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2018 F1

Baku FP2: Ricciardo quick as Vettel struggles, Mercedes only third fastest team

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Chinese Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo set fastest lap-time for Red Bull Racing. Ferrari’s veteran Kimi Raikkonen second-quickest but his team-mate Sebastian Vettel struggled with rear end balancing issues and he spins three times during the Second practice session.

“He is the one to beat at the moment,” noted Sky F1’s Anthony Davidson – who also believes teams will be debating running the supersofts in the second part of qualifying with little difference between the compounds.

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton only made fifth quickest lap-time. Late engine scare for Max Verstappen who crashed into the wall during the opening practice session.

“Sector two needs to be where we make hay because sector three is so power critical,” says Christian Horner.

“But race pace again was very, very strong. A little issue on Max’s car at the end and hopefully is just an engine sensor.”

Morning practice pace-setter Valtteri Bottas set fourth fastest in the second practice. Mercedes fought with Ferrari to get enough heat into their tires on the slippery and dusty Baku street circuit.

Fernando Alonso managed a rare sixth place for McLaren. While numerous cars strayed into the runoff areas on the low-grip track, Verstappen’s was the only crash of the day. At Sauber, Marcus Ericsson’s second session was cut short by a gearbox problem.

Kevin Magnussen was ninth as Haas returned to form, while Nico Hulkenberg completed the top 10.

Much like the opening session of a much anticipated weekend, many drivers were struggling for grip. On top of Vettel’s three spins, An off-form Stoffel Vandoorne brushed the wall while Lance Stroll reported that his Williams was “undriveable”.

Stroll was 14th at the end of P2, with team-mate Sergey Sirotkin 17th and ahead of Brendon Hartley, Vandoorne and Marcus Ericsson.

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