F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE: FP3 and qualifying – updates as Hamilton, Verstappen and rivals go for pole in Baku

F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE: FP3 and qualifying – updates as Hamilton, Verstappen and rivals go for pole in Baku

LEWIS HAMILTON and Max Verstappen head to Azerbaijan as they do battle again in an enthralling F1 campaign.

Hamilton had been in control of the championship but slipped behind Verstappen after a seventh placed finish in Monaco.

Get all the latest F1 updates from Baku here…

  • Kostas Lianos

    TON TO DO

    Lewis Hamilton conceded that he had a "tough start" but is determined to work hard and catch up.

    Here's what he tweeted:

  • Alex Terrell

    DON'T GIVE AN F2

    The F2 cars are lining up in Baku ahead of the big dogs of F1 and their qualifying stint.

    The weather is looking pretty spectacular in Azerbaijan.

    Credit: Getty
    Credit: Getty
  • Alex Terrell

    LEW ON FREAKY FRIDAY

    Lewis Hamilton risks losing more ground in the Formula One title race to Max Verstappen after a bad day in Baku, writes BEN HUNT.

    The world champion was knocked off the top of the championship after Verstappen's win in Monaco, a result that also saw Mercedes surrender their place at the top of the team's championship for the first time since 2013.

    Now four points behind his Red Bull rival, Hamilton expected another tough race in Azerbaijan this weekend, but nothing could have prepared him for the misery he faced yesterday.

    While Verstappen topped first practice and his teammate, Sergio Perez was quickest in the afternoon, Hamilton was in 11th place.

    Hamilton groaned: "It felt like I was driving well. There were not many mistakes, we were just slow.

    "There is no more time in the car and we are a chunk down and everyone is scratching their heads and looking into the data to try and figure out why.

    "I was on the limit but the car is limited. There was no more grip, so we will work at it. It is not easy to be out of the top ten on pace, I don't really know why we are where we are.

    "Pace-wise we have not gone forwards since Monaco. If anything, it looks like we have gone backwards."

  • Joshua Jones

    MORNING, F1 FANS

    World champ Lewis Hamilton could be punished at this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix – for driving too slowly.

    As the Brit struggled in ELEVENTH place in second practice, race bosses have warned ALL F1 drivers that driving unnecessarily slowly will not be tolerated.

    Drivers have previously slowed down on their qualifying laps to give themselves a gap in the traffic so they can pump in a flying lap.

    But that has caused some cars to bunch up, which is notoriously difficult on the twisty Baku circuit.

    Sergio Perez dominated practice, with Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas well off the pace on soft tyres.

    Hamilton's title rival Max Verstappen was second fastest, 0.101 seconds behind his Red Bull partner Perez.

    Finally, this year's Singapore Grand Prix has been called off, leaving F1 chiefs desperately searching for a new race over October 1-3.

    Turkey, China and Austin in the USA are rated possible alternatives.

    And other races later in 2021 could also fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Ian Tuckey

    HAMILTON'SLOW' WARNING

    Lewis Hamilton could be punished at this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix – for driving too slowly.

    While the Brit endured a difficult day during practice as he was off the pace, race bosses have warned ALL F1 drivers that driving unnecessarily slowly will not be tolerated.

    In the past, drivers have slowed down on their qualifying laps to give themselves a gap in the traffic so they can pump in a flying lap.

    However, that has caused some cars to bunch up, which is notoriously difficult on the twisty Baku circuit, particularly towards the end of the track, and race bosses say they will punish any driver who backs up the traffic.

    FIA race director Michael Masi said in his race notes: "For reasons of safety, during each practice session, acts such as weaving across the track to hinder another car may be referred to the stewards.

    "During free practice session three and the qualifying practice, the time published in the race directors' event notes will be used as a guide by the stewards to determine if a driver is considered to be driving unnecessarily slowly.

    "During any practice session, any driver intending to create a gap in front of him in order to get a clear lap should not attempt to do this between the entry to Turn 17 through to the exit of Turn 20."

