Max Verstappen leads first practice in Baku; Sergio Perez crashes

Verstappen, using Supersoft tyres, was the session's fastest with a time of 1:44.410, with teammate Ricciardo - who collided with Perez during practice in 2016 - four tenths behind.

Max Verstappen led a Red Bull one-two from Daniel Ricciardo following a topsy-turvy opening practice session for Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix. "So from that point I felt very good in the auto even though, I think, in my short runs in the second practice I couldn't really take the maximum out of it because of traffic and yellow flags".

Verstappen's near flawless day was spoiled in the final 30 seconds of the session when he lost control of his auto at Turn 1 and hit the barriers.

"It was very weird, to be honest". "I locked up and I was still trying to make the corner but then I thought I would just try to play it safe and just take the exit road".

"To be first with not an ideal lap - first of all I went out of the garage with yellow flags and virtual safety auto, so you can not warm up the tyres as you want to, so still to be up there is very positive".

"[The vehicle is] broken but we have new parts and luckily it was nothing for the race, so it's all good".

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Hamilton's time - he finished 1.1 seconds adrift of Verstappen and one second slower than his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas - is slightly skewed because the triple world champion did not post a lap on the super-soft tyre, the quickest of the three Pirelli compounds available this weekend, after Jolyon Palmer crashed into the wall at turn eight. "We've clearly still got lots of work to do ahead of qualifying".

It was frustrating for Perez, considering he was fourth fastest. Only once it had been cleared into a run off area on the other side of the track was the session able to get back underway with less than ten minutes remaining on the clock.

Palmer's incident, midway through the 90-minute session, resulted in the action being temporarily suspended as they removed the under-fire Briton's mangled Renault and the ensuing debris.

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.

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.

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