F1: Hamilton fastest in opening Baku session

Lewis Hamilton outpaced his Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Nico Rosberg in first practice for the first European Grand Prix in Azerbaijan on the new Baku street circuit.

Hamilton was fastest in spite of Rosberg being quicker in the final sector and equal in the second, but the world champion had to sit out the last part of the session after brushing the wall and flat-spotting his tires.

Hamilton, who claimed to have done no Baku preparation on the simulator, led for most of the first half hour until Valtteri Bottas went half a second faster with a 1m47.707s. The Williams program then suffered a brief interruption as Bottas reported smoke in the cockpit and made for the pits.

Bottas had set his time with an opportune tow down the long main straight, on which the cars reach just over 200mph, but even so when he returned to action later on he bettered it with a 1m47.096s.

Esteban Gutierrez was the first F1 driver to overshoot at Turn 15 and explore the run-off area, discovering – as with several runners in the earlier GP2 session – that getting out again requires a precisely executed spin-turn or a fiddly multi-point shuffle.

Later in the session the Mercedes drivers were first to fit the super-soft Pirelli tires, and Rosberg edged out Bottas with a 1m46.812s. But Hamilton then outpaced him by 0.377s before tapping the outside wall at Turn 3 and flat-spotting his tires as he tried to avoid becoming snagged in the controversially tight run-off area there.

There was encouragement for McLaren as Fernando Alonso went fourth fastest, albeit 1.554s off Hamilton’s quickest lap, but Alonso, like Bottas, set his time on softs rather than super-softs.

Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez, Jenson Button and Felipe Massa might appear some way off but they, too, were running on softs.

Ninth-fastest Carlos Sainz Jr. made a late run on super-softs but he deranged his front wing at Turn 15 on his best lap.

Red Bull endured a troubled session as Max Verstappen sat out the majority, completing just three timed laps before pitting to have a suspected oil leak investigated.

Daniel Ricciardo brought out the red flags for an 11-minute stoppage after he collected the Tecpro barrier at the exit of Turn 15 and lost a rear wheel, along with his wing.


Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m46.435ss 1m46.435s 23
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m46.812ss 0.377s 32
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m47.096ss 0.661s 34
4 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m47.989ss 1.554s 21
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m48.627ss 2.192s 26
6 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m48.922ss 2.487s 17
7 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m49.019ss 2.584s 21
8 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m49.125ss 2.690s 22
9 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m49.267ss 2.832s 16
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m49.301ss 2.866s 27
11 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m49.611ss 3.176s 20
12 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m49.635ss 3.200s 16
13 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m49.778ss 3.343s 17
14 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m50.167ss 3.732s 25
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m50.473ss 4.038s 18
16 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m50.485ss 4.050s 7
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m50.551ss 4.116s 19
18 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m50.910ss 4.475s 25
19 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m50.939ss 4.504s 27
20 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m51.219ss 4.784s 24
21 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m51.771ss 5.336s 11
22 Rio Haryanto Manor/Mercedes 1m51.925ss 5.490s 28


Originally on Autosport.com

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