     

  • Ian Tuckey

    LEWIS ONLY 11TH

    Lewis Hamilton only came 11th in second practice at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as Mercedes struggled.

    Red Bull's Sergio Perez was a second quicker as Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas toiled with the softest tyres.

    Hamilton's main title rival Max Verstappen was second quickest.

  • Ian Tuckey

    F1 CHIEFS' WING WATCH

    Red Bull’s ‘flexi-wing’ at the back of their car will be monitored by F1 bosses this weekend ahead of a potential ban.

    Mercedes are concerned their rivals are gaining an unfair advantage by having a rear wing that drops down to reduce drag on the straights.

    Max Verstappen has dismissed complaints as jealously.

    He stated: “I can understand people complaining… but it’s all within the rules so far. There’s nothing wrong with it.

    “Of course, they try to slow us down.”

    But Lewis Hamilton said: “It doesn’t really matter what I think about it, it is what it is. They’re approved based on current testing methods and they’re valid this weekend. So we can’t do much against it.”

  • Ian Tuckey

    SINGAPORE GP CANCELLED

    The Singapore Grand Prix has been called off this year leaving F1 chiefs desperately searching for a new race.

    Motor racing bosses are looking at options to replace the event from October 1-3.

    Travel complications have put paid to this year's Singapore Grand Prix

    The Marina Bay Street Circuit was due to host round 16 of this year's championship.

    But travel issues to the Asian city state have forced F1 bosses to look elsewhere.

    Singapore has kept Covid infections relatively low thanks to their strict border controls and test-and-trace system.

  • Ian Tuckey

    FOUR FOR LEW FORMATION?

    World champ Lewis Hamilton is gunning for his fourth win in the first six grands prix – whilst Max Verstappen hopes to level it at 3-3.

  • Marc Mayo

    NO BOTT-ER

    Valtteri Bottas has remained coy on his Mercedes future by indicating his focus is on the current season.

    Both Bottas, 31, and Lewis Hamilton, 36, have contracts with Mercedes that are due to expire at the end of 2021.

    When asked about his future ahead of Friday practice, he said: “I’m quite open minded.

    “Like in life in general, you need to always take opportunities and you just never know what is around the corner. And that's also, having clear goals, what you're pushing for and that has taken me this far.

    “I always want to kind of follow my heart and follow my passion and I am still enjoying Formula One very much and racing at the front. I really, really love it.”

  • Marc Mayo

    HAMILTON REACTION

    Lewis Hamilton is very calm and matter-of-fact as he speaks after practice, admitting Mercedes have more to do and yet are far from out of it.

    He said: “I feel like I’m driving well and the car felt better in FP1.

    “We’re definitely quite a chunk down and everyone will be scratching their heads into how we can improve.

    “The long run was better.

    “The car is limited, there’s no more grip, but we’ll work at it and I don’t really know why we are where we are.”

    Credit: Splash
  • Marc Mayo

    OFF YU POP

    Yuki Tsunoda has been ordered to move from Milton Keynes and sent to Italy to get his career back on track.

    The 21-year-old has gone in reverse since finishing ninth in his first race of the season and the AlpaTauri man was told to relocate to Faenza to be closer to his team to help his development.

    He said: "I got told [to move] while I was in Monaco. When I crashed in FP2 it was not a good thing. And I think Red Bull wasn't happy after that.

    "It's good to have a little bit of a big change for me, because I think the last three races or four races, I haven't had good races and to change something, you know, you need [to do things] a bit different.

    "I didn't enjoy last week, but it is what it is. And I think the engineer meeting especially, that makes a very good understanding to the car.

    "But mainly the gym session, the time is much, much longer than usual. So hopefully I will not be like a bodybuilder at the end of the year."

  • Marc Mayo

    WHAT WENT WRONG FOR MERCEDES?

    Stuck in 11th and 16th would be a panic result for the Mercs at the best of times, but after their Monaco woe this truly is a worrying situation.

    Lewis Hamilton had a hot lap ruined by Charles Leclerc but was nowhere near with only slightly older tyres when he got it together.

