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Lewis Hamilton has topped the first Formula 1 practice session to be held on the Baku City Circuit as the unusual European Grand Prix venue proved as tricky as drivers had feared.

Though damaging accidents were limited to a shunt for Daniel Ricciardo at the particularly difficult Turn 15 left-hander, the FP1 session was nonetheless peppered with many off-track moments as the drivers spent the 90mins session finding the limits.

Indeed, though the tight T8-12 section has garnered much of the pre-event attention, it was T1, T3, T15 and T16 - all largely 90 degree bends - that would prove most testing, with Hamilton venturing off course three times in three laps despite his top time.

It was Ricciardo though that had the inauspicious 'honour' of clattering the wall first, the Red Bull getting out of shape and striking the outside barrier at T15 with the right-rear. Causing significant damage and prompting a red flag, it compounded a difficult start to the day for Red Bull after Max Verstappen managed just seven laps due to technical issues.

With a mammoth three seconds covering the top ten, lap times are always likely to tumble as the drivers become more confident, though with seven Mercedes-powered cars inside those positions, the German manufacturer is showing strongly.

With Hamilton - who missed the final portion of the session when he flat-spotted his tyre - and Nico Rosberg commanding the top two positions, Valtteri Bottas remained within range in third place, six tenths off as the Williams driver enjoyed the benefits of a huge 351kmh top speed down the home straight.

An impressive session for the McLaren-Honda team, Fernando Alonso was a noteworthy fourth best, with Jenson Button in seventh despite a late spin.

A late gain for Sebastian Vettel saw him complete the top five, despite his own half-spin early in the session at T16, ahead of leading Force India driver Sergio Perez.

Felipe Massa was eighth quickest in the second of the Williams', ahead of Carlos Sainz - recovering from a brief stop nose-first into the barrier at T15 - and Nico Hulkenberg.

Elsewhere, Kimi Raikkonen was 12th quickest, ahead of the damaged Ricciardo, with Daniil Kvyat a lowly 17th best.

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