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F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice results: Perez fastest in Baku

Sergio Perez set the fastest overall time for Red Bull during an incident-packed opening day of Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice in Baku on Friday, the sixth round of the 2021 Formula 1 world championship season.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Both Friday practice sessions have each been cut to one hour in 2021, instead of the usual 90 minutes each.

FP1 was topped by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, while team-mate Perez was fastest in FP2 – as title rivals Mercedes seriously struggled for pace and languished outside of the top 10 in the overall times.

F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix FP1 results: Verstappen fastest from Leclerc

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 19 1'43.184    
2 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 20 1'43.227 0.043 0.043
3 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 20 1'43.521 0.337 0.294
4 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 17 1'43.630 0.446 0.109
5 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 25 1'43.732 0.548 0.102
6 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 23 1'43.757 0.573 0.025
7 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 20 1'43.893 0.709 0.136
8 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 20 1'43.996 0.812 0.103
9 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 25 1'44.777 1.593 0.781
10 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 20 1'44.891 1.707 0.114
11 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 18 1'44.943 1.759 0.052
12 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 20 1'45.092 1.908 0.149
13 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 23 1'45.234 2.050 0.142
14 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 25 1'45.384 2.200 0.150
15 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 24 1'45.415 2.231 0.031
16 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 23 1'45.446 2.262 0.031
17 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 24 1'45.452 2.268 0.006
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 22 1'45.774 2.590 0.322
19 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 20 1'46.899 3.715 1.125
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 18 1'46.945 3.761 0.046

What happened in Free Practice 1?

Lewis Hamilton set the soft-tyred benchmark for Mercedes at 1m43.893s after 20 minutes.

The first incident of the session was rookie Yuki Tsunoda clipping the wall approaching Turn 4 in his AlphaTauri and he spent an age in the escape road, repeatedly struggling to find reverse. Just after he got going, Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel outbraked himself at Turn 1 but was soon on his way again.

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo spent a morale-boosting period at P1 on 1m43.732s. Team-mate Norris was on a faster lap when he spun at Turn 16, just keeping it out of the wall.

Ferrari then claimed a 1-2, with Charles Leclerc’s 1m43.227s a third-of-a-second clear of Carlos Sainz Jr. Hamilton was also on a quick lap when he opted to go straight on at Turn 15, as did Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and, late on in the session, Sainz.

Verstappen, who had a number of laps thwarted by traffic much to his disgust, went to the top of the times with 10 minutes remaining after producing 1m43.184s. Behind him, and benefiting from a distant tow, team-mate Sergio Perez went fourth quickest. Ricciardo stayed fifth, ahead of Gasly.

Hamilton was seventh, ahead of Norris, Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes).

Nikita Mazepin spun his Haas in the wall at Turn 16 in the closing stages, while team-mate Mick Schumacher outbraked himself at Turn 4. Bottas and Norris went off in tandem at Turn 4.

F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix FP2 results: Perez fastest from Verstappen

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval
1 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 22 1'42.115    
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 23 1'42.216 0.101 0.101
3 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 24 1'42.243 0.128 0.027
4 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 22 1'42.436 0.321 0.193
5 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 26 1'42.534 0.419 0.098
6 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 24 1'42.693 0.578 0.159
7 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 25 1'42.941 0.826 0.248
8 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 24 1'43.018 0.903 0.077
9 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 23 1'43.020 0.905 0.002
10 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 25 1'43.130 1.015 0.110
11 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 24 1'43.156 1.041 0.026
12 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 23 1'43.220 1.105 0.064
13 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 23 1'43.298 1.183 0.078
14 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 21 1'43.812 1.697 0.514
15 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 22 1'43.881 1.766 0.069
16 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 23 1'44.184 2.069 0.303
17 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 24 1'44.557 2.442 0.373
18 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 23 1'45.563 3.448 1.006
19 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 12 1'46.095 3.980 0.532
20 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 5 1'46.983 4.868 0.888

What happened in Free Practice 2?

In FP2, Bottas went off at Turn 1 on his first flying lap attempt and Norris bailed out down the escape road at Turn 15. Vettel spun at Turn 16 as the early incidents came thick and fast.

Nicholas Latifi caused a red flag when his Williams suffered a mechanical issue and was stranded on track.

After a quick break, Sainz bolted on the soft tyres and set the pace at 1m42.243s, with Leclerc popping into second, 0.193s down. Leclerc then set the fastest first sector on his second push lap but locked up and slid into the wall at Turn 15, leaving his front wing behind after crunching head-on into the tyres.

Perez jumped up to P1 at his second attempt, producing a time of 1m42.115s, with Verstappen 0.101s slower. Sainz and Leclerc were third and fourth respectively.

Gasly was fifth fastest, despite another trip down the Turn 15 escape road, ahead of Alonso, an impressive Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), Norris, Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) who went off again late on but managed to perform a decent spin-turn this time to rejoin.

Hamilton struggled for pace at the second street race weekend in succession, reporting that he “didn’t really know where the time is to be honest” on the soft tyre. He finished the session 11th, with Bottas down in 16th.

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