Red Bull’s Sergio Perez continued his rich vein of form as he topped the timesheets in opening practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc slotting into second.
Perez, winner not only at Monaco last time out but at this very venue in 2021, used the soft tyres to go quickest – 0.127s ahead of Leclerc, with championship leader Max Verstappen three tenths adrift in third.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who like the rest of the top 10, set his best time using soft tyres, was fourth with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso shooting up to P5 very late in the session.
Alonso’s late jump bumped Lewis Hamilton to P6, the Mercedes one of a number of cars that appeared to be aggressively bouncing, particularly on the near-2km straight, while several drivers commented on the windy conditions.
FORMULA 1 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX 2022
Practice 1 results
|1 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing||1:45.476|
|2 Charles LECLERC Ferrari||+0.127s|
|3 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||+0.334s|
|4 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari||+0.536s|
|5 Fernando ALONSO Alpine||+1.095s|
Yuki Tsunoda was an impressive seventh in the leading AlphaTauri, a fraction ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly – the Frenchman having taken a trip down an escape road earlier on to finish ahead of compatriot Esteban Ocon (Alpine, P10).
Lando Norris was 11th, 2.2s off the pace, with his McLaren team mate Daniel Ricciardo – who addressed comments about his future at the team on Thursday – down in 18th.
Lance Stroll gently kissed the barriers at Turn 15 but was able to continue with his session as planned. He was 12th, a fraction clear of Haas’s Kevin Magnussen and Sebastian Vettel – both Aston Martin drivers having set their times on mediums.