Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc topped the timesheet in the second practice session for this weekend’s FIA Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix as Red Bull Racing Sergio Pérez and Max Verstappen finished second and third at the Baku City Circuit.
The early phase of the afternoon session was largely conducted on medium compound Pirelli tyres and it was Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz who laid down the first representative marker with a lap of 1:46.705. He was swiftly bypassed by Alpine’s Fernando Alonso who posted a lap of 1:46.673s to sit 0.06s clear.
After brief appearances in P1 by AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Sainz returned to the top of the order after 11 minutes, with the Ferrari driver posting a lap of 1:45.118 on medium tyres. Pérez then claimed second place as Zhou Guanyu slotted into third for Alfa Romeo.
Leclerc though was finding a comfort zone with his F1-75 and with the Baku City Circuit. The Monegasque driver made the most of the first sector to post an impressive lap of 1:43.806. Alonso improved, too, but when the Alpine driver slotted into P2 he still found himself a second off Leclerc.
Championship leader Verstappen joined the action after 15 minutes and the Dutchman’s first effort put him within seven tenths of title rival Leclerc and his next effort left him just three hundredths of a second behind the Ferrari driver.
But then came the switch to soft compound rubber and when Leclerc bolted on a set of the red-banded Pirelli tyres he posted a lap of 1:43.224. The Red Bull drivers gave chase but in the end neither could find a way past that marker and Pérez ended up second with time of 1:43.472 and with Verstappen a little over a tenth further back in third. Alonso held onto fourth spot ahead of Sainz, but the Ferrari had backed out of his qualifying run in the final sector and he failed to set a true soft-tyre time.
Sixth place in the session went to AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, with the Frenchman finishing more than two tenths clear of George Russell in the lead Mercedes W13. Tsunoda ended the session in eighth place, with Alpines’ Esteban Ocon ninth ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris.
2022 FIA Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 24 1:43.224
2 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 22 1:43.472 0.248
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 18 1:43.580 0.356
4 Fernando Alonso Alpine 22 1:44.142 0.918
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 25 1:44.274 1.050
6 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 26 1:44.315 1.091
7 George Russell Mercedes 26 1:44.548 1.324
8 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 24 1:44.567 1.343
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine 24 1:44.609 1.385
10 Lando Norris McLaren 23 1:44.771 1.547
11 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 27 1:44.781 1.557
12 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 25 1:44.874 1.650
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 26 1:44.874 1.650
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 25 1:45.059 1.835
15 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 25 1:45.115 1.891
16 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 24 1:45.264 2.040
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas 26 1:45.588 2.364
18 Alex Albon Williams 13 1:46.397 3.173
19 Mick Schumacher Haas 21 1:46.425 3.201
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams 26 1:47.218 3.994
2022 FIA Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
Sergio Pérez went quickest in the opening practice session for this weekend’s FIA Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull Racing team-mate Max Verstappen.
The Monaco-winning Mexican driver, who last week also signed a two-year contract extension with Red Bull set a best time of 1:45.476 to beat Leclerc by 0.127s. Verstappen ended the session in third, over three tenths adrift of his team-mate.
The session on the punishing Baku City Circuit got off to a busy start with the bulk of drivers taking to the track in the first few minutes. Running was slowed after seven minutes when Mick Schumacher was forced to pull over at the side of the track in Turn 12 with fluid leaking from his Haas. The Virtual Safety Car was deployed while Schumacher’s car was recovered. The German driver was forced to sit out the remainder of the session.
When the green flags were shown again Verstappen set a new benchmark of 1:48.390 but the VSC was soon in play again, this time for Nicholas Latifi. The Canadian driver stopped on track at Turn 5 and like Schumacher he failed to return to the track before the chequered flag.
Once running resumed, championship leader Verstappen improved to 1:46.932 to take top spot, just seven hundredths of a second ahead of closest title rival Leclerc. That margin was then widened as the Dutch driver posted a lap of 1:46.477 to put half a second between him and the Monegasque racer.
Pérez then edged the Ferrari driver out of second place. The Mexican was, however, using medium tyres while Ferrari ran on the C3 hard compound in the first half of the hour-long session.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, Pérez leaped to the top of the order with his best lap of 1:45.476 and Leclerc improved to push Verstappen out to third place.
Fourth place on the timesheet went to Carlos Sainz in the other Ferrari. The Spaniard noticeably struggled with porpoising on the long straights, however. Sainz’s compatriot Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who also suffered violent porpoising in his Mercedes W13. AlpahTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda took seventh place, ahead of George Russell in the other Mercedes in eighth while AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon completed the top 10.
1 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 21 1:45.476
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 21 1:45.603 0.127
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 25 1:45.810 0.334
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 22 1:46.012 0.536
5 Fernando Alonso Alpine 22 1:46.571 1.095
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 21 1:46.667 1.191
7 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 25 1:46.696 1.220
8 George Russell Mercedes 24 1:46.705 1.229
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 25 1:46.830 1.354
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine 21 1:46.917 1.441
11 Lando Norris McLaren 19 1:47.691 2.215
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 24 1:47.847 2.371
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 24 1:47.946 2.470
14 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 22 1:47.970 2.494
15 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 22 1:48.078 2.602
16 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 24 1:48.222 2.746
17 Alex Albon Williams 22 1:48.419 2.943
18 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 22 1:48.810 3.334
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams 7 1:50.921 5.445
20 Mick Schumacher Haas 3 1:58.332 12.856