News Worms
News Worms


F1 Azerbaijan GP: Bottas thrilled with Mercedes wing, nose and floor updates

F1 Azerbaijan GP: Bottas thrilled with Mercedes wing, nose and floor updates

Mercedes set the benchmark, Ferrari are still close behind and Red Bull appear to have kept their improved pace from the last few weeks.

Ricciardo ended FP2 fifth fastest, and was just 0.390s off Lewis Hamilton's record lap time around the Austrian circuit. "There's a good feeling inside the team and the vehicle is clearly quick here".

Valtteri Bottas, who finished third in both sessions, said Mercedes' new parts for this weekend - which include a "new front wing, nose [and] floor" - were working as expected.

"It was a smooth day generally", Hamilton said.

Hamilton was leading the race in Baku but was forced to pit midway through on safety grounds after his headrest came loose. This track punishes you if you make a mistake.

Verstappen, fourth fastest in P2, said his tyres were "all over the place" in the afternoon. Not only did the Belgian outpace Fernando Alonso, but McLaren looked competitive with Honda's Spec-3 engine, which has been introduced ahead of the week. During the morning session, they were split by Max Verstappen - who had a couple of spins through the gravel and brushed the wall at one point. Verstappen, Haas driver Romain Grosjean, and Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz Jr wobbled on the same turn - as did Hamilton late into P1.

Rarely are the fortunes of the fourth and fifth-placed drivers in a race so tightly scrutinised but, then again, it is also just as uncommon to see a driver deliberately spear his vehicle into an opponent as Vettel did to Hamilton in Baku.

Hamilton, victor in Austria a year ago, is 14 points behind Ferrari's championship leader Sebastian Vettel after eight races but still has a good chance of going into the August summer break in the lead.

Instead he was free to race after the FIA, motorsport's governing body, deemed he required no further punishment for the incident having been hit with a 10-second stop-and-go penalty during the race in Baku.

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