F1 Raceweek: Mercedes and Ferrari vie for momentum in Baku

After Lewis Hamilton cut Sebastian Vettel's championship lead in half in Montreal, battle resumes as Formula One heads to Baku.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton on the Baku City Circuit   -  Getty Images

Momentum continues to swing between Mercedes and Ferrari and both teams will be eager to make a statement at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Mercedes responded to Ferrari's dominance in Monaco by securing their first one-two of the season in Canada last time out, Lewis Hamilton leading Valtteri Bottas across the line.

Sebastian Vettel could only manage fourth in Montreal, meaning his advantage over Hamilton at the top of the drivers' championship now stands at just 12 points.

The Brit will be eager to enhance his title credentials by becoming the first driver to win successive races this season at this weekend's race at the Baku City Circuit.

Red Bull cannot be discounted, though, with Daniel Ricciardo having taken third in each of the last three events.

It looks set to be another difficult weekend for McLaren duo Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne who have been issued 15-place grid penalties for taking new power unit components.


Red Bull look set to be quick once again.

Max Verstappen topped the timesheets in FP1 and FP2 – both of which were red flagged – and Ricciardo was second and third in the respective sessions, although the Dutchman's day ended with a crash.

Verstappen slid into a wall at turn one in the closing seconds of the final session, providing the last of a number of dramatic moments that suggest a thoroughly eventful race could take place on Sunday.

Sergio Perez and Jolyon Palmer crashed at the narrow turn eight to bring proceedings to a halt, while Daniil Kvyat and Verstappen sustained damage after hitting the barriers. There was also a near collision between Kimi Raikkonen and Hamilton at turn one.

Vettel's Ferrari was quicker than both Mercedes on the soft compound as he came third in FP1, but Bottas showed good pace to end FP2 second and just one tenth of a second behind Verstappen.

Traffic seemed to effect Hamilton's ability to get a solid run and he ended the day down in 10th.



1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - 141 points
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - 129 points 
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) - 93 points
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) - 73 points
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) - 67 points

1. Mercedes - 222 points
2. Ferrari - 214 points
3. Red Bull - 112 points
4. Force India - 71 points
5. Toro Rosso - 29 points


2016 (as the European Grand Prix): Nico Rosberg


Brilliant sunshine and high temperatures are expected across the weekend which could spell trouble for drivers with grip on the temporary surface likely to reduce.

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