Mercedes were head and shoulder clear of the pack during free practice for the European Grand Prix, while Williams and Force India appear to be the surprise package of the weekend.
With Ferrari and Red Bull struggling with getting temperatures into their tyres, the two UK-based outfits emerged as Mercedes’ clearest challenger in Azerbaijan.
However, a lot may change between Friday practice and Sunday with team continuing to experiment with setup changes on the newly-laid Baku City Circuit.
On the supersoft compound, Hamilton was comfortably quickest of the lot, with an average time of 1:48.585. However, his lap time paints a slightly deceptive picture, given his stint lasted a mere seven laps.
Valtteri Bottas, in comparison, spent a mammoth 18 laps on the red-striped rubber, testing the durability of the compound. Quite impressive, his average lap time was nearly half a second quicker than Kimi Raikkonen, whose stint was considerably shorter.
Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull was well off the pace, as predicted by motorsport advisor Helmut Marko.
Hamilton - 1:48.585 (7)
Bottas - 1:49.973 (18)
Raikkonen 1:50.450 (9)
Ricciardo 1:51.534 (9)
On the soft compound, Hamilton was again the man to beat, being the only one to dip into the 1:48s. However, since the Englishman did long runs on both sets of compounds, each of his stints was relatively shorter than rivals.
Force India caught the eye by finishing third and fifth in FP2 and their long run pace proved that they might well be in contention for a strong haul of points in Baku. On a 12 lap stint that included a cool down lap, Hulkenberg set an average time of 1:49.061 with amazing consistency.
Rosberg was half a second slower while Vettel’s pace was satisfactory on a 15 lap stint.
Hamilton - 1:48.356 (7)
Hulkenberg - 1:49.061 (12)
Rosberg - 1:49.502 (9)
Vettel - 1:49.485 (15)
Massa: 1:50.409 (7)