dglobalnews.com Max Verstappen fastest in both Azerbaijan practice sessions
Published: Sat, June 24, 2017
Sports | By Jeannette Edwards

Max Verstappen fastest in both Azerbaijan practice sessions

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel on the Soft compound tyre finished third on 1:44.967, with Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in fifth and sixth respectively behind Perez in fourth.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was in impressive form as he set the pace in second practice at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. He finished the second session in 10th.

"We can still be in the fight for pole", Hamilton said.

Sebastian Vettel: "We tried something in the afternoon, but I think it is hard to find the rhythm here as the track is not easy". 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.

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.

Renault's Jolyon Palmer crashed at Turn Eight causing a stoppage for 15 minutes while the auto was cleared.

Hamilton, a victor last time out in Canada, failed to set a time on the super-soft tyre, the quickest of the three Pirelli compounds available here, after falling foul to Sergio Perez's crash and then traffic.

Four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon has some advice for two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso if the McLaren F1 driver considers a jump to IndyCar in the future.Be prepared to.

Verstappen, meanwhile, was down to a 1:44.288 and then a 1:43.988 and a 1:43.894.

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

McLaren is the only team yet to score a point, and continues to be blighted by its unreliable Honda engine, prompting growing speculation that management is out of patience and considering a deal with Mercedes as its engine supplier.

But it remained very close with Verstappen, Bottas, Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel were separated by just 0.253 seconds.

It promises to be a tricky one.

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.

Azerbaijan is the newest race on the F1 calendar, snaking through the tight streets of Baku, while providing some of the longest, fastest straights of the year.

Drivers were being severely tested in other sections, too.

Amazingly, Sergio Perez soon joined them around 10 minutes into the session after a stellar rebuild effort from his mechanics.

While nearly every driver could recall a moment they had to take to the run-off area, Romain Grosjean was the main culprit as he complained of brake problems that saw the Haas driver take to the escape road time and again.

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