Verstappen on top as Red Bull dominate opening practice

On a day of heat and many incidents, including a red-flagged halt to the action in both sessions, Verstappen's Red Bull Australian team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest in second practice ahead of Finn Kimi Raikkonen and his Ferrari team-mate championship leading five-time champion German Sebastian Vettel.

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.

Force India's Sergio Perez jumped up to third, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen fourth ahead of Raikkonen.

Lewis Hamilton moved to second on the all-time list for Formula One pole positions when he used a brilliant late surge to beat Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. I still want more.

Vettel earned himself a 10-second stop-go penalty after driving up alongside Hamilton and swiping the No.44 auto in protest at what he had deemed to be a "brake-check" from his title rival. Looking towards the race, it's clear that wear and degradation is very low, even on the supersoft, and so we would expect only one pit stop tomorrow, with drivers maximising their use of the faster supersoft.

"Practice was good today", said Ricciardo.

"There is no doubt in my mind or anyone in the team's mind that they're not part of the team next year", Horner told told Sky Sports F1.

"Suddenly I lost the rear and then I just had a four-wheel power slide into the barrier". I think in Q3 it got quite a bit better because of the last run. Most of us run pretty low downforce, so the street circuit is slippery, we have low grip on the auto, and the corners are tight.

Hamilton, who finished 10th quickest in second practice but felt he would have been in the top three if he hadn't got "some traffic" and then run wide at Turn 15, echoed his team-mate's feelings about the threat posed by Red Bull. Meanwhile, Verstappen went quicker still with a 1:44.410, putting him over a second ahead of Hamilton. "Now it's just a case of getting our heads together tonight to work out exactly how to extract that pace across the entire weekend".

In a stop-start race, the safety vehicle came out three times in quick succession before a red flag stopped the race near the midway point because debris littered the track.

The 6-kilometer-long Baku circuit, which runs alongside the city's medieval walls and on the shores of the Caspian Sea, makes it possible to reach the fastest speed in F1 and is also one of the most hard.

  • Julie Sanders