GP d’Europa, prove libere venerdì–17/06/2016
Hamilton on top in Baku F1 practice, trouble for Rosberg, Ferrari
Lewis Hamilton set an impressive practice pace at the first European Grand Prix in Azerbaijan as he finished comfortably quicker than Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Nico Rosberg around Baku.
Reigning world champion Hamilton , who was also quickest in first practice, clocked a 1m44.223s, 0.690 seconds quicker than Rosberg on the super-softs tyres.
Hamilton set the fastest first sector, but lost time in the second and had a personal best in third to indicate that there was plenty more to come from the Briton on low fuel.
Rosberg stopped out on track with 20 minutes to go, reporting a problem with drive. That led to race control deploying the virtual safety car while marshals extracted the car.
Ferrari also had some worries.
It struggled for pace with Sebastian Vettel eighth, 1.996s adrift of Hamilton, and Kimi Raikkonen 12th, then encountered an MGU-K issue on both cars.
Raikkonen locked up into Turn 4 escape road with a few minutes remaining and then parked the car in the escape road when the problem hit.
Vettel was then ordered to slow down and return to the pits shortly afterwards, with Ferrari telling him he had the same problem as his team-mate.
The top five cars were powered by Mercedes, with Force India the surprise challenger as Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg ended up third and fifth respectively.
Valtteri Bottas was the quickest Williams, splitting the Force Indias in fourth, with Carlos Sainz Jr the fastest non-Mercedes runner in sixth in his 2015 Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso.
Red Bull was kept busy in between practice sessions after Daniel Ricciardo crashed at Turn 15 in the morning and an oil leak cut short Max Verstappen’s session.
Both were back out for the start of the session with Verstappen ending up seventh, 1.845s off the pace, and Ricciardo 10th.
Jenson Button was the leading McLaren in ninth with Fernando Alonso 11th, having spent a chunk of time mid-session in the garage while the team worked on the car.
Romain Grosjean was 12th for Haas while it was a disappointing session for Felipe Massa who ended up 16th, 1.3s slower than team-mate Bottas.
Marcus Ericsson was delayed in getting out on track as Sauber changed his engine following an exhaust problem in practice one, but he eventually joined the fray and ended up 19th.
Earlier in the day GP2 qualifying was postponed due to kerb problems but FIA race director Charlie Whiting carried out an inspection and said the problem had been resolved with some welding prior to F1 action resuming..
Replays showed there was still some loose kerbing and race control subsequently issued a message instructing drivers to stay clear of the kerb at Turn 6.
A number of drivers struggled to get the car slowed down at Turn 3, forcing them to take to the very narrow runoff, while Esteban Gutierrez brushed the wall at Turn 8 and Sainz had a high-speed spin into the first corner.
PRACTICE TWO TIMES
|3||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.336s||1.113s||37|
|5||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.920s||1.697s||37|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m46.027s||1.804s||35|
|7||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m46.068s||1.845s||35|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m46.293s||2.070s||32|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m46.744s||2.521s||35|
Lewis Hamilton fastest in first Baku Formula 1 practice session
Lewis Hamilton outpaced his Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Nico Rosberg in first practice for the first European Grand Prix in Azerbaijan on the new Baku street circuit.
Hamilton was fastest in spite of Rosberg being quicker in the final sector and equal in the second, but the world champion had to sit out the last part of the session after brushing the wall and flat-spotting his tyres.
Hamilton, who claimed to have done no Baku preparation on the simulator, led for most of the first half hour until Valtteri Bottas went half a second faster with a 1m47.707s.
The Williams programme then suffered a brief interruption as Bottas reported smoke in the cockpit and made for the pits.
Bottas had set his time with an opportune tow down the long main straight, on which the cars reach just over 200mph, but even so when he returned to action later on he bettered it with a 1m47.096s.
Esteban Gutierrez was the first F1 driver to overshoot at Turn 15 and explore the run-off area, discovering – as with several runners in the earlier GP2 session – that getting out again requires a precisely executed spin-turn or a fiddly multi-point shuffle.
Later in the session the Mercedes drivers were first to fit the super-soft Pirelli tyres, and Rosberg edged out Bottas with a 1m46.812s.
But Hamilton then outpaced him by 0.377s before tapping the outside wall at Turn 3 and flat-spotting his tyres as he tried to avoid becoming snagged in the controversially tight run-off area there.
There was encouragement for McLaren as Fernando Alonso went fourth fastest, albeit 1.554s off Hamilton’s quickest lap – but Alonso, like Bottas, set his time on softs rather than super-softs.
Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez, Jenson Button and Felipe Massa might appear some way off but they, too, were running on softs.
Ninth-fastest Carlos Sainz Jr made a late run on super-softs but he deranged his front wing at Turn 15 on his best lap.
Red Bull endured a troubled session as Max Verstappen sat out the majority, completing just three timed laps before pitting to have a suspected oil leak investigated.
Daniel Ricciardo brought out the red flags for an 11-minute stoppage after he collected the Tecpro barrier at the exit of Turn 15 and lost a rear wheel, along with his wing.
PRACTICE ONE TIMES
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.922s||2.487s||17|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m49.267s||2.832s||16|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m49.301s||2.866s||27|
|13||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m49.778s||3.343s||17|
|16||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m50.485s||4.050s||7|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m50.551s||4.116s||19|