European GP | Hamilton remains on top as Perez ends FP3 with a crash

Final free practice for the European Grand Prix topped by Lewis Hamilton.

After changes were made to the kerbs in Baku, Lewis Hamilton topped the final practice time sheet. The final session though was not clear of drama as a cable duct cover flicked up and punctured a hole in Bottas’ side-pod.  

Overnight changes to the track were made following a kerb inspection on Friday by the FIA. The inspection found lose bolts and non-flush edges to the metal kerbs, which had been cutting the thread of the Pirelli tyres during FP1.

As a result, the pit exit kerb along with turns 6 and 12 were altered to have the metal kerbs removed in place of painted kerbs. The pit entry and exit lines were also extended after drivers raised concerns of the pit entry line not being visible enough while taking the main straight flat out.

The changes though allowed drivers to attack turns 6 and 12 more easily in FP3, with the session getting off to a poor start when a cable duct in the pit lane entry flicked up as Valtteri Bottas drove over it. The incident broke parts of the Williams’ front wing as well as puncturing a hole in the side-pod, ending his session early on.

Another early victim of the Baku city circuit, although not terminal, was Sergio Perez. The Mexican was amongst the early runners and was one of the first to overdo the entry to turn one, forcing the driver to take to the run off.

Perez’s session though ended with a crash at turn 15, the same place Ricciardo crashed out of the first practice session. For Sergio, he carried too much speed into the entry and slightly over-ran the exit, clipping the tecpro barrier and damaging the rear of the car.

On the lap Sergio crashed out of the session, he had matched the first sector time of the pace setting Lewis Hamilton and was over half a second up on his team-mate to that point on a lap that could have promoted the Mexican to third.

Lewis Hamilton’s late flyer on brand new super-softs allowed the Friday pace setter to retain his 100% P1 record so far in Baku.

Super-soft tyres for Mercedes throughout the session ensured the manufacturer held an on average one second lead over their nearest rival. With Hulkenberg and Ricciardo fighting over third place honors throughout the session.

McLaren again showed glimpses of pace throughout the final hour of practice for the European Grand Prix. With Button able to go fourth fastest early on, before ending the hour in eighth place.

Pos Driver Laps Time Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton 17 1’44.352
2 Nico Rosberg 22 1’44.610 0.258
3 Nico Hulkenberg 18 1’45.540 1.188
4 Daniel Ricciardo 13 1’45.620 1.268
5 Sebastian Vettel 20 1’45.630 1.278
6 Sergio Perez 17 1’45.735 1.383
7 Max Verstappen 14 1’45.901 1.549
8 Jenson Button 17 1’45.954 1.602
9 Daniil Kvyat 19 1’45.981 1.629
10 Kimi Raikkonen 16 1’46.024 1.672
11 Fernando Alonso 16 1’46.131 1.779
12 Carlos Sainz Jr. 17 1’46.190 1.838
13 Romain Grosjean 21 1’46.361 2.009
14 Felipe Massa 20 1’46.510 2.158
15 Esteban Gutierrez 21 1’46.670 2.318
16 Kevin Magnussen 16 1’47.024 2.672
17 Pascal Wehrlein 19 1’47.100 2.748
18 Jolyon Palmer 18 1’47.158 2.806
19 Marcus Ericsson 14 1’47.328 2.976
20 Felipe Nasr 18 1’47.379 3.027
21 Rio Haryanto 18 1’47.556 3.204
22 Valtteri Bottas 1