Lewis Hamilton impressed in Friday’s second practice for the European Grand Prix as he beat team-mate Nico Rosberg to the top spot on the timesheet by 0.690s.
Friday’s second practice at the Baku circuit got underway on time after qualifying for the GP2 session was postponed until later in the evening giving Charlie Whiting and the marshals plenty of time to bolt down loose kerbs.
Despite that the kerb at the exit of Turn 6 began to get loose, prompting a warning from Race Control to stay off it.
Carlos Sainz and the Force India pairing of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkneberg, who set the exact same lap time, set the early pace before the arrival of the Mercedes drivers saw a change at the top.
Hamilton went quickest with a 1:45.102 on the soft tyres while Rosberg slotted into second on the mediums. He was 0.690s slower than his team-mate. Fernando Alonso was third.
Swapping to the supersoft tyres, the fastest of Pirelli’s range brought to Azerbaijan, Rosberg went quickest with a 1:44.913.
That was soon topped by Hamilton, who clocked a 1:44.223 to beat his team-mate by 0.690s, matching his earlier advantage.
Rosberg’s session ended 20 minutes earlier as he parked his W07 on the side of the track due to a “problem with the drive and engine.”
Perez was third, 1.113s down, while it was another good session for Valtteri Bottas who was fourth quickest.
Hulkenberg was next in line ahead of Sainz, Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button.
Daniel Ricciardo in his repaired RB12 completed the top ten while Kimi Raikkonen was down in 13th place as Ferrari struggle for pace around the six-kilometre circuit.
Raikkonen’s practice ended down an escape road with locked rear wheels. He climbed out of his SF16-H and minutes later Vettel was told “slow down and box” prompting his return to the pits.
Fernando Alonso had an issue during the session as his McLaren was stuck in gear. He used the button that the marshals use to disengage and limped back to the pits. He finished P11.
An engine problem meant Marcus Ericsson only ventured out halfway through the session. He completed practice in 19th place.
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:44.223 33 laps
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:44.913 0.690 26 laps
3 Sergio Perez Force India 1:45.336 1.113 37 laps
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:45.764 1.541 35 laps
5 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:45.920 1.697 37 laps
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 1:46.027 1.804 35 laps
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:46.068 1.845 35 laps
8 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:46.219 1.996 36 laps
9 Jenson Button McLaren 1:46.234 2.011 32 laps
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:46.293 2.070 32 laps
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:46.498 2.275 27 laps
12 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:46.681 2.458 29 laps
13 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:46.694 2.471 32 laps
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:46.744 2.521 35 laps
15 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1:46.830 2.607 26 laps
16 Felipe Massa Williams 1:47.060 2.837 28 laps
17 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:47.329 3.106 38 laps
18 Rio Haryanto Manor 1:47.487 3.264 33 laps
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:47.772 3.549 22 laps
20 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:47.794 3.571 35 laps
21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1:48.018 3.795 36 laps
22 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:48.081 3.858 38 laps