Baku, FP1: Verstappen quickest in first practice for Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Leclerc 2nd, Sainz 3rd
Formula 1 Driver’s championship leader Max Verstappen set the fastest lap of the first practice session for this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz at the Baku Street Circuit.
The session on the streets beside the shores of the Caspian Sea was held in windy conditions and on a temporary track severely lacking in grip early on.
There was a spin for AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda with the Japanese driver running out of road at Turn 4 before getting stuck in the run-off area as the half way mark in the session arrived.
Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel also went long, this time in Turn 1, and the German was forced to used the escape road there. Defending F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, team-mate Valtteri Bottas and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly also had off-track moments during the session.
As the grip began to improve times fell and as the session moved into the final half hour, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo took top spot with a lap of 1:43.732 set on this weekend’s C5 soft compound tyre.
The Australian’s team-mate Lando Norris might have gone quicker but the Briton spun at the final corner, though he managed to stay out of the barriers.
The Ferrari drivers then claimed 1-2 spots on the timesheet with Leclerc leading the way with a lap of 1:43.227 ahead of Sainz’s 1:43.521s.
But in the final 10 minutes Verstappen used soft tyres to jump to the top of the order with a lap of 1:43.184, 0.043s ahead of Leclerc and three tenths quicker than Sainz.
Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Pérez took fourth place with a lap of 1:43.630, a tenth quicker than Ricciardo, while Pierre Gasly was sixth, a couple of hundredths of a second further back. Hamilton finished the session in seventh place ahead of Norris, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Bottas.
|01||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RB16B||1:43.184||19|
|02||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF21||1:43.227||20|
|03||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari SF21||1:43.521||20|
|04||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull Honda RB16B||1:43.630||17|
|05||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren Mercedes MCL35M||1:43.732||25|
|06||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda AT02||1:43.757||23|
|07||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W12||1:43.893||20|
|08||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL35M||1:43.996||20|
|09||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault A521||1:44.777||25|
|10||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes W12||1:44.891||20|
|11||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41||1:44.943||18|
|12||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41||1:45.092||20|
|13||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21||1:45.234||23|
|14||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri Honda AT02||1:45.384||25|
|15||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21||1:45.415||24|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A521||1:45.446||23|
|17||George Russell||Williams Mercedes FW43B||1:45.452||24|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW43B||1:45.774||22|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari VF-21||1:46.899||20|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas Ferrari VF-21||1:46.945||18|