Max Verstappen crashes OUT of final practice in Azerbaijan as Red Bull face race against time to repair the championship leader’s car ahead of qualifying… while Lewis Hamilton places third
- Qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix is set to take place on Saturday in Baku
- In the morning’s practice session, Max Verstappen hit the wall with his Red Bull
- The Monaco winner went too fast into Turn 15 and suffered suspension damage
- Red Bull must now race to repair the car in time for the qualifying session
Max Verstappen’s preparations for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix were dealt a major blow after he crashed out of final practice.
The Formula One World Championship leader carried too much speed through the left-handed Turn 15 and hit the barrier.
Verstappen was unable to reverse away from the accident and the session was red-flagged with 30 minutes remaining.
Max Verstappen crashed in final practice ahead of the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Saturday
The Dutch driver ended up in the barriers at Turn 15 before the session was red-flagged
Verstappen (left) will now have an anxious wait to see if his Red Bull team can repair his car
Verstappen’s Red Bull team will now face a race against time to ensure his car is ready for qualifying, which takes place at 1pm.
Verstappen, who holds a four-point lead over Lewis Hamilton heading into Sunday’s race, suffered suspension damage in the accident.
After leaving his cockpit, Verstappen sat hunched over on a concrete block as he pondered just how big of a blow his practice crash might be ahead of the sixth round of the campaign in Baku.
The Dutchman secured his first victory at Monaco in the last round, and will be keen to build on his momentum as he takes the fight to Mercedes.
Red Bull are now frantically working on the car, aiming to get Verstappen back on the track
In Verstappen’s absence, the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly finished as the surprise pace setter, ending the running three-tenths clear of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, with Hamilton third.
However, the world champion benefitted from a mighty tow off the back of Perez’s Red Bull on the long drag to the finish line, with his Mercedes team still appearing to struggle for pace.
Indeed, Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished only 13th, 1.5 seconds off the pace.
Lewis Hamilton finished third in practice and will be looking to capitalise on Verstappen’s error
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