Leclerc leads Ferrari one-two in Azerbaijan GP practice

Ferrari F1 driver Sebastian Vettel

Both the Mercedes drivers and Vettel were putting in solid times as they sought to narrow the gap to Leclerc before his stop.

No driver has won from pole so far this season while retired champion Nico Rosberg in 2016 is the only driver to have converted pole to victory in Baku.

"Very clearly it's been a bad weekend", team boss Cyril Abiteboul said.

The two-lap VSC also helped Bottas by giving him an extra one second over his pursuers, presumably as it ended in a favourable position for the leader.

Leclerc's teammate Sebastian Vettel finished third on an evening Ferrari, in front of their new chairman John Elkann, will want to forget.

"It was never really working". So, it seems that for us it's more of a conscious effort to get the auto in the right window, whereas maybe for them it seems to click a little bit easier.

Both Bottas and Hamilton were pipped to the fastest lap by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who pitted for that exact goal, but the Mercedes drivers continue their dominance at the top of the standings.

Bottas will lead an all-Mercedes front row for Sunday's race in Baku, as his team seek a record-breaking fourth-straight one-two finish to begin the 2019 season.

Antonio Giovinazzi was eighth ahead of Alfa Romeo team-mate Kimi Raikkonen with Leclerc taking 10th despite not running in the session.

That should bring Kubica's Qualifying session to the end, with a lot to do during the race, as he would be starting from the back.

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Sunday's race was nothing like that.

Bottas was challenged by team mate Lewis Hamilton at the start but held on to the lead after they battled through the opening two corners.

Gasly had charged from the pitlane up to a comfortable sixth but his Red Bull, fitted with an upgraded Honda engine for this weekend, had to be parked up on lap 39.

Television replays showed that the cover had already been loosened by Charles Leclerc's Ferrari.

"I think that when you send a auto out on a race track that you should have the understanding that your vehicle is not going to be damaged by that race track in that way".

Bottas kept Hamilton at arm's length until pitting on lap 12, one lap after Vettel and one lap before Hamilton.

When there was a collision, it was more farce than Formula One.

In a moment of panic, the Australian tried to recover his race as quickly as possible and engaged reverse in his Renault R.S.19 and moved back, clattering into the Kvyat's Toro Rosso which was still stuck behind him.

"Of course with many safety cars and many accidents, you have to be there so you have to be a bit lucky as well".

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