW TV Sky Sports Pass, which gives you exactly the same coverage without having to sign up to a contract.

Betting tips via Betfair | UK users only | Subject to change

Race winner

  • Lewis Hamilton: 15/8
  • Sebastian Vettel: 9/4
  • Valtteri Bottas: 7/2
  • Charles Leclerc: 7/2
  • Max Verstappen: 20/1

Fastest lap

  • Valtteri Bottas: 16/5
  • Lewis Hamilton: 7/2
  • Pierre Gasly: 11/2
  • Kimi Raikkonen: 70/1

Click here to find the latest race odds and place a bet. Odds correct on 24/04/2019.

Tickets

Those looking to purchase tickets through Formula One's official ticketing website may have better luck going through the Baku Circuit's official website, as F1's ticketing website is experiencing technical issues.

(Getty Images)

The Grand Prix may be just a few days away but F1 fans can still secure themselves a 'roaming' pass, which will allow fans to perch in areas around the circuit for as little as $100 (£77).

Alternatively, if you're in Baku for the weekend and want that the best seat in the house in the Absheron Grandstand, that will cost between £455 and £502.

Prediction

​Race winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

Winner? Hamilton has won each of the last two races and has found his form. (EPA)

This is a track that Valtteri Bottas typically enjoys. The Finn finished second in 2017 and was only denied victory here last year because of a cruel tyre blowout, causing him to retire just three laps from the chequered flag.

But now that Hamilton has found his winning form with two wins on the bounce, the Brit will be dreaming of a hat-trick to surely put Sebastian Vettel out of his rearview mirror.

Mercedes will know that Ferrari's struggles surely won't last much longer and, with Hamilton receiving priority, the 34-year-old is likely to be handed the advantage should the German team secure another one-two. ​