Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Red Bull and Max Verstappen continue their charge in second practice
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News June 23, 2017 Updated: 5:41 PM
BAKU, Azerbaijan -- Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished on top again in the second free practice session of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. As the session was drawing to a close, Verstappen lost the rear of his Red Bull at Turn 1, slamming into the barrier and causing massive damage to his car.
“The whole day has been really positive, except the last lap, everything has been working well. From lap one I felt comfortable in the car, it was handling really well and I was confident with the setup. I think the preparation we did at the factory and in the simulator has allowed us to come here with a strong setup and competitive car from the go,” said Verstappen.
Verstappen finished with a time of 1:43.362 and was 0.100s ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in second, followed by Verstappen’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo in third though many felt that Red Bull would be at a disadvantage given the long straights of the of the circuit.
The Ferrari’s of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel finished further down in fourth and fifth as they found it difficult to get in a good lap.
“In Canada we didn’t have an ideal race. But I think we had a good recovery from there. Now, we’ll see what happens during this weekend,” Vettel said.
Williams’ Lance Stroll, who continues to look silky smooth on the streets of Baku, finished sixth while Force India’s Sergio Perez ended the second session in seventh.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat finished in eighth sandwiched between both Force India’s with Esteban Ocon, in ninth.
“The important days for this weekend are yet to come. It was my first time around this circuit, so the priority was to keep out of trouble: this is not an easy track to learn but I enjoy the challenge,” said Ocon.
The city streets of Baku provided very little grip for many. Such was the case for Lewis Hamilton, who finished tenth after struggling with grip on the Super-soft tires (Red stripe). Hamilton and the Mercedes team will have to put their heads together to get their “Diva” of a car to behave this weekend.
“It was a difficult day out there. This circuit is a tough one and we had a few challenges that we tried to work through today. We’ve clearly still got lots of work to do ahead of qualifying,” said Hamilton.
Stroll’s Williams teammate Felipe Massa finished 11th ahead of McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso in 12th who encountered a gearbox issue towards the end of the session.
Toro Ross’s Carlos Sainz ended the session in 13th ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen in 14th. Another victim of the beautiful streets of Baku was Renault’s Jolyon Palmer who finished 15th but lost his car hitting the barriers at Turn 9. Palmer’s teammate Nico Hulkenberg finished 16th with Stoffel Vandoorne in 17th in the second McLaren.
Sauber drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson finished off the bottom of the timesheets in 18th and 19th along with Magnussen’s teammate Romain Grosjean in 20th