Ricciardo leads the way in Baku practice
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo staked his claim to a repeat Azerbaijan Grand Prix victory with the fastest time in Friday practice while Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton remained off the pace.
Strong start: Daniel Ricciardo.
Man of the moment after winning in China two weekends ago, the Australian lapped the fast straights and turns of the street circuit with a best time of one minute 42.795 seconds on ultrasoft tyres.
"I think we can still find a little bit more but generally I was happy and I think it's going to be quite a close battle tomorrow and Sunday," said Ricciardo.
"This was all we could ask for today. It is encouraging even if we don't qualify on the front row tomorrow as I think the race car will be very strong."
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was second fastest on a cool and gusty evening, a mere 0.069 slower, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen coming back strongly from an earlier crash with the third best time.
Finland's Valtteri Bottas, who was quickest in the opening session for Mercedes in a time of 1:44.242 that he said was a 'bit messy', was fourth while team mate Hamilton could manage only fifth.
"We're not quick enough. Red Bull's definitely quite a bit ahead and I couldn't match their time today," said Hamilton, who is nine points adrift of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel after three races. "So we've got some work to do.
"I'm going to be knocking on the door of all the engineers tonight, pushing them. I hope I can get them to make some changes," added the Briton, whose team have yet to win this year.
Ricciardo, winner of a chaotic race in Baku last year, had been a 0.035 of a second slower than Bottas in the first practice.
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