Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo went quickest in the second practice session for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, edging Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen by 0.069s.
Last year’s winner at the Baku City Circuit, Ricciardo was straight into the groove in the late afternoon session claiming top spot 10 minutes into the 90-minute practice period.
Ricciardo worked his way up to a best early supersoft of time of 1:43.512s and before the field began to move to ultrasoft-shod qualifying runs as the session approached the half-way mark.
The Australian again established himself as the pacesetter on the purple-banded Pirelli tyres, setting a best time of 1:42.795s. The laps put him well ahead of the chasing pack until Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen put in a good run to close to within seven hundredths of a second of the Red Bull driver. The Finn’s team-mate and championship leader Sebastian Vettel had a tricky session, finishing 11th and 1.332s off the pace.
Max Verstappen, whose early preparations for the race were set back by crash in the first session, recovered well in the second session, working his way down to a best time of 1:42.911, just over a tenth behind his Red Bull team-mate. The Dutchman’s session wasn’t without nervous moments, however. On his first run he was forced to use the escape road at Turn 3 and later on survived a brush with the wall.
FP1’s fastest man, Valtteri Bottas, slipped to fourth place in the second session, finishing just under eight tenths of a second behind Ricciardo. The Finn was followed by Lewis Hamilton, who finished 0.083 behind his Mercedes team-mate.
Sixth place in the session went to McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, with the Spaniard moving a place ahead of his FP1 finishing position. team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne had a less successful outing, complaining of traffic on his qualifying simulation. The Belgian thus finished in 19th place just ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson who suffered a gearbox problem early in the session
Esteban Ocon continued Force India’s solid start to the weekend by claiming seventh place with a best lap of 1:43.814 that left him 1.019 adrift of Ricciardo’s pace but three tenths clear of 12th-placed team-mate Sergio Pérez.
Renault's Carlos Sainz was eighth ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, while Nico Hulkenberg was 10th fastest in the second Renault following a plank change early on.
2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 35 1:42.795
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 33 1:42.864 0.069
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 27 1:42.911 0.116
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 25 1:43.570 0.775
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 31 1:43.603 0.808
6 Fernando Alonso McLaren 34 1:43.700 0.905
7 Esteban Ocon Force India 30 1:43.814 1.019
8 Carlos Sainz. Renault 36 1:43.834 1.039
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas 29 1:43.977 1.182
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 33 1:44.091 1.296
11 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 38 1:44.127 1.332
12 Sergio Perez Force India 31 1:44.142 1.347
13 Romain Grosjean Haas 27 1:44.425 1.630
14 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 31 1:44.459 1.664
15 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda 39 1:44.712 1.917
16 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 30 1:44.940 2.145
17 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 33 1:45.007 2.212
18 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda 36 1:45.051 2.256
19 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 29 1:45.288 2.493
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 9 1:46.042 3.247
Azerbaijan Grand Prix FP 1
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas took top spot in the first practice session for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but there were problems for Red Bull Racing as Max Verstappen crashed.
The Dutch driver led the way in the opening half an hour of the session, setting the pace with a time in the mid-1m45s bracket. That left him marginally clear of Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, as the Renault-powered team began the weekend brightly.
The outlook darkened soon afterwards, however, as Verstappen lost control on the approach to Turn 5 and slid into the barriers, causing damage to the back of his RB14. The VSC was called into action for some 10 minutes, as Verstappen’s car was removed from the track.
When meaningful running resumed, Mercedes moved its drivers to the ultrasoft compound Pirelli tyres and Lewis Hamilton took over in P1. His stay at the top of the order didn’t last long, however, as Ricciardo, sticking with the supersoft compound he had run earlier in the session sneaked ahead of the defending champion.
Bottas was waiting in the wings, however, and his run on ultrasofts yielded a time of 1:44.242 that vaulted him to the top of the timesheet.
The lap was good enough to keep the Finn at the top of the order until the end of the session, though Ricciardo, still using supersofts, made a marginal improvement late on to post a best time of 1:44.277, 0.035 behind the Mercedes man.
Behind Ricciardo, Force India’s Sergio Perez, who finished on the podium in the first race held at the NBaku City Circuit in 2016, took third place with a time of 1:45.075. Hamilton’s best time of 1:45.200 left him in fourth place and a good morning for Force India was completed by Esteban Ocon rounding out the top five 0.995 behind Bottas.
The Frenchman was the last man within a second of Bottas, with Verstappen 1.3s off the pace in sixth place. Fernando Alonso was seventh for McLaren ahead of Williams’ Sergey Sirotking and the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly.
The top 10 order was completed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, whose time of 1:46.513 left him 2.271 adrift of Bottas. Neither Vettel nor team-mate Kimi Räikkönen set a representative time during the session, however, with Räikkönen ending the session in P15.
2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 26 1:44.242
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 24 1:44.277 0.035
3 Sergio Perez Force India 26 1:45.075 0.833
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 24 1:45.200 0.958
5 Esteban Ocon Force India 29 1:45.237 0.995
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 11 1:45.559 1.317
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren 25 1:46.465 2.223
8 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 28 1:46.480 2.238
9 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 18 1:46.492 2.250
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 18 1:46.513 2.271
11 Lance Stroll Williams 26 1:46.590 2.348
12 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 32 1:46.747 2.505
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 11 1:46.749 2.507
14 Romain Grosjean Haas 23 1:46.856 2.614
15 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 10 1:46.861 2.619
16 Charles Leclerc Sauber 21 1:46.875 2.633
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 21 1:47.073 2.831
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas 18 1:47.434 3.192
19 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 21 1:47.967 3.725
20 Carlos Sainz Renault 11 1:48.741 4.499