Baku (Azerbaijan): Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton topped the times ahead of his championship leading Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in yesterday’s incident-filled opening free practice session for this weekend’s European Grand Prix.
Hamilton clocked a best lap of one minute 46.436 seconds on supersoft tyres to outpace Rosberg by four-tenths of a second on the new Baku street circuit.
The tight and dusty circuit, never used before, created a series of problems for the drivers and cars in a session that was red-flagged when Australian Daniel Ricciardo crashed his Red Bull into the wall at Turn 15.
On a disappointing day for the Red Bull team, his teenage Dutch team-mate Max Verstappen managed only seven laps before he stopped with an oil leak. Valtteri Bottas was third for Williams ahead of two-time champion Fernando Alonso of McLaren Honda with four-time champion Sebastian Vettel fifth for Ferrari.
There was little excitement in the early stages as reticent drivers waited for others to go out and clean up the circuit before Hamilton began to set the pace after 22 minutes of the 90.