Max Verstappen and teammate Daniel Ricciardo have claimed an unexpected 1-2 result in the opening practice session for the Azerbaijan Formula 1 Grand Prix, although their positions atop the timesheets were flattered thanks to a crash by Force India’s Sergio Pérez.
Pérez brought out the red flags and an lengthy suspension to the session when he took too much kerb through the twisty Turns 8-10 complex, pitching his Mercedes-powered VJM10 into the outside wall. The Mexican’s car was extensively damaged and with marshals struggling to remove his battered car behind the barriers, the session resumed with just six minutes on the clock.
By that point, Verstappen and Ricciardo were 1-2 on the timesheets, a rather surprise result given the RB13 was not expected to be a contender around the high-speed 6-kilometre layout.
Verstappen moved to the top of the timing screens around an hour into the session after bolting on the Super Soft Pirelli tyres, steadily improving to a 1:44.410 time. Ricciardo lapped half a second slower to claim second-fastest.
Despite a number of off-track excursions, championship leader Sebastian Vettel finished third-fastest – ahead of Pérez – while the German’s closest rival Lewis Hamilton was fifth-quickest in his Mercedes ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas. Both Mercedes drivers’ Super Soft runs were compromised by traffic.
Esteban Ocon finished the session seventh-fastest in the second Force India, while the session’s early pacesetter Felipe Massa fell down to eighth place as other drivers improved on the Williams veteran’s early time.
It was a low-key start for Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen, who finished the session ninth-fastest and narrowly avoided hitting the Turn 15 wall. Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top-ten in his Toro Rosso Ferrari.
A fortnight after his maiden points’ finish on home soil and with a private test session at the Circuit of the Americas under his belt, Lance Stroll finished a solid eleventh-fastest and just over half a second adrift of his teammate Massa.
He was followed by the Haas F1 Team duo of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean – the latter yet again moaning about his brakes – while Nico Hülkenberg claimed fourteenth in his Renault, which sported a number of aerodynamic upgrades.
Hülkenberg’s teammate Jolyon Palmer, who is under increasing pressure to save his seat, had an untidy session with two slip-ups under braking at Turn 1. The Briton finished near the bottom of the timesheets, ahead of only the Saubers of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson.
Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso sandwiched Carlos Sainz Jr’s Toro Rosso. All three are set to serve grid penalties this weekend: Sainz for his Canadian Grand Prix collision with Felipe Massa, while the McLaren drivers have yet again had to take on new Honda power unit elements.
Friday’s second practice session in Baku will begin at 17:00 local time (GMT +4).
|2017 FORMULA 1 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE 1 RESULTS|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Tyre||Laps|
|1.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:44.410||19|
|2.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:44.880||22|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:44.967||20|
|4.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:45.398||16|
|5.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:45.497||16|
|6.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:45.737||19|
|7.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:45.752||24|
|8.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:45.968||25|
|9.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:46.000||18|
|10.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:46.617||11|
|11.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:46.649||28|
|12.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:46.721||23|
|13.||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:46.837||22|
|14.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:47.217||21|
|15.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:47.446||22|
|16.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:47.501||13|
|17.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:47.551||20|
|18.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:48.525||15|
|19.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:49.048||19|
|20.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:49.937||21|
Image via Red Bull Racing