Hamilton leads opening Baku session

By on Friday, June 17, 2016
Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes 1-2 during the first practice session for the European Grand Prix at the new Baku City Circuit in Azerbaijan.

Hamilton moved to the front with a time of 1:46.489 midway through the 90 minute session as both Mercedes drivers ran on the Super Soft tyres.

It wasn’t a completely smooth session for Hamilton as he brushed the wall approaching Turn 3 before flat-spotting a set of tyres, sitting out the final 15 minutes.

Nico Rosberg was second, 0.377s behind his team-mate, with Valtteri Bottas third for Williams, the only non-Mercedes driver to lap within a second of the Briton.

Fernando Alonso was an encouraging fourth for McLaren on Soft tyres, with Sebastian Vettel also on the yellow-banded compound en-route to fifth spot, having spun exiting Turn 16 early in the session.

Sergio Pérez was sixth for Force India, while Jenson Button and Felipe Massa placed seventh and eighth, ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr.

The Spaniard nudged the wall at Turn 15, causing minor damage to the front of his car, but he was able to return to action during the closing stages.

Nico Hulkenberg completed the top 10 for Force India, with Haas' Romain Grosjean edging out Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen for 11th place.

It was a difficult session for Red Bull as neither driver troubled the top 10, with Daniel Ricciardo crashing out.

Ricciardo drifted wide exiting the left-hander at Turn 15 and clattered the barriers, causing damage to the right-rear corner of his RB12.

The session was halted while marshals recovered his stricken Red Bull.

Max Verstappen, meanwhile, was a low-key 16th as his Red Bull suffered a technical problem which left him stranded in the garage.

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