The Baku street circuit had caught out a fair few drivers in the earlier Friday session, but yellow flags were nearly a permanent feature in the afternoon, with nearly all competitors either making ample use of the run-off areas or brushing the barriers.
Verstappen did manage to finish top of the pile at the end of second practice, clocking a quickest time of 1:43.362, but he also ended up in the barrier at Turn 1 after hitting the wall, putting a slight dampener on his performance.
"It was very weird", Verstappen told Sky Sports. "I locked up and was still trying to make the corner but then I tried to play it safe and take the exit road, suddenly I lost the rear and I had like a four-wheel powerslide into the barrier".
"It [the car] is broken - but luckily we have new parts and it should be fine for tomorrow".
It was a scrappy day punctuated by several misjudgments on the scorching Baku circuit.
Lewis Hamilton, who dominated the Canadian Grand Prix weekend two weeks ago, was only tenth, 1.163secs off the pace - and over a second off Bottas in the other Merc. But even cautious on a tricky track, he nearly collided with Raikkonen. The Renault driver's mistake proved particularly costly as he shunted at Turn 8, making the same error that Sergio Perez made in the opening practice session on Friday.
Roberto Mancini (Zénith Saint-Petersbourg) s'intéresse au Parisien Lorenzo Callegari
Alors que son entourage a plusieurs fois mis la pression sur la direction parisienne, un départ est envisagé cet été. Roberto Mancini , le nouvel entraîneur du Zénith Saint-Petersbourg, souhaite recruter Lorenzo Callegari .
"It was very scrappy, I had a hard day and it was hard to get the tyres to work".
After securing a podium at this circuit previous year, Sergio Perez put Force India in the mix in first practice with the fourth fastest time, but ended his session early when he smacked into the barriers at Turn 9.
British driver Jolyon Palmer is under pressure to deliver his first points of the season, but he was only 18th on Friday morning.
Kimi Raikkonen was the fastest of the two Ferraris, 0.127s off Verstappen and 0.126s ahead of teammate Vettel, who struggled to get the most from his super-soft tyres around the six kilometre track. With its combination of long straight lines and turns that require great braking, it is a combination of the circuits of Monza and Monaco and it poses a big challenge of adhesion.
He escaped unscathed after colliding with the external wall at a narrow section at Turn Eight, and although his vehicle lost its rear right wheel, Force India mechanics succeeded in repairing it for Perez to finish seventh in P2.
Meanwhile, French driver Romain Grosjean was slowest and ranted constantly about brake trouble in his Haas vehicle.
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