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Azerbaijan GP: Sergio Pérez outclasses Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen in practice one in Baku

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Sergio Pérez’s strong performance in the opening session in Baku comes after his win at the Monaco GP last month; Charles Leclerc was second with Max Verstappen third; watch practice two live on Sky Sports F1 at 3pm, with preparation starting at 2.45pm

Last update: 06/10/22 14:51

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Sky F1's Karun Chandhok recalls key moments from first practice at the Baku City Circuit

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Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok recalls key moments from first practice at the Baku City Circuit

Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok recalls key moments from first practice at the Baku City Circuit

Sergio Pérez continued his strong form to overtake Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen in the opening practice session at the Azerbaijan GP.

Perez, buoyed by victory at the Monaco GP two weeks ago and the subsequent announcement of a two-year contract extension with Red Bull, was 0.1s quicker than Leclerc, with Verstappen 0.2s further behind.

The other Ferrari of Carlos Sainz followed Verstappen in fourth, while Mercedes endured a challenging session in Baku, as Lewis Hamilton could only manage sixth behind Fernando Alonso’s Alpine, with teammate George Russell eighth behind the Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri.

As well as being behind his team-mate, there was further concern for Verstappen, as his violently flexing rear wing appeared to attract the attention of rival teams and it looks like he will be investigated by the FIA.

The problem seemed to occur when Verstappen opened his rear wing in the DRS zone, but Pérez did not face the same problem. The Dutchman previously suffered from DRS problems during the Spanish Grand Prix and expressed frustration at the reliability issues the team has faced this season.

Max Verstappen caused controversy during P1 in Azerbaijan due to the massive rear wing flex on his Red Bull

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Max Verstappen caused controversy during P1 in Azerbaijan due to the massive rear wing flex on his Red Bull

Max Verstappen caused controversy during P1 in Azerbaijan due to the massive rear wing flex on his Red Bull

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the session, the Red Bull team principal admitted changes to Verstappen’s setup may need to be made to satisfy officials.

“Obviously we’ve seen it, we’ve got the data, we’ve got the comparison to Sergio’s wing, so I think there are some modifications we need to make just to make sure we eradicate that by this afternoon,” Horner said. he said.

“Weight is always a critical factor and you go after it, obviously, throughout the car.

“There was a difference between the cars so we just have to look at the set-up and stiffness and hopefully we can get over it this afternoon.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner spoke to Sky Sports F1 after the session.

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner spoke to Sky Sports F1 after the session.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner spoke to Sky Sports F1 after the session.

With the all-new 2022 F1 cars facing a street circuit for the second successive race after last month’s trip to Monaco, ride quality proved to be an issue as most teams struggled with severe bouncing down the straights.

Perhaps the most significant difference between the circuits is the long straights in Baku, which encourage teams to run with less downforce than in Monte Carlo.

Several drivers expressed their frustration via team radio during the session, but few more so than Verstappen, who arrives in Baku with a nine-point lead over Charles Leclerc at the top of the world championship, with Pérez a further six points behind.

Despite his frustration, it was Verstappen who topped the timesheets for much of the session, before Perez’s 1m45.476s propelled him into first place with 20 minutes to go, and Leclerc moved into second soon after. .

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes appears to be skipping across the surface during the opening practice session.

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Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes appears to be skipping across the surface during the opening practice session.

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes appears to be skipping across the surface during the opening practice session.

Mercedes went into the weekend hoping to produce a performance more akin to its improved display in Barcelona last month than its problems in Monaco that followed the Spanish GP.

However, problems quickly became apparent for the reigning constructors’ champions, with significant changes to the front suspension being carried out less than halfway through the session.

There was a little encouragement for the Silver Arrows in the closing stages of the session, with Hamilton moving up to fifth before being pushed by Alonso, but the Briton’s time was still nearly 1.2sec off Perez’s leading effort.

Having entered the weekend under pressure following a series of heavy crashes, Mick Schumacher’s session lasted just seven minutes before a pressure leak forced him to park his Haas at Turn 12.

Mick Schumacher was forced to retire from P1 in Baku after seeing a lot of water come out of his Haas.

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Mick Schumacher was forced to retire from P1 in Baku after seeing a lot of water come out of his Haas.

Mick Schumacher was forced to retire from P1 in Baku after seeing a lot of water come out of his Haas.

Schumacher’s technical issue was one of two brief breaks in the session, with Nicholas Latifi’s Williams also bringing out a virtual safety car after a sudden loss of power brought their session to an end after completing just six laps.

It was also a disappointing start to the weekend for McLaren, but particularly for Daniel Ricciardo, whose future with the team has been the subject of much speculation following criticism from CEO Zak Brown ahead of