Hamilton leads; Rosberg, Ferrari have issues in FP2 at Baku

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The story was much the same at the top of the leaderboard at a new circuit, with Lewis Hamilton leading second practice in the Mercedes W07 at the European Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The three-time World Champion clocked a 1:44.223 best lap around the new 3.7-mile, 20-turn street circuit, 0.680 of a second clear of Mercedes AMG Petronas Nico Rosberg and then with both factory Mercedes more than a second clear of the rest of the field.

Rosberg’s session ended early as with 20 minutes remaining, the German stopped on course at Turn 18 having reported a loss of drive.

Three more Mercedes power units completed the top five with Sahara Force India’s Sergio Perez in third and teammate Nico Hulkenberg in fifth, sandwiching Williams Martini Racing’s Valtteri Bottas in fourth.

Carlos Sainz Jr. was the top driver with a Ferrari power unit in sixth overall for Scuderia Toro Rosso, but Sainz was one of several drivers to run deep into a runoff during the session. The young Spaniard went off at the treacherous Turn 8 complex.

Factory Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were only eighth and 13th, with both encountering issues late in the session.

“Issue with the K, same as Kimi,” the team reported to Vettel in the final minute of the session.

What was the “same as Kimi” the Scuderia Ferrari team just mentioned? Raikkonen stopped on course with just over five minutes remaining, skidding into a runoff area while on Pirelli’s supersoft tires, with a heavy lockup. He managed not to hit anything.

Haas F1 Team also had a somewhat interesting session with Esteban Gutierrez first to tattoo the Turn 8 barrier with the right rear of the car, but the Mexican made it back home to the pit lane.

McLaren Honda’s Fernando Alonso had a clutch issue in the session, which temporarily interrupted the proceedings for him.

Despite kerbs reportedly coming up at the start of the session and with further evaluation coming from the race officials, the full 90-minute session ran as scheduled.

Times are below. Free practice three runs from 6 a.m. ET on Saturday morning via NBC Sports Live Extra, then qualifying from 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN.