Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Ricciardo glory contrasts with Verstappen misfortune

Ricciardo glory contrasts with Verstappen misfortune

Dutch teenager Verstappen led the way on Friday morning from Ricciardo and then in the second session lowered his fastest time to 1 minute 43.362 seconds on the 6.003-kilometre street course in Baku.

Sergio Perez (Force India), who suffered an accident during the first session, nearly tapped the same wall in the second session, leading to a red flag and a brief interruption in mid-session.

The Force India driver was one of the more impressive drivers in Baku previous year, and had been flying through the city circuit before his collision late on.

Lewis Hamilton moved to second on the all-time list for Formula One pole positions when he used a brilliant late surge to beat Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Verstappen's result was 1:44.410, while Ricciardo's result was 1:44.880. "We're at that point in the season where, give it another couple of races, we'll get closer and closer".

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With just under 20 minutes of the session to go, we got our first indication of the risks posed by this circuit as Sergio Perez hit the wall at turn 8.

If you were a spectator it was exciting and you'd probably feel you'd got a good bang for your buck, possibly it was even slightly comical.

Although Verstappen was beaten by Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in qualifying for the Azerbaijan GP, he knows that a wound-down engine and a gear sync problem made all the difference as he ended up fifth on the grid.

The Red Bull driver, who was quickest in both practice sessions on Friday, had to contend with several difficulties on Saturday, including a hydraulic problem which stopped his auto in FP3.

Vettel, twice, and Felipe Massa (Williams) were also nearly thrust into the turn, while Ricciardo was instructed by his team to be very careful and go very wide as he approached the turn to Give space. Both Vettel and Hamilton found themselves gingerly reversing their cars back onto the track before being able to carry on, and while no one got stranded down one of the roads, Vettel almost got blocked in by Felipe Massa at one point.

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Ricciardo slid wide through the right-hander at the start of the second sector and clattered into the wall, sustaining damage to the left-rear of his RB13.

The Dutchman's run of bad luck continued unfortunately as he was forced to retire when his engine expired on lap 12, his fourth DNF in six races. A year ago he finished eighth in Baku.

Two-time champion Fernando Alonso's ill luck also continued in the afternoon when after driving impressively he was forced into early retirement with an engine failure in his McLaren Honda auto.

"We're OK - it's more of a question of getting everything together, so I'm pretty happy with the day".

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