F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE: FP2 latest updates as Hamilton and Verstappen get used to the course 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…

  • Marc Mayo

    COUNTDOWN TO FP2

    Not long to wait until second practice, here’s how things shook down in FP1.

  • Marc Mayo

    F2 QUALY

    Down in Formula 2, Liam Lawson has snagged his first pole position of the season.

    The Kiwi leads a Hitech one-two in front of Juri Virps with Oscar Piastri third.

  • Marc Mayo

    FLEXI DEBATE

    Questions are being asked of Red Bull and their supposed ‘flexi’ rear wing that helps reduce drag down the straights here in Baku.

    But is it really that different from other cars? Sky pundit Ant Davidson compared footage of the championship leader with Mercedes and insisted EVERY wing has to be flexible to some degree.

    He said: "As the [Red Bull] builds up speed, the wing will gradually deflect and move away, in the braking zone it comes back.

    "The interesting thing is at Mercedes it's a similar story with this wing configuration they are running.

    "When [the Merc] comes to the braking zone at the first corner, the wing goes up. It's a similar kind of thing. 

    “We've seen a similar kind of thing on the Ferrari front-wing. It's hard to stop these wings flexing but how much is too much?"

  • Marc Mayo

    STORY SO FAR

    Finely. Poised.

  • Marc Mayo

    RUSS OF BLOOD

    George Russell has claimed his relationship with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is BETTER for crashing into Valtteri Bottas at Imola.

    The Williams star was involved in a nasty accident with Bottas earlier this season and launched into a tirade against his rival afterwards – for which he was reprimanded by Wolff.

    But Russell has said: "If anything, my relationship with Toto has grown since the incident in Imola.

    "There was a lot of tough love. But he ultimately wants to extract the absolute maximum from me, or from what he believes I can achieve.

    "I think I'm mentally strong enough to be able to take this stuff on the chin, take it on board, reflect on it, and come back stronger. Obviously, emotions were high from all accounts.

    "My relationships with everybody to be honest – from everyone at Williams and to a number of the key people at Mercedes, who I've spoken with since, is better than ever. I think often these difficult moments bring you closer together."

  • Marc Mayo

    TWO'S A CROWD

    A lot of action for the run-off areas during FP1, including this meeting of Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris.

    It's a chicken and egg question: which came first, the run-off areas for drivers who run wide at certain corners… or drivers running wide at certain corners because there's a run-off area?

  • Marc Mayo

    FP2 COMING UP

    A short break now until the second practice session at 1pm UK time.

    We'll keep you up to date with all the goings on in the paddock and any news from Formula 2 qualifying in the meantime. Stay tuned!

  • Marc Mayo

    TOP TEN IN FIRST PRACTICE

    1. VER – 1:43.184
    2. LEC – Ferrari push hard to maintain their good form
    3. SAI
    4. PER – Fewest laps (17) due to aero tests
    5. RIC – Much-needed strong start for struggling Aussie
    6. GAS
    7. HAM – Mistake and traffic hit hot lap attempts
    8. NOR
    9. ALO – Only top-ten runner on Medium tyre
    10. BOT – 1:44.891

    Credit: AFP
  • Marc Mayo

    CHEQUERED FLAG

    That will do us for FP1, Max Verstappen taking first place in a stop-start session due to traffic and yellow flags.

  • Marc Mayo

    RUN-OFF TRAFFIC JAM

    At Turn 15, Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris follow each other into the run-off area.

    That would have surprised the Finn as he spun around and suddenly faced the McLaren.

    Time has run out with yellow flags a constant through the final moments.

  • Marc Mayo

    AND ANOTHER

    Mick Schumacher's Haas then runs wide at Turn 4 to bring out the yellow flags.

    A simple lock-up for the German and he cannot pull off the donut to escape quickly, echoing fellow youngster Yuki Tsunoda's issues earlier.

  • Marc Mayo

    IN THE WALL

    Nikita Mazepin's Haas is up against the barrier at Turn 16, having lightly tonked it with his rear wing.

    He's able to drive away safely with some heavily flat-spotted tyres.

  • Marc Mayo

    TEN MINUTES TO GO

    Max Verstappen, initially down in sixth, is complaining of traffic.

    We haven't seen much of either Red Bull so far before both the Dutchman and Sergio Perez put in fresh quick laps.

    Verstappen improves to P1 with Perez fourth.

    Credit: Getty
  • Marc Mayo

    FERRARI FURY

    After the McLarens laid down their gauntlet, the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have nabbed the top spots on the timesheet.

    Lewis Hamilton might have joined them but locked up and darted into the run-off area to ruin his hot lap.

    Pierre Gasly then follows the Brit in missing the corner, also at Turn 15, and has to back onto the track.

  • Marc Mayo

    MAC ATTACK

    Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris introduce themselves to the Grand Prix with some serious pace.

    The Aussie goes top with a 1:43.732 and his team-mate looks good to match him…

    But spins his McLaren at Turn 16 and is left pointing the wrong way.

    No contact with the wall, fortunately.

  • Marc Mayo

    TOP TEN AT HALFWAY

    1. HAM
    2. VER
    3. GAS
    4. ALO
    5. NOR
    6. LEC
    7. VET
    8. SAI
    9. STR
    10. RIC

    Credit: Getty
  • Marc Mayo

    TSUNODA OFF

    Down at Turn 4, Yuki Tsunoda has gone into the run-off area and the rookie is not finding it easy reversing out having knocked the wall on the way in.

    Yellow flags are out and he tells team radio: "I don't know why but it doesn't want to reverse."

    George Russell is told the AlphaTauri is 'doing an Austin powers' over team radio but he's eventually out.

  • Marc Mayo

    FAMILIAR FEEL

    Max Verstappen goes second, just 0.2 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton, but on the Medium tyres.

  • Marc Mayo

    LEWIS STRETCHING OUT

    No real representative times yet with different tyre compounds bolted onto the pack.

    But Lewis Hamilton is 1.7 seconds clear of Lando Norris in second after a racey lap on the Softs.

    His 1:43.893 has some ground to make up on the 2019 qualifying pole time of 1:40.495, but we're getting there.

    Credit: AP
  • Marc Mayo

    VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR

    A marshall darts across the track to pick up some debris and racers are told to slow down for a few moments.

    No sign of where the item came from and no one has put it in the wall. Yet.

  • Marc Mayo

    FIRST TIMES ON THE BOARD

    Most of the cars have put a lap in but nothing from the Red Bulls or Alfa Romeos yet.

    It's a slow start to FP1 as teams focus on setup configurations and striking the balance between reducing drag for top speed down the two-kilometre straight and extra downforce to aid the more technical sections.

  • Marc Mayo

    GREEN LIGHT

    First practice is underway in Baku, let's get down to business!

  • Marc Mayo

    TRACK CHANGES

    Baku GP officials have made a minor alteration to the circuit for this year’s race.

    Turn 8, just before the tight and tricky castle section, has been opened up slightly to allow drivers to carry more speed.

    In 2019, Charles Leclerc crashed at the corner as you can watch below. Note how his car bumps over a kerb before hitting the barrier – it is that kerb which has been removed.

  • Marc Mayo

    FEELING FLEXIBLE

    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."

  • Marc Mayo

    WEATHER FORECAST

    Basically no chance of rain this weekend in Baku.

    Today’s sessions are predicted to be the warmest of the Grand Prix, topping 27°C under bright sunshine.

    More of the same for qualifying tomorrow before some heavy cloud cover anticipated for Sunday’s race – although temperatures will barely drop.

    Credit: Getty

    Source: Read Full Article