Azerbaijan GP Practice One: Red Bulls ahead, Sergio Perez crashes
Surprise Red Bull one-two for Verstappen and Ricciardo; Perez flies to fourth then crashes at castle chicane; Mercedes fifth and sixth
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 26/06/17 1:11pm
Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo unexpectedly led the way in Practice One for the Azerbaijan GP - but Force India's Sergio Perez crashed heavily at Baku's iconic castle chicane.
In a disjointed opening session on F1's newest street track, the Red Bulls used the quickest supersoft tyres to finish first and second with Verstappen lapping four tenths quicker than Ricciardo with a best lap of 1:44.410.
Championship contenders Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton stayed on the slower soft compound, with the Ferrari close behind the Red Bulls, but the Mercedes one second adrift in fifth.
But it was Perez's crash into the barriers by the ancient Baku fort which proved by far the session's most dramatic moment.
Entering the tightest section of track in F1, the Force India driver ran slightly wide over the kerb and clouted the tyre barrier, ripping off the car's right-left wheel and doing substantial damage to that side of the car.
Fortunately for Perez's prospects for the remainder of the weekend, the team confirmed he was not running his intended race gearbox at the time.
Up until that point the Mexican, who starred in Baku's inaugural race last year en route to the podium, was setting an impressive pace again - so much so that still ended with the fourth-quickest lap of the session.
With Mercedes fifth and sixth, Valtteri Bottas was 0.3s behind Hamilton despite, like Red Bull, setting his fastest time on supersofts, while Esteban Ocon made it two Force Indias in the top seven.
With a raft of grid penalties set to leave them at the back of the field on Sunday's grid, McLaren made a low-key start to the weekend in the lower midfield as they installed new power unit parts in both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne's MCL32s.
The challenge the Honda-powered team face this weekend to achieve a respectable result from the back of the grid is set to be made harder by their habitual straight-line speed deficit, with Alonso's MCL32 trailing the fastest cars in P1 by around 20mph down Baku's huge pit straight.
Azerbaijan GP Practice One Timesheet
1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 1:44.410
2. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, +0.470
3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +0.557
4. Sergio Perez, Force India, +0.988
5. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +1.087
6. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, +1.327
7. Esteban Ocon, Force India, +1.342
8. Felipe Massa, Williams, +1.558
9. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +1.590
10. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, +2.207
11. Lance Stroll, Williams, +2.239
12. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, +2.311
13. Romain Grosjean, Haas, +2.427
14. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, +2.807
15. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, +3.036
16. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, +3.091
17. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, +3.141
18. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, +4.115
19. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, +4.638
20. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, +5.527
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