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Leclerc tops interrupted Friday in Baku

Mat Coch

Saturday 27th April, 2019 - 1:22am

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Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc was fastest at the end of an eventful Friday ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver topped second practice by a third of a second from team-mate Sebastian Vettel in an interrupted session.

It followed an opening practice which was abandoned all together after little more than 15 minutes when a manhole cover came loose and damaged George Russell’s Williams.

The Brit was forced to sit out the second session as a result as the team worked on building up its spare chassis.

With the red flag in the opening session, Practice 2 was the only real opportunity for teams to gather date, with much of the field logging nearly 30 laps.

Both Ferrari drivers recorded 28 laps, while third fastest Lewis Hamilton, who was nearly seven tenths away from Leclerc’s time, completed 31 tours.

At the other end of the spectrum were Lance Stroll, who found the wall, and Daniil Kvyat, who failed to break into double figures.

Experiencing oversteer at Turn 2, Stroll bailed out of the corner too late and clouted the left front corner of his Racing Point on the tyre barrier.

The incident triggered the red flag, and an 11 minute delay, as marshals cleared the wreckage.

Kvyat struggled with a power steering issue in his Toro Rosso, and recorded just nine laps en route to banking the sixth fastest time.

Like Stroll, the Russian also tagged the wall, also with the left front, bringing a close to his session with 20 minutes left on the clock.

Ending the session 15th fastest, Daniel Ricciardo effectively ran out of tyres when he flat spotted a set of the soft compound rubber.

His best time was more than 2.6s away from the outright pace, but still more than a full second clear of Nico Hulkenberg in the sister Renault.

Elsewhere a solid session for Alex Albon saw the Thai driver eighth, making for two Toro Rossos in the top 10, as were both McLarens with Carlos Sainz in seventh and Lando Norris 10th.

Slippery conditions and a lack of running in opening practice saw a number of drivers make mistakes, including Hamilton, Norris, Valtteri Bottas, Romain Grosjean, and Pierre Gasly all skating into the escape road on at least one occasion.

However, there was a close call for Grosjean and Hamilton late in the session, with a miscommunication between the pair almost triggering a crash.

Hamilton looked to try and pass Grosjean shortly after the Castle section, only for the Haas to initially jink to one side and slam the door closed as the Mercedes attempted to draw alongside.

The pair appeared to make light contact, though not sufficient to cause any damage, before Grosjean slowed and allowed Hamilton through shortly afterwards.

A final 60 minute practice session remains, scheduled for 2000 AEST on Saturday, before qualifying at 2300 AEST.

Result: Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Practice 2

Pos Num Driver Team Time Diff
1 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:42.872
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:43.196 +0.324s
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:43.541 +0.669s
4 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 1:43.793 +0.921s
5 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:44.003 +1.131s
6 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1:44.177 +1.305s
7 55 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault 1:44.183 +1.311s
8 23 Alexander Albon Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1:44.216 +1.344s
9 10 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Racing Honda 1:44.240 +1.368s
10 4 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 1:44.295 +1.423s
11 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:44.901 +2.029s
12 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:45.366 +2.494s
13 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point Mercedes 1:45.436 +2.564s
14 7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:45.482 +2.610s
15 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:45.483 +2.611s
16 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:45.618 +2.746s
17 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:46.717 +3.845s
18 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes 1:47.875 +5.003s
19 88 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes 1:48.111 +5.239s

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