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

Max Verstappen goes quickest again in Baku F1 practice then crashes

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.

PRACTICE TWO TIMES:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m43.362s - 36
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m43.462s 0.100s 32
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m43.473s 0.111s 34
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m43.489s 0.127s 35
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m43.615s 0.253s 35
6 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m44.113s 0.751s 27
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
10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m44.525s 1.163s 23
11 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m44.609s 1.247s 33
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m45.515s 2.153s 15
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1m45.733s 2.371s 34
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m45.831s 2.469s 33
15 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m46.003s 2.641s 29
16 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m46.061s 2.699s 17
17 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda 1m46.174s 2.812s 28
18 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari 1m47.150s 3.788s 25
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m47.347s 3.985s 25
20 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m47.722s 4.360s 22


shares
comments
Honda woe hurting McLaren F1 team's morale, says shareholder Ojjeh

Previous article

Honda woe hurting McLaren F1 team's morale, says shareholder Ojjeh

Next article

Verstappen: Baku Friday best of F1 season despite 'weird' crash

Verstappen: Baku Friday best of F1 season despite 'weird' crash
Load comments
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021