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F1 European GP: Hamilton sweeps Baku practice, Rosberg hits trouble

Lewis Hamilton tops second F1 practice on the Baku street circuit, but Mercedes' build-up to the Grand Prix of Europe is hit by a problem for team-mate Nico Rosberg.
CLICK HERE for the full Grand Prix of Europe FP2 result

Lewis Hamilton has completed a clean sweep of free practice sessions on the opening day of action around the all-new Baku City Circuit, though Mercedes's dominant 1-2 would be overshadowed by technical issues for championship leader Nico Rosberg.

With the venue proving as tricky as expected during an error-strewn FP1, the early evening FP2 would once again test the drivers with numerous yellow flag periods for off-track excursions, even if there was to be no repeat of Daniel Ricciardo's earlier smash into the wall.

Once more it was Mercedes that would set the pace with Hamilton defying his own offs to turn in a 1min 44.223secs lap on the super-soft, six-tenths clear of team-mate Rosberg.

The German may have been closer but for a technical issue that struck in the latter portion of the session, Rosberg forced to park up at turn six after reporting a loss of drive.

With Mercedes-powered cars locking out the top five positions, Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg showed strongly for Force India in third and fifth respectively, with the Williams of Valtteri Bottas being sandwiched in fourth.

Despite a wild spin at turn one, Carlos Sainz was an eye-catching sixth fastest for Toro Rosso, ahead of Max Verstappen, the Dutchman getting better acquainted with the Azerbaijan circuit after completing just seven laps during FP1.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel hinted at potential issues at Ferrari by cruising into the pit-lane late on, with the team informing him that Kimi Raikkonen – only 13th fastest after running off late on - was having a similar problem.

A solid day for McLaren would see Jenson Button up in ninth position with Fernando Alonso 11th, the pair split by Ricciardo, who got out on track on time despite heavy damage from his FP1 shunt.

The session had looked under threat after problems with the kerbs were discovered after FP1 when Pirelli reported cuts in the tyres, most likely from the screws. With GP2 qualifying postponed, swift work by circuit officials would see FP2 begin on time only for a piece of kerb on the exit of T6 to start lifting up. A message from race direction would request the drivers avoid the kerb.

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Tagged as: Lewis Hamilton , Mercedes , Europe , fp2 , Baku

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