Verstappen leads 1st practice in Baku; Perez crashes

Verstappen leads 1st practice in Baku; Perez crashes

Verstappen leads 1st practice in Baku; Perez crashes

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen was quickest on Friday in practice for this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the eighth round in the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship, but the Dutchman ended the day in the barriers.

Azerbaijan's escape roads were arguably the most used pieces of tarmac throughout FP2 as, despite having already had an entire session on the track, the drivers still struggled to find the ideal braking points.

The Force India driver was unhurt and finished fourth fastest, but his vehicle was damaged badly.

Red Bull can not be discounted, though, with Daniel Ricciardo having taken third in each of the last three events.

Sebastian Vettel was the quickest of the two Ferraris in third while the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, who failed to set a time on the quickest tyres, were fifth and sixth respectively.

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"To be first with not an ideal lap - I went out of the garage with yellow flags and the virtual safety auto, so you can not warm up the tyres as you want to - so still to be up there is very positive".

"From the simulator up to here, the balance was working really well, so the preparation we did at the factory was very good", said Verstappen.

With 30 seconds remaining, Verstappen lost control of the rear of his auto and slid into the barriers. He slammed into the wall, taking out his right-side suspension.

"If there I was I couldn't tell you, but honestly there is nothing - only rumours", he added.

However, it was Jolyon Palmer who dished up the session's only proper crash as he binned it at Turn 8, the same place where Sergio Perez crashed in FP2.

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Vettel, twice, and Williams driver Felipe Massa had near misses on the same turn, while Ricciardo was instructed on team radio to take precautionary measures and go very wide heading into Turn 8 to give himself room.

It was more of the same for McLaren-Honda as Fernando Alonso's session ended 30 minutes early.

MP Motorsport's Jordan King came in second (1:54.308), while Russian Time pilot, Luca Ghiotto came in third (1:54.734). Much like Sergio Perez, Palmer carried too much speed into the corner but still attempted to make the apex, burying the right-front tire in the barrier.

And, as to be expected, braking was an issue for Romain Grosjean.

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.

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