Max Verstappen has remained on top of the practice timesheets as Friday’s track action drew to a close at the Azerbaijan Formula 1 Grand Prix, despite crashing out at the end of an incident-filled session.
Drivers struggled for grip in the late afternoon conditions around the six-kilometre street circuit, with Renault’s Jolyon Palmer also joining Verstappen by biffing the barriers.
Verstappen set the early pace on his Soft compound tyre runs before bolting on Super Softs to continue his FP1 session-topping form by posting a 1:43.362, just one-tenth of a second clear of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
With just under a minute left on the clock, Verstappen then lost control of his car through Turn 1 and slid into the barriers. The crash caused significant damage to his RB13 and forced the remaining runners to abandon their hopes of moving up the timing screens.
A number of runners were unable to post representative lap times thanks to various incidents around the track during the session, as evidenced by Bottas’ teammate Lewis Hamilton languishing in tenth place on the timesheets.
Palmer’s crash was by far the biggest incident of the session. With Sergio Pérez having hit the wall at Turn 8 in FP1, the Englishman did likewise at the tricky corner and brought out the red flags.
Verstappen’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who was second-fastest in the opening session, lapped just 0.011 seconds off Bottas’ pace to claim third-fastest ahead.
The Ferraris of championship leader Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen finished fourth and fifth-fastest respectively. Both complained about a lack of tyre temperature and demonstrated this with a number of off-track moments in the session, fortunately without hitting the wall.
A surprise sixth-fastest was Williams’ Lance Stroll, who finished comfortably clear of teammate Felipe Massa. The Canadian teenager benefited, however, from posting his fastest lap time just before the red flags were unfurled for Palmer’s accident.
His Force India repaired after his FP1 crash, Sergio Pérez claimed seventh ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat – the Russian clipped the wall at Turn 15.
Pérez’s teammate Esteban Ocon was ninth-fastest ahead of a low-key Hamilton, who survived a near-miss with Räikkönen when the Finn dived up the inside of the Briton at Turn 1.
McLaren Honda’s woes continued, with Fernando Alonso forced to bring his MCL32’s running to another early end when his car suffered an apparent power unit failure with around half an hour of the session to run. The team later clarified that he experienced a gearbox issue.
Nonetheless, both he and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne look set to start at the back of the grid thanks to grid penalties for taking on several power unit elements ahead of this weekend’s race.
The lower midfield was occupied by Carlos Sainz’s Toro Rosso, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and the Renaults of Nico Hülkenberg and Palmer.
Vandoorne was seventeenth-fastest and complained of severe front-brake locking, although the Belgian had a comfortable margin to the two Saubers of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson.
Slowest of all was an increasingly frustrated Romain Grosjean, who once again found his Haas-Ferrari wanting when it came to its stability under braking. The Frenchman’s running was limited to barely more than 20 laps while the team investigated the issue.
Saturday’s final practice session in Baku will begin at 14:00 local time (GMT +4).
|2017 FORMULA 1 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE 2 RESULTS|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Tyre||Laps|
|1.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:43.362||36|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:43.462||32|
|3.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:43.473||34|
|4.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:43.489||35|
|5.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:43.615||35|
|6.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:44.113||27|
|7.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:44.306||34|
|8.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:44.321||27|
|9.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:44.484||37|
|10.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:44.525||23|
|11.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:44.609||33|
|12.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:45.515||15|
|13.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:45.733||34|
|14.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:45.831||33|
|15.||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:46.003||29|
|16.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:46.061||17|
|17.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:46.174||28|
|18.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:47.150||25|
|19.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:47.347||25|
|20.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:47.722||22|
Image via Red Bull Racing