Sports

Vettel bounces back to top Baku final practice

Vettel bounces back to top Baku final practice

More drama followed in the final minutes of Q1 when Pierre Gasly nearly clipped his Red Bull team-mate Brendon Hartley.

Retired triple world champion Niki Lauda told reporters the blame lay 70 percent with Verstappen, whose season has been full of collisions, but Red Bull principal Christian Horner said they shared it equally. "Fortunately, it was enough, so I'm really happy". So we've got some work to do.

It was the first victory of the season for champions Mercedes. Yesterday I struggled with confidence and trust in the auto, which is important. Bottas, who had yet to pit up until that point, inherited the lead as Vettel and Hamilton behind him also took on new tyres for a four-lap dash to the flag.

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"Definitely an untidy race for me".

Ricciardo was quickest in second practice on Friday after Bottas had the best of the first session.Hamilton, who has won three of the past four championships, said his team had a job on their hands on Sunday.

On the restart, Vettel lunged for the lead but could not keep his auto on the racing line at the exit of the next corner and instead lost places.

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As the race restarted, Vettel attempted to pass Bottas for the lead into Turn 1 but went too deep and ran wide, conceding places to Hamilton and teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

"That was close", said Hamilton. He was late to the podium celebrations because he went to speak with Bottas, who "deserved" the win.

Taking advantage of the situation, Hamilton grabbed his 63rd career win and his first in 2018, reports Efe. "I was on the kerb and couldn't steer", said the Finn.

"They have a phenomenal auto this year but we are in the mix and I'll try to give Sebastian a hard time tomorrow". "This race can be insane, but we have a good starting point".

Force India's Sergio Perez continued his team's improvement with the sixth fastest lap, with Kevin Magnussen seventh for Haas and Canadian Lance Stroll, third in Baku previous year, lapping eighth quickest.

In Azerbaijan this weekend Mercedes' customer teams, Williams and Force India, also enjoyed a strong showing in qualifying, leading some to conclude that Mercedes power is making the difference on Baku's long straights.

The race was heavily punctuated by accidents which included one in which the two Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen collided while fighting for fourth place in the closing stages, the pair having banged wheels and battled for positions throughout the race.


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