Williams departed North America last week with a mixed bag of results but also with the conviction that only bad luck prevented it from reaching a better result.
Rookie Lance Stroll enjoyed his first points-scoring finish in Montreal while Felipe Massa retired from the race on the opening lap through no fault of his own.
Williams’ pace in Canada therefore bodes well for Baku, a track very similar to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
“It was an exciting first race in Azerbaijan last year and now we understand the circuit we can return more prepared for a second Grand Prix,” said Williams tech boss Paddy Lowe.
“Baku City Circuit is a 6km anticlockwise street circuit with some similarities to Canada in terms of set-up and characteristic, so we would hope to see a similar performance level for the FW40.”
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Ex-retiree Felipe Massa is performing like a young charger and should have no troubles putting his Montreal disappointment behind him.
“I’m really looking forward to returning to such a nice country, and to a unique race track, which is in the heart of the city,” Massa said in the team’s preview.
“There’s a lot of 90-degree corners and a flat out section from Turn 16 all the way down the long straight to Turn 1, where we reach some really high speeds.
“We had a double points finish there last year, and after my early retirement in Canada I hope we can come away with another strong result and some good points.”
Lance Stroll’s ambition is to carry over the momentum he enjoyed at his home race to a venue the 18-year-old has yet to discover, even in the team’s simulator.
“Going to Baku will be a totally new experience as not only have I never been there before, but last year when the race was on I missed it on TV as I was competing somewhere else,” Stroll said.
“I don’t know what it is like yet as I haven’t done any simulator work and usually do this just before I fly to the race.
“The stories I have heard are of a really cool place and so I am really looking forward to seeing it for myself.
“It is yet another new experience and new country for me which is something else that I find exciting about Formula One.
“However, this will be my last ‘new’ experience for a while as I have already raced at the next handful of tracks.”
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