Bottas fastest ahead of Raikkonen in final practice in Baku

Turn 8 is proving a little too narrow for some at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Bottas fastest ahead of Raikkonen in final practice in Baku

Mercedes Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas speaks during a news conference ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, June 22, 2017.

And while a future seat with Ferrari does not seem to be beyond the realms of possibility, Hamilton insists he remains more than happy at Mercedes and is now more focused on how to consistently outwit the resurgent Italians rather than thinking about pulling on those famous red overalls.

The three-time world champion's victory at the Canadian Grand Prix earlier this month - his sixth at the Montreal track - hauled him back within 12 points of championship leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and sharpened his appetite for a maiden success on the streets of Baku, the only venue on the current calendar where he has never won.

Although Verstappen set the fastest times in both sessions, the Dutchman ended the afternoon in the wall at turn one on an otherwise impressive day for his Red Bull team.

"That was one of the most exciting laps that I've had all year", he told Sky Sports.

"I thought the hunger might drop off after I matched him (Senna)", Hamilton said.

Lewis Hamilton of Britain and Mercedes GP smiles during a press conference at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, just outside Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, May 11, 2017.

"From lap one I felt really good in the vehicle, even though in the short runs in practice I could not take the maximum out of it because of traffic and yellow flags and stuff, so we can be quite happy with this". I locked up and I was still trying to make the corner and then I chose to play it safe and take the exit road. "It will be a hard race, but we are in the best position to start".

Lake Fire held at 800 acres
No evacuations have been ordered and there are no road closures, but the upper northeastern portion of the lake has been closed. An updated figured from Angeles National Forest officials might not be released until early evening, depending on the progress.

But with Raikkonen also more than half a second behind Bottas, Mercedes had a clear edge in single lap pace.

"I think they (Ferrari) still are favourites in terms of the fact their auto seems to work everywhere".

Bottas has had the best of Hamilton on two of the three street circuits that Formula 1 has visited in 2017 - victory in Russian Federation and fourth place in Monaco compared to Hamilton's fourth and seventh, respectively - just +0.100 behind Max Verstappen's Red Bull. "We are seeing a really good year this year, and I hope and pray that next year and the following seasons are going to be close like this".

Referring to this year's "new era" auto, Wolff admitted it had posed challenges for the team and the drivers with its contrary and temperamental nature: happy and triumphant one week, sulky and unresponsive the next.

Jolyon Palmer was not able to post a time and missed qualifying after his Renault caught fire in final practice.

Alonso, who is already due to start Sunday's race from the back of the grid following a series of engine penalties, launched his headrest out of his McLaren as he ground to a halt.

Romain Grosjean was 17th for Haas, struggling to find a balance, while Sauber's Marcus Ericsson was 18th.

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