Second practice at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix continued on Friday, with Sergio Perez fastest in FP2, and Lewis Hamilton only just ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Practice two of Formula One’s most important races of the season turned out to be a bit of a damp squib, with just five laps completed on the first day of two for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Driven by the uncompetitive Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, the entire field was back out on track for a second session following a brief lunch break.
Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Sergio Perez fastest in second practice as Mercedes struggle
Live text and audio commentary from final practice and qualifying on Sport. Lewis Hamilton set the eleventh fastest time in the second practice session of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as Mercedes struggled. Hamilton was a second behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, while he and teammate Valtteri Bottas struggled on the softer tyres. Mercedes were unable to set lap times on the soft tyres that will be used to determine Saturday’s grid. Hamiltons title rival Max Verstappen drove the second time, 0.101 seconds behind teammate Perez. Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc finished third and fourth, although Leclerc had a minor collision with the wall on one lap that would have put him ahead of his teammate and possibly the Red Bulls. Leclerc, who crashed in the Monaco qualifying final two weeks ago and ruined his weekend for good when the car was withdrawn due to a pre-race collision, misjudged Turn 15 and hit the guardrail. His front wing came off, but he was able to drive out of the crash barrier and back into the pit lane without further damage. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) set the fifth fastest time, ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Alpine, Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo and Lando Norris’ McLaren. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) finished ninth, ahead of runner-up Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri). But it was Mercedes’ lack of speed that was the biggest thrill of the session. Hamilton, who is four points behind Verstappen in the championship this weekend, complained that he did not know where the time had gone. Bottas had a terrible day, finishing 16th after several off-track stints. Both drivers also struggled in the first session, with Hamilton seventh and Bottas tenth. Hamilton said: Overall, I had a very good day. It was clear, I did all the tricks we needed. There weren’t many mistakes. I had a block in P1. We were just slow. I was doing well. There just wasn’t time. We are certainly way behind, and everyone will be scratching their heads on how to improve the situation. I was at my limit, but the car is limited. There are sections where I should be faster, but the grip on the track was just not there. But we’ll work on it. It’s not easy to be outside the top 10 when we had pace elsewhere. I don’t know why it came to this. Bottas said: It’s gonna be a long night. I think something is seriously wrong, and we need to find out what it is. Verstappen was generally happy with Red Bull’s day. We had a great start to the weekend, he said. The car felt very good in P1. I felt very comfortable. For P2, we made some changes to see if it would be better, and I think we toned down a bit. We’ll see where it goes tonight, but it was still a very good day. The long-range data at the end of the session not only showed that Hamilton could compete with the Red Bulls in race mode, but also confirmed suggestions that Mercedes’ lack of pace over a lap was due to tyre warm-up issues. Ferrari expected the Baku circuit to reveal its speed deficit on the straights, while Norris was not as fast as in the first session, when he led a lap that would have made him the fastest ever. Leclerc said: It’s certainly better than we expected, but it’s only Friday. The pace looks promising. We will continue to work and hope to do just as well tomorrow. I felt pretty comfortable in the car today, especially on braking – maybe a little too comfortable and I went a little too wide in turn 15. But at the end of the day, that’s what training is all about. I was trying to push the limit a little bit and make a good lap. My impression is that McLaren are very fast, but didn’t show it today. I get the impression they’re still a little ahead of us. I don’t know what happened to Mercedes, but I’m sure they’ll be up front. Sainz and Verstappen predicted at the last race in Monaco that McLaren would be fast in Baku. But while Norris seemed to be the fastest in the first session before flying out of the corner in the final corner, they were not as fast in the second. Norris said: We look good. We were more competitive in P1 than in P2. Due to the temperature or track condition, we had more problems in P2. We are there, or almost there, but not quite where we want to be. We, Alpha Tauri and Renault [Alpine], seem to be very close. Ferrari and Red Bull are pretty far ahead of us. Today we are going to cover Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Sergio Perez fastest in second practice as Mercedes struggle. The support race of the 2016 Formula 1 championship is being held in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan. The venue is the new street circuit known as the City Centre Circuit. The race drivers Mercedes have started to adjust the car in the limited number of runs in the first two days of the event. The latest times were set by Sergio Perez who was fastest in second practice. Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in the first session.. Read more about formula 1 2019 standings and let us know what you think.
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