Hamilton leads FP1 & FP2 in Baku

The European Grand Prix got off without a…well, actually there were a few hitches. After Free Practice 1 (FP1), it was determined that 90% of the tires were coming back to the Pirelli with cuts in them. The culprit? Loose bolts in the curbing (Kerbing for our British readers) and this prompted a serious delay canceling the GP2 session in order to fix the circuit.

While Lewis Hamilton topped the time sheet for Fp1, he then set about doing the same thing in FP2 even though turn 6 still had loose curbing. Hi teammate, Nico Rosberg, experienced a stoppage on track with 20 minutes to go in the session with a reported “drive” problem.

The day didn’t end well for Ferrari running 8th and 13th until Kimi Raikkonen had an MGU-K issue that locked his rear wheels at Turn 4 and he promptly parked the car there. Vettel was radioed back to the pits to be safe. The Ferrari’s were near 2s off the pace of the Mercedes team and clearly the track is favoring the Mercedes power unit with the top five position all powered by Merc.

McLaren seemed to be doing relatively well even with that long front straight and Jenson Button slotted 9th in FP2 while his teammate had an issue which meant he spent he majority of the time in the garage getting repaired.

As for safety? The track is certainly different with Valtteri Bottas reaching 218mph on the long straight and certainly the Twitter-verse was ripe with comments about safety and the circuit. The challenge for me is the incredibly high speeds on what is effectively a street circuit but it’s a very long one—the second longest track on the calendar behind Spa Francorchamps—and at those speeds in those confines, it does seem like it could be dangerous.

FP2 results:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m44.223s 33
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m44.913s 0.690s 26
3 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m45.336s 1.113s 37
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m45.764s 1.541s 35
5 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m45.920s 1.697s 37
6 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m46.027s 1.804s 35
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m46.068s 1.845s 35
8 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m46.219s 1.996s 36
9 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m46.234s 2.011s 32
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m46.293s 2.070s 32
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m46.498s 2.275s 27
12 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m46.681s 2.458s 29
13 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m46.694s 2.471s 32
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m46.744s 2.521s 35
15 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m46.830s 2.607s 26
16 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m47.060s 2.837s 28
17 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m47.329s 3.106s 38
18 Rio Haryanto Manor/Mercedes 1m47.487s 3.264s 33
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m47.772s 3.549s 22
20 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m47.794s 3.571s 35
21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m48.018s 3.795s 36
22 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m48.081s 3.858s 38