Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
Sports | By Grace Becker

Verstappen on top as Red Bull dominate opening practice

Verstappen on top as Red Bull dominate opening practice

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen secured the fastest time before crashing at the end of a chaotic second practice Friday at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. We've clearly still got lots of work to do ahead of qualifying, but Valtteri's time in FP2 looked promising, so there is obviously pace in the vehicle, which is encouraging.

"I could easily do another three-year contract if I wanted to and I reckon I could go on for another one after that", said Hamilton, whose £30m-a-year-deal with Mercedes expires next season. "For sure there are things I look at and think, "Geez, if I had the whole year there is so much I could achieve and so many things I could tick off the bucket list".

"Lewis is in the best place I've seen him in any of the five years since I joined the team", said Wolff.

"It's what the best are made of-when the going is tough, they get over it".

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"They love that they have two drivers that they truly believe in, and they know that, when they put there work in, that both of us are going to deliver". A big thank-you to them. "We'll work hard and if we can find those gains we'll be right up there fighting for pole position".

Those shunts meant Hamilton failed to set a time on the quicker supersoft tyres and he ended the day a second off the pace in 10th.

"I guess you could then say a lot of people stopped before their time".

With three minutes remaining a red flag came up, halting the session, after Daniel Ricciardo clipped the wall with the left side of his Red Bull coming out of Turn 6, prompting an expletive from the Australian driver.

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Vettel was beaten to third by team mate Kimi Raikkonen in an all-Ferrari second row.

"We're OK - it's more of a question of getting everything together, so I'm pretty happy with the day". I think they still are favourites in terms of the fact their vehicle seems to work everywhere.

Referring to this year's "new era" auto, Wolff admitted it had posed challenges for the team and the drivers with its contrary and temperamental nature: happy and triumphant one week, sulky and unresponsive the next. "But then suddenly I lost the rear and then I have a four-wheel power slide into the barriers".

Alonso, who is already due to start Sunday's race from the back of the grid following a series of engine penalties, launched his headrest out of his McLaren as he ground to a halt.

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Fernando Alonso, already hit with a 40-point grid penalty, failed to advance past Q1 for the first time this season, while Jolyon Palmer did not take part in qualifying after a fire in his auto during Saturday morning's practice. So were Romain Grosjean (Haas), Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) and Jolyon Palmer (Renault).

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