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Red Bull take top two spots in Azerbaijan practice

24 Juin 2017

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) - Red Bull driver Max Verstappen posted the fastest time in the first practice session for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Friday.

Red Bull Formula One driver Max Verstappen of Netherlands in his vehicle in the pit lane during the first practice session at the F1 Grand Prix circuit in Baku, Azerbaijan, Friday, June 23, 2017.

Ricciardo and Verstappen also met with fans and media representatives at the exhibition of classic cars in the Heydar Aliyev Center.

The Mexican driver escaped unhurt but the damage caused to his auto may prevent him from taking part in the second practice session of the day.

Having hit the wall at Turn 1 when attempting to take to the run-off area, Verstappen says he didn't expect to have any difficulty avoiding the barrier.

"It was very weird, to be honest", said Verstappen of the crash. "I locked up and was still trying to take the corner, but then I suddenly lost the rear".

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"First of all I went out of the garage and yellow flags then it was a Virtual Safety Car, so you can't warm up your tyres like you want to. [The damage] is OK but we have new parts and luckily it was nothing for the race so it is all good".

It was a mixed day for Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Formula One leader Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest, and Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen fifth. We know that in qualifying Mercedes will turn up their power.

Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz eventually finished 10th and 16th, respectively, but they will hope to get a great deal more track time under their belts in Friday's second session. Sergio Perez, who crashed out of the opening session, was seventh fastest for Force India.

The 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) Baku circuit, which glides through the city's medieval walls and passes the Caspian sea, has F1's fastest top speed and is also one of the trickiest.

In the opening practice session, Bottas narrowly missed the barriers while Perez mangled both wheels on the right of his vehicle on Turn 8. However, as other drivers struggled for grip, Verstappen appeared to find a good balance between a low-drag setup on the straights and a decent level of grip in the corners. The two Saubers moved off the very bottom of the timesheets as Romain Grosjean struggled to 20th in the second Haas.