Max Verstappen quickest in second practice despite crash
Azerbaijan Grand Prix - FP2

Max Verstappen quickest in second practice despite crash

Max Verstappen remained at the top of the timesheets for the second practice session in a row at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as the Baku street circuit proved a tricky track to master in the low evening sun.

The second session was much closer than the first, with the top four cars split by just 0.127s. But the notable absence of championship leaders Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton from those positions underlined just how difficult it was to hook up a perfect lap.

Once again, Red Bull did not appear to lose out on the long straight in sector three where the team had feared the power deficit of its Renault engine would be a burden. Verstappen held a 0.100s lead over the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in second, who in turn had a slender margin of 0.011s over the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo in third.

However, Verstappen's near perfect day was soured in the final 30 seconds of the session as he lost the rear of his Red Bull at the apex of Turn 1 and slammed into the barrier. The collision bent the rear axle on his car, no doubt destroying his practice gearbox in the process. Fortunately the team will be able to fit his race gearbox overnight without incurring a penalty.

Kimi Raikkonen was the fastest of the two Ferraris, 0.127s off Verstappen and 0.126s ahead of teammate Vettel, who struggled to get the most from his super-soft tyres around the six kilometre track.

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. The lack of grip between the softest compound available this weekend and the smooth Baku surface was clear to see, but Hamilton will be left thumbing through the book of racing driver excuses after being outpaced by Lance Stroll, Sergio Perez, Daniil Kvyat and Esteban Ocon.

Further proof of the circuit's lack of grip came midway through the session when Jolyon Palmer hit the barriers at Turn 9. The incident was very similar to Sergio Perez's mistake in first practice and once again resulted in a red flag and a suspended session as the marshals cleared his car from the narrowest section of track on the F1 calendar.

Turns 8, 9 and 10 skirt the walls of Baku's old city and the braking point for the initial left hander caught a number of drivers out. 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.

Massa ended up 11th at the end of the session ahead of Fernando Alonso, who may have taken some pleasure from finishing 12th had it not been for a gearbox failure with 30 minutes remaining. As he came down the hill from the entrance to the old city, a puff of smoke came from the right bank of his McLaren and the familiar sound of a mechanical failure resonated in the cockpit, though it was later confirmed to be gearbox-related by McLaren.

Carlos Sainz was 13th ahead of Kevin Magnussen's Haas in 14th, the two Renaults in 15th and 16th and Stoffel Vandoorne's McLaren in 17th. The two Saubers moved off the very bottom of the timesheets as Romain Grosjean struggled to 20th in the second Haas.

Betting on Formula 1? Bet365 are offering a 100% deposit bonus, up to £200 - find out more

Related news

Lewis Hamilton romps to Silverstone win, Sebastian Vettel seventh

Lewis Hamilton romps to Silverstone win, Sebastian Vettel seventh

Lewis Hamilton turned in a dominant performance to win a record-equalling fifth British Grand Prix on Sunday and cut Sebastian Vettel's championship lead to one point.

Controversy as Lewis Hamilton keeps pole after blocking row

Controversy as Lewis Hamilton keeps pole after blocking row

Lewis Hamilton has kept his pole position for the British Grand Prix after being cleared of blocking Sebastien Grosjean by an FIA stewards' investigation.

Lewis Hamilton fastest in rain-hit final free practice

Lewis Hamilton fastest in rain-hit final free practice

Lewis Hamilton boosted his prospects of pole position at the British Grand Prix when he was fastest in final free practice at Silverstone on Saturday morning.

Bottas edges Hamilton in second practice at British Grand Prix

Bottas edges Hamilton in second practice at British Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas stayed on top in second practice for Formula 1's British Grand Prix, beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by only 0.047 seconds.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes one-two in British GP practice

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes one-two in British GP practice

Formula One champions Mercedes made a statement of intent in British Grand Prix practice on Friday with Valtteri Bottas leading home favourite Lewis Hamilton at the top of the timesheets as Ferrari were left far behind.

Bottas holds off Vettel to win in Austria

Bottas holds off Vettel to win in Austria

Valtteri Bottas held off a late charge from Sebastian Vettel to win the Austrian Grand Prix by just 0.6s, while Daniel Ricciardo pipped Lewis Hamilton to the final spot on the podium in third.

Valtteri Bottas beats Sebastian Vettel to Austria pole

Valtteri Bottas beats Sebastian Vettel to Austria pole

Valtteri Bottas edged Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to pole position by just 0.042s in Austria, while Lewis Hamilton will start from eighth on the grid when his gearbox change grid penalty is applied after qualifying third.

Vettel tops final practice as Hamilton suffers brake issue

Vettel tops final practice as Hamilton suffers brake issue

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in final practice for the Austrian Grand Prix as title rival Lewis Hamilton encountered more problems with his Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton fastest despite encountering issues

Lewis Hamilton fastest despite encountering issues

Lewis Hamilton topped both Friday practice sessions at the Austrian Grand Prix, setting a new lap record in the morning before improving again by nearly 0.5s in the afternoon.

RELATED NEWS

Lewis Hamilton romps to Silverstone win, Sebastian Vettel seventh
British Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton romps to Silverstone win, Sebastian Vettel seventh

Lewis Hamilton turned in a dominant performance to win a record-equalling fifth British Grand Prix on Sunday and cut Sebastian Vettel's championship lead to one point.

Controversy as Lewis Hamilton keeps pole after blocking row
British Grand Prix - Qualifying

Controversy as Lewis Hamilton keeps pole after blocking row

Lewis Hamilton has kept his pole position for the British Grand Prix after being cleared of blocking Sebastien Grosjean by an FIA stewards' investigation.

Lewis Hamilton fastest in rain-hit final free practice
British Grand Prix - FP3

Lewis Hamilton fastest in rain-hit final free practice

Lewis Hamilton boosted his prospects of pole position at the British Grand Prix when he was fastest in final free practice at Silverstone on Saturday morning.

Bottas edges Hamilton in second practice at British Grand Prix
British Grand Prix - FP2

Bottas edges Hamilton in second practice at British Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas stayed on top in second practice for Formula 1's British Grand Prix, beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by only 0.047 seconds.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes one-two in British GP practice
British Grand Prix - FP1

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes one-two in British GP practice

Formula One champions Mercedes made a statement of intent in British Grand Prix practice on Friday with Valtteri Bottas leading home favourite Lewis Hamilton at the top of the timesheets as Ferrari were left far behind.

Bottas holds off Vettel to win in Austria
Austrian Grand Prix

Bottas holds off Vettel to win in Austria

Valtteri Bottas held off a late charge from Sebastian Vettel to win the Austrian Grand Prix by just 0.6s, while Daniel Ricciardo pipped Lewis Hamilton to the final spot on the podium in third.

Valtteri Bottas beats Sebastian Vettel to Austria pole
Austrian Grand Prix - Qulifying

Valtteri Bottas beats Sebastian Vettel to Austria pole

Valtteri Bottas edged Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to pole position by just 0.042s in Austria, while Lewis Hamilton will start from eighth on the grid when his gearbox change grid penalty is applied after qualifying third.

Vettel tops final practice as Hamilton suffers brake issue
Austrian Grand Prix - FP3

Vettel tops final practice as Hamilton suffers brake issue

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in final practice for the Austrian Grand Prix as title rival Lewis Hamilton encountered more problems with his Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton fastest despite encountering issues
Austrian Grand Prix - FP2

Lewis Hamilton fastest despite encountering issues

Lewis Hamilton topped both Friday practice sessions at the Austrian Grand Prix, setting a new lap record in the morning before improving again by nearly 0.5s in the afternoon.