GP Arzeibagian, prove libere venerdì–23/06/2017
Max Verstappen goes quickest again in Baku F1 practice then crashes
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen completed a Friday clean sweep by topping an error-laden second practice for Formula 1’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which he himself capped off with a last-second crash.
Verstappen led most of the 90-minute session and wound up heading a tightly-knit top four at the chequered flag, with Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen all within 0.127 seconds.
But Verstappen went into the barriers at the first corner in the dying minutes of practice, attempting to make the run-off area but losing control of his RB13.
Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was not far off team-mate Raikkonen in fifth, while Lewis Hamilton, Vettel’s nearest rival in the title fight, could only muster 10th, his best lap recorded on softs early on.
The Baku street circuit had caught out a fair few drivers in the earlier Friday session, but yellow flags were almost a permanent feature in the afternoon, with almost all competitors either making ample use of the run-off areas or brushing the barriers.
The soft was again the tyre compound of choice early on in the session, and Verstappen, picking up where he left off in first practice, swiftly put in a new weekend benchmark of 1m44.288s.
His subsequent lap time gains put him in the 1m43s margin and he ended his first run with a best lap of 1m43.894s.
None of Verstappen’s rivals had even surpassed his morning time by that point, although Ricciardo soon improved to 0.220s away and reinstated the Red Bull one-two out front.
Bottas, who had languished down the order after the run on softs, was the first driver to bolt on a set of super-softs half an hour in, but it was Raikkonen who disrupted Verstappen’s dominance with his first proper effort on the compound.
Vettel went a tenth quicker than his team-mate shortly afterwards, only for Verstappen to retake the spot with a sole representative lap on super-softs, lowering the weekend’s benchmark to 1m43.362s.
The super-soft runs were interrupted at the halfway point when the narrow, twisty Turn 8 claimed its second F1 car of the day, as the Renault of Jolyon Palmer ground to a halt in the barriers with broken right-front suspension.
The session was restarted after 10 minutes of clean-up, but while many drivers carried on with super-soft runs, Verstappen’s lap would remain unmatched.
At the flag, the top five wound up well clear of the chasing pack, which was led by Williams rookie Lance Stroll – who outpaced his 11th-placed team-mate Felipe Massa by half a second.
Daniil Kvyat was the lead Toro Rosso in eighth, splitting the two Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, despite having triggered a brief virtual safety car in the first half of the session, as he put debris on track from barrier contact at the sharp right-handed Turn 15.
Fernando Alonso had made an early cameo at the sharp end of the timesheets, running second behind Verstappen, but was eventually shuffled out of the top 10.
His session then came to a premature end with half an hour left on the clock, as he pulled over with smoke bellowing out of his McLaren-Honda and radioed "engine, engine" – McLaren later clarified that it was a gearbox issue.
Haas driver Romain Grosjean endured a particularly troubled time.
He avoided crashing but went off on several occasions at Turn 3 and Turn 8 and was constantly voicing his frustration over a perceived brake problem on the team radio. He finished the session last, 4.4s off the pace.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m43.362s||–||36|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m43.473s||0.111s||34|
|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|
|13||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m45.733s||2.371s||34|
Azerbaijan GP: Verstappen leads Red Bull one-two in Baku practice
Max Verstappen headed a Red Bull one-two in opening free practice session for Formula 1’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Verstappen clocked a 1m44.410s using super-soft Pirellis and ended the session 0.470 seconds seconds clear of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel a tenth further back in third.
Most of the field headed out on the soft tyres early on, with Lewis Hamilton setting the pace on that rubber in the Mercedes.
Several drivers, including Romain Grosjean, Vettel and Jolyon Palmer, ran off track after locking up on what was a very green track, while Valtteri Bottas had a spin at the uphill Turn 12 on the way out of the tight castle section.
With 30 minutes to go, the focus switched to the super-softs with Verstappen leading the way.
The session was red-flagged with just under 20 minutes to go, when Sergio Perez crashed heavily at the narrow Turn 8.
The Force India driver took too much kerb on entry, pitching the car into the wall on the exit and causing significant damage to the front-right corner.
Perez had had a strong session up until then, setting a fourth quickest time that put him over three tenths clear of team-mate Esteban Ocon.
The marshals took just over 10 minutes to clear the car and debris, allowing the session to get restarted with just under six minutes to go.
Hamilton failed to get a clean lap on the super-softs, making mistakes on his first run and then getting baulked by traffic on his second.
He ended the session fifth, a second off the pace, while team-mate Bottas was 0.3s further back in sixth after also struggling to get a clean lap in.
Ocon was seventh, with Felipe Massa – who looked strong on the softs – eighth in the leading Williams.
Kimi Raikkonen was ninth, 1.590s off the pace, and Daniil Kvyat sneaked into the top 10 with his final timed lap of the session.
Kvyat and Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr ran different T-wing configurations early on before spending most of the session in the garage. The duo did most of their running in the final few minutes.
Lance Stroll ended the session 11th, ahead of the two Haas cars of Kevin Magnussen and Grosjean.
PRACTICE ONE TIMES:
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m44.410s||–||19|
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m44.880s||0.470s||22|
|4||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.398s||0.988s||16|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.752s||1.342s||24|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m46.617s||2.207s||11|
|16||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m47.501s||3.091s||13|