Verstappen fastest in hectic Baku practice

Tom Howard

Saturday 24th June, 2017 - 1:32am

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Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen emerged quickest despite ending Friday practice in the barriers after an incident-filled second session ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Dutchman proved the class of the field as Red Bull showed encouraging signs around the challenging Baku City street circuit.

Several drivers made errors in the two 90 minute sessions as they struggled for grip, resulting in collisions with the barriers and trips down escape roads.

Verstappen set the pace by clocking a 1:43.362s effort on super-soft tyres which was 0.100s faster than nearest rival Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes).

However, the teenager, who topped opening practice, blotted his copybook in the final seconds of second practice when he lost control of his Red Bull, finding the barriers at Turn 1.

“It was very weird to be honest,” said Verstappen when asked about the crash.

“I locked up and tried to play it safe and stay on the exit road, but then suddenly I lost the rear and had a four wheel powerslide into the barriers.”

Red Bull’s pace was backed up by Daniel Ricciardo who ended the day third fastest, just 0.011s shy of Bottas.

“It has been a pretty good day, both of us (Red Bulls) were in the top three in both sessions,” said Ricciardo.

“This morning, even though I was second, I wasn’t that content with my session. There was still a lot of room for improvement from myself and the car.

“I believe we made improvements and there is still a little bit to find, but I’m happy with how we ended the day.”

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest in front of Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who endured several trips down escape roads as he pushed the limits in search of speed.

Vettel was only 0.253s adrift of Verstappen in what proved to be a hotly contested session.

Williams Lance Stroll surprised by posting the sixth quickest time ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez, who clattered the barriers at Turn 8 in first practice.

Among a group of drivers to make mistakes, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was eighth, while the top 10 was rounded out by Esteban Ocon (Force India) and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who struggled for outright pace.

Fernando Alonso’s day ended prematurely when the McLaren driver suffered a gearbox failure, leaving him 12th behind Felipe Massa.

The second session was red flagged at the halfway point when Renault’s Jolyon Palmer found the wall at Turn 8, which prompted a 10 minute stoppage to clear the track.

Meanwhile, Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean battled brake issues that left him languishing down in 20th position.

Result: Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Practice 2

Position Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m43.362s 36
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m43.462s 0.100s 32
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m43.473s 0.111s 34
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m43.489s 0.127s 35
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m43.615s 0.253s 35
6 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m44.113s 0.751s 27
7 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m44.306s 0.944s 34
8 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1m44.321s 0.959s 27
9 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m44.484s 1.122s 37
10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m44.525s 1.163s 23
11 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m44.609s 1.247s 33
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m45.515s 2.153s 15
13 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1m45.733s 2.371s 34
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m45.831s 2.469s 33
15 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m46.003s 2.641s 29
16 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m46.061s 2.699s 17
17 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda 1m46.174s 2.812s 28
18 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari 1m47.150s 3.788s 25
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m47.347s 3.985s 25
20 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m47.722s 4.360s 22

Result: Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Practice 1 

Position Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m44.410s 19
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m44.880s 0.470s 22
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m44.967s 0.557s 20
4 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m45.398s 0.988s 16
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m45.497s 1.087s 16
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m45.737s 1.327s 19
7 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m45.752s 1.342s 24
8 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m45.968s 1.558s 25
9 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m46.000s 1.590s 18
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1m46.617s 2.207s 11
11 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m46.649s 2.239s 28
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m46.721s 2.311s 23
13 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m46.837s 2.427s 22
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m47.217s 2.807s 21
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda 1m47.446s 3.036s 22
16 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1m47.501s 3.091s 13
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m47.551s 3.141s 20
18 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m48.525s 4.115s 15
19 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari 1m49.048s 4.638s 19
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m49.937s 5.527s 21

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