Baku, FP2: Leclerc tops incident-packed second practice

Vettel 2nd, Hamilton 3rd

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By Olivier Ferret

26 April 2019 - 16:37
Baku, FP2: Leclerc tops incident-packed

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc went quickest in the second free practice session for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, outpacing team-mate Sebastian Vettel by more than three tenths of a second. Lewis Hamilton was third for Mercedes ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

After running fastest in the early part of the session on medium tyres, Leclerc also claimed top spot when the field moved to soft tyres for their qualifying simulations.

The Monegasque’s best lap of 1:42.872, which deposed team-mate Vettel from P1, was delivered on the second push lap of his run. His lap put him 0.324s ahead of Vettel and almost seven tenths of a second ahead of Hamilton.

The session saw a flurry of early activity as teams attempted to make up for the first session was lost following George Russell’s collision with a loose drain cover, which resulted in a full circuit check by race officials.

Their enthusiasm was damped, however, when Racing Point’s Lance Stroll hit the wall at Turn 3, bringing out the red flags after just 15 minutes.

The Canadian driver had a momentary loss of control under braking for Turn 2 and a moment of indecision as he appeared to at first attempt to turn in before thinking better of it. His late attempt top back out of the corner mean that he ran out of space on the way to the escape road and he hit the barriers, sapping off the front left wheel.

Unable to make it back to the pits the red flags were show and running was halted for just over 10 minutes.

When the session resumed, teams swiftly moved to the qualifying simulation topped by Leclerc. Verstappen was one of the last to do performance run and he took fourth place 0.252s behind Hamilton.

There was more drama later in the session, as teams’ attention turned to longer runs. With 26 minutes remaining Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat lost control on exit at Turn 7. The back end of his car slid out and hit the wall and after bouncing back the front left also went into the wall.

Kvyat had earlier shown good pace, however, and he ended the session in sixth place, behind the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

Kvyat was separated from Toro Rosso team-mate Alex Albon by McLaren’s Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard finished 1.3s off Leclerc and 0.033s ahead of Albon. The rookie Toro Rosso driver had a good session, beating ninth-placed Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly by 0.024s. Tenth place went to Lando Norris in the second McLaren.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF90 1:42.872 28
02 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF90 1:43.196 28
03 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W10 1:43.541 31
04 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB15 1:43.793 24
05 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W10 1:44.003 31
06 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:44.177 9
07 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault MCL34 1:44.183 27
08 Alex Albon Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:44.216 33
09 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Honda RB15 1:44.240 24
10 Lando Norris McLaren Renault MCL34 1:44.295 32
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-19 1:44.901 25
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38 1:45.366 31
13 Sergio Pérez Racing Point Mercedes RP19 1:45.436 28
14 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38 1:45.482 30
15 Daniel Ricciardo Renault RS19 1:45.483 15
16 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari VF-19 1:45.618 31
17 Nico Hülkenberg Renault RS19 1:46.717 24
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes RP19 1:47.875 8
19 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes FW42 1:48.111 27
20 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW42 -:—.--- 0

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