Daniel Ricciardo continued his Formula 1 success as the Red Bull driver set the fastest time in Friday’s (April 27) practice at in Azerbaijan, clocking a lap of 1:42:795 in preparation for Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix on the streets of Baku.
Although Ricciardo’s time was 0.069 seconds clear from Raikkonen’s, it remains to be certain whether both Red Bulls can keep a good pace in Saturday qualifying as both Ferrari and Mercedes entries are expected to turn to more powerful engine mappings.
Verstappen was the only driver that had multiple issues during the two sessions, as the Dutchman brushed the wall in Turn 7 in the afternoon, in addition to suffering an engine issue toward the finish of the session. His third-place result was an improvement in comparison to the morning round, where in Turn 5 he slid the rear of his car when braking and ended sideways into the barriers. The front wing of the car snapped in the process, and the engine was never able to restart. Verstappen missed the entire second half of the opening session.
Mercedes’ hopes were good in the opening session as well, with Valtteri Bottas taking the best time of 1:44:242. But the Finn could do no better than fourth in the afternoon event. His teammate, Lewis Hamilton, had a horrible day, not even placing near the front, taking fourth in the morning event and finishing one place down in fifth in the afternoon.
Sebastian Vettel was also a name that was missing from the top, as the series leader could do no better than 10th and 11th in the two sessions, respectively.
Fernando Alonso was sixth best of the day. It was an improvement over his teammate, Stoffel Vandoorne, who finished his McLaren no better than 19th. Esteban Ocon finished in seventh, while the two Renaults of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Nico Hulkenberg took eighth and 10th, respectively.