"The speed is higher in the land of fire", so claims the advertising for Formula 1's newest grand prix, and there's a good chance the new Baku city street circuit will produce new records for top straightline speed in F1 this weekend.
Already in the first free practice session for the European Grand Prix in Azerbaijan (yes, really!) Williams-Mercedes clocked 221mph (355km/h) on the main straight, with an aerodynamic tow. Carlos Sainz Jr, whose Toro Rosso uses an outdated Ferrari engine, managed 218mph thanks to a double tow following other cars in second practice.
That compares to a top speed of 220.3mph registered by the Force India of Sergio Perez in qualifying for last season's Italian GP at Monza. When the race engines are fitted for Saturday and cranked up to full power for Baku qualifying, that mark should be obliterated, and there's a good chance the 227.6mph clocked by Pastor Maldonado's Lotus in the thin air of Mexico last year could also be breached.