    He complained: “I’m not going to go faster, I don’t know where the time is.”

    Meanwhile Valtteri Bottas was simply never able to put in a truly quick time on the Softs, having been nowhere in FP1 too.

    It could be a matter of warming up the tyres in time plus a sense that much of the pack has been catching the Mercs up more generally.

    Toto Wolff has cancelled his media duties with Sky F1 – no such delays for Christian Horner who jumps straight in front of the cameras.

  • Marc Mayo

    TOP TEN IN FP2

    1. PER – 1:42.115
    2. VER – 0.1 seconds back
    3. SAI – Only 0.128 off first in more good news for Ferrari
    4. LEC – Crashed and lost front wing at Turn 15, wrecking many others' laps
    5. GAS – Most laps (26)
    6. ALO
    7. GIO – Alfa Romeo surprise fastest in quick Sector 3
    8. NOR
    9. OCO
    10. TSU

    Credit: Getty
  • Marc Mayo

    CHECO FLAG

    It is all smiles for Red Bull and all question marks for Mercedes after second practice in Baku.

    Sergio Perez takes first place ahead of Max Verstappen, who have backed up good qualifying simulations with quick race runs.

    Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in the Ferraris are third and fourth, respectively, leaving Lewis Hamilton 11th. Yikes.

  • Marc Mayo

    WIDE OF THE MARK

    Valtteri Bottas and Yuki Tsunoda go wide to keep our 'run-off area' tally ticking over.

    Max Verstappen would have joined them had Turn 3 had a run-off area – instead he very nearly drifts into the wall. Five minutes to go.

    Credit: AP
  • Marc Mayo

    'DONE!'

    Nikita Mazepin cracks a joke as he fiddles with his steering wheel under instruction from his Haas team.

    Told to do the configurations whenever he is free, the Russian immediately shoots back: "Done!"

    He then jokes: "We're not in Monaco anymore!"

  • Marc Mayo

    SCHUMACHER ISSUES

    More problems for the Haas as Mick Schumacher slumps back into the pits reporting of issues.

    We have 15 minutes of running and race simulations are likely to be the order of the day.

  • Marc Mayo

    LECLERC BACK ON TRACK

    Those Mercedes woes have kept Ferrari in P3 and P4.

    Charles Leclerc is all fixed up after his Turn 15 crash and racing again.

    Credit: AFP
  • Marc Mayo

    PAST HALFWAY

    We're into the last 25 minutes of a session best summed up by the phrase higgledy-piggledy.

    Max Verstappen has gone second, 0.1 seconds off team-mate Sergio Perez.

    Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas is 16th without a hot lap to speak of and Lewis Hamilton 11th and complaining on the radio.

    He says: "I'm not going to go faster, I don't know where the time is."

  • Marc Mayo

    TAKE TWO

    The likes of Lewis Hamilton are back on track pushing in qualifying sims.

    However, those Soft tyres are no longer as fresh as they were five minutes ago and lighting them up is difficult.

    Hamilton goes eighth and Sergio Perez takes top spot as Pierre Gasly runs wide at Turn 15.

  • Marc Mayo

    FRONT ON

    Charles Leclerc locked his right-front up and squirted straight into the barrier late on in what was looking a good lap.

    Without a front-wing, he reverses out safely and heads back to the pits.

    A Virtual Safety Car is ordered and basically everyone else's hot laps on fresh tyres are ruined…

  • Marc Mayo

    IN THE WALL

    And that is Charles Leclerc in the barrier at Turn 15!

  • Marc Mayo

    LECLERC UPPING THE ANTE

    Qualifying simulations are underway and Carlos Sainz leads Charles Leclerc in a Ferrari one-two that is likely to change as new sets of the Softs are bolted on.

  • Marc Mayo

    BACK UNDERWAY

    Nicholas Latifi's car sounded like a Viking God rudely awoken from a lie-in as it broke down for that red flag.

    It's now been moved off the track and, with 41 minutes to go, practice has resumed.

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