Hamilton fastest in European GP practice

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton set the pace in Friday practice for the European Grand Prix at the Baku street circuit.

Mercedes dominated the two 90 minute sessions at the newly constructed venue with Hamilton coming out on top in both.

Organisers were forced to make changes to the kerbs prior to the start of the second session.

Nico Rosberg and Hamilton both enjoyed spells at the top of the times in the day’s final session before the latter posted a 1:44.223s effort on super-soft tyres to end up on top.

Rosberg proved to be 0.6s shy of his reigning world champion team-mate on the same rubber.

The championship leader’s day ended on a sour note when his Mercedes ground to a halt on track with 20 minutes remaining.

Baku’s long straights suited the Mercedes engined teams with Force India emerging as the best of the rest, with Sergio Perez in third, albeit 1.1s slower than Hamilton.

The Williams of Valtteri Bottas was fourth fastest ahead of the sister Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.

Carlos Sainz emerged as the quickest non Mercedes powered runner in sixth for Toro Rosso.

The Spaniard was however lucky to avoid contact with the barriers after a high speed spin at Turn 1.

Max Verstappen recovered from an oil leak in opening practice to finish seventh ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

McLaren’s Jenson Button was ninth while Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top 10.

The Australian provided the only real incident of note when he clouted the wall at Turn 15 in the first session.

Although glad his RB12 was able to be repaired for the final hit-out, the 26-year-old says his Red Bull team is searching for the pace required to fight at the front this weekend.

“I felt a bit bad about it (the crash) and said sorry to the guys,” said Ricciardo.

“We don’t have the speed that we want for the rest of the weekend so we have got some work to do.

“If we can get it right for tomorrow I think we can find a chunk of lap time.”

A mechanical issue restricted Fernando Alonso’s running in Practice 2 with the Spaniard left to settle for 11th position.

The McLaren driver edged Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen, who struggled with a suspected engine issue.

Qualifying is scheduled to begin on Saturday at 2300 AEST.

Result: European Grand Prix Practice 2

Position Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:44.223s 33
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:44.913s 0.690s 26
3 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1:45.336s 1.113s 37
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1:45.764s 1.541s 35
5 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1:45.920s 1.697s 37
6 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1:46.027s 1.804s 35
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1:46.068s 1.845s 35
8 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:46.219s 1.996s 36
9 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1:46.234s 2.011s 32
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1:46.293s 2.070s 32
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1:46.498s 2.275s 27
12 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:46.681s 2.458s 29
13 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:46.694s 2.471s 32
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1:46.744s 2.521s 35
15 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1:46.830s 2.607s 26
16 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1:47.060s 2.837s 28
17 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:47.329s 3.106s 38
18 Rio Haryanto Manor/Mercedes 1:47.487s 3.264s 33
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1:47.772s 3.549s 22
20 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:47.794s 3.571s 35
21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1:48.018s 3.795s 36
22 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1:48.081s 3.858s 38

Result: European Grand Prix Practice 1

Position Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:46.435s 23
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:46.812s 0.377s 32
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1:47.096s 0.661s 34
4 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1:47.989s 1.554s 21
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:48.627s 2.192s 26
6 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1:48.922s 2.487s 17
7 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1:49.019s 2.584s 21
8 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1:49.125s 2.690s 22
9 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1:49.267s 2.832s 16
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1:49.301s 2.866s 27
11 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:49.611s 3.176s 20
12 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:49.635s 3.200s 16
13 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1:49.778s 3.343s 17
14 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1:50.167s 3.732s 25
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1:50.473s 4.038s 18
16 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1:50.485s 4.050s 7
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1:50.551s 4.116s 19
18 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:50.910s 4.475s 25
19 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:50.939s 4.504s 27
20 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1:51.219s 4.784s 24
21 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1:51.771s 5.336s 11
22 Rio Haryanto Manor/Mercedes 1:51.925s 5.490s 28

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