Verstappen fastest in 2nd practice in Baku _ then crashes

Solenn Plantier
Juin 26, 2017

Max Verstappen, a pilot of Red Bull, was in the lead during the second free practice for the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku.

He escaped unscathed after colliding with the external wall at a narrow section at Turn Eight, and although his vehicle lost its rear right wheel, Force India mechanics succeeded in repairing it for Perez to finish seventh in P2. He beat Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas to the fastest time by 0.1s but said the gap could have been bigger with a clean lap.

The result marked Verstappen's fourth DNF in the last six races, having also retired in Canada, Spain and Bahrain.

Red Bull's high hopes for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix came crashing down in qualifying on Saturday.

Perez went off in his Force India near the end of FP1 bringing out the red flags, while Palmer crashed his Renault at the same spot mid-way through FP2.

He escaped unscathed after crashing against the external wall at a narrow section at Turn Eight, although his auto lost its rear right wheel and Force India mechanics may struggle to get him back on the track before the second practice session on Friday afternoon.

Sebastian Vettel, the current leader in the championship, placed fifth, just behind his team-mate at Ferrari Kimi Raikkonen.

And he had a late crash, swerving into the barriers at Turn One with a minute to go and damaging both right-hand wheels and suspension and the front and rear wings.

Hamilton was fast on the soft compound tyres, but never got decent runs on the supersoft and finished the evening session 10th with the time he set on the former.

Hamilton had a particularly hard day, failing to get in a quick time on the super-soft tyre, just as he did in the first session, and ending up 1.163secs off the pace.

Bottas, who set that top speed of 370 kph (230 mph) in last year's inaugural race, struggled on Turn 10 and barely managed to avoid any contact with the barriers.

But he said running the engine on reduced power due to a rev-limiter problem, a lock-up and a subsequent problem with gear-synchronisation all led to him qualifying further back than the vehicle was actually capable of. We've clearly still got lots of work to do ahead of qualifying, but Valtteri's time in FP2 looked promising, so there is obviously pace in the vehicle, which is encouraging.

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