Verstappen fastest in 2nd practice in Baku _ then crashes

Dutch teenager Verstappen led the way on Friday morning from Ricciardo and then in the second session lowered his fastest time to 1 minute 43.362 seconds on the 6.003-kilometre street course in Baku.

Max Verstappen topped the times ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, as the main championship contenders struggled in Friday's incident-packed opening free practice session for this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Mexican driver escaped unhurt but the damage caused to his auto may prevent him from taking part in the second practice session of the day.

Hamilton was left in tenth position, 1.163s off Verstappen, after failing to set a fast lap on the super-soft tyres for the second session in a row.

"It was very weird to be honest", said Verstappen of the crash.

"Then I decided I'll try to play it safe and make the escape road but then suddenly I lost the rear and had a four wheel power slide into the barrier".

With 20 minutes left, the red flag halted the session after Perez mangled both wheels on the right side of his vehicle snaking through into a tight Turn 8.

We saw our first crash of the weekend during the first practice session when Perez clipped the kerb and couldn't get the vehicle back under control at the narrow Castle Chicane.

In the evening, Jolyon Palmer of Renault also crashed into the barriers after misjudging Turn Eight.

"To stay there will be really hard but at least we have better pace than normal".

"I think the whole day has been really positive, except the last lap", Verstappen said.

Lewis Hamilton finished only 10th in second practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as Fernando Alonso succumbed to further engine woes.

Hamilton recorded the best time in each of the three practice sessions in Baku a year ago, before a crash in qualifying ruined his chances of success.

However with the session all but over the youngster made a mistake at Turn 1 and went sideways into the barriers.

"We had a bit of a messy session, a lot of traffic, a lot of yellow flags and we didn't put him out at the right time". Most were able to take to the run off area next to a rather ironically placed opticians and avoid damage, but at one stage Felipe Massa followed Vettel into the narrow patch of tarmac, creating a queue of reversing F1 cars trying to rejoin the track.

  • Julie Sanders