Verstappen leads FP2 of Azerbaijan F1

Jolyon Palmer crashed out of Free Practice 2 for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix Credit Renault Sport Formula 1 Team

Daniel Ricciardo finished the morning session second on the timesheets, nearly half a second down on his team-mate, while championship leader Sebastian Vettel was third in his Ferrari.

After topping both Friday practice sessions for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Max Verstappen says he could have gone even quicker in the evening session. Then suddenly I lost the rear and I had like a four-wheel power slide into the barrier.

"It was very weird, to be honest", said Verstappen of the crash.

Bottas was one-tenth off the pace, Vettel trailed by a quarter of a second and Hamilton by more than a second. "I locked up and was still trying to make the corner but I tried to play it safe and take the exit road".

Elsewhere, Daniel Ricciardo was third in the sister Red Bull, with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen fourth.

The third and final free practice session takes place at 11am (UK time) on Saturday ahead of qualifying at 2pm. He finished the second session in 10th.

In P2 there was the need for a red flag when Jolyon Palmer's Renault hit the barrier at Turn 8 - the same one Perez struck - and there was another stoppage as the debris was cleared.

Ricciardo had just joined him with 1m 44.880s when Perez got it wrong going into Turn 8. In an all-too-familiar sight, Alonso slowed with smoke emerging from the rear of his McLaren, with the Spaniard radioing in with the simple message of "engine".

McLaren is the only team yet to score a point, and continues to be blighted by its unreliable Honda engine, prompting growing speculation that management is out of patience and considering a deal with Mercedes as its engine supplier. Fresh from his first points in Canada, Stroll was three quarters of a second adrift of Verstappen but 0.2s clear of Sergio Perez, Daniil Kvyat and Esteban Ocon.

That came just before Perez brought out the red flags with just under 20 minutes of the session remaining, wrecking the right hand side of his Force India at the ultra-tight castle section after having several bites of turning into the auto, and most likely jeopardizing his running in a few hours' time.

When it got underway, track temperatures were at a blistering 54 degrees C (129 degrees F).

Ten teams, two drivers in each, will compete on the 6-kilometer Baku City Circuit. That dropped to a less demanding 44 degrees C (111 degrees F) when the second session started at 5 p.m. local time, the same time as Sunday's race. With its combination of long straights and hard-braking corners, it is a mixture of Monza and Monaco and poses big problems for grip.

With 40 minutes remaining in the session the supersoft tyres came out.

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