Verstappen leads Red Bull dominance in practice

Doug Mendoza
June 26, 2017

The Force India driver was unhurt and finished fourth fastest, but his auto was damaged badly.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen set the fastest time in first practice at the 2017 Azerbaijan Formula One Grand Prix in Baku on Friday as he posted a lap of one minute, 44.410 seconds.

"It was very weird", Verstappen told reporters.

Hamilton nearly collided with Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari and drivers including Vettel, on several occasions, had to make use of escape routes to avoid crashes as they struggled with grip.

A switch to Red Bull does not appear to be an option for the Spaniard, though, as team principal Horner said there will not be any spare seats at the Austrian team next year.

The second session was much closer than the first, with the top four cars split by just 0.127s.

If you were a spectator it was exciting and you'd probably feel you'd got a good bang for your buck, possibly it was even slightly comical.

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With 20 minutes to go in the session, a red flag interrupted the session when Perez damaged the two wheels on the right side of his vehicle by negotiating the tight n o 8.

Hamilton conceded it had been a challenging day, but pointed to Bottas's speed for encouragement. It was only fitting that Alonso had to retire with an engine problem in practice as well. "So we had to wind the engine down, which cost me quite a lot of lap time", he said.

However, Verstappen's near ideal day was soured in the final 30 seconds of the session as he lost the rear of his Red Bull at the apex of Turn 1 and slammed into the barrier.

Verstappen ensured a happy Red Bull camp.

Lap times started to tumble as drivers strapped on the supersoft tyres, and Max Verstappen put in a 1:45.409 to go almost a tenth faster than Hamilton.

The teams settled in to longer runs on the supersoft tyres for the remainder of the session, and once again Max Verstappen looked handy, lapping quicker than both Mercedes cars, sometimes by more than a second. It provided little benefit, both Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso three seconds off the pace, weighed down with the burden otherwise known as the Honda power unit.

Hamilton, meanwhile, seemed to get stuck in traffic and with many cars out on track pushing hard it was hard for him to get any room to set a quick time.

Other reports by GizPress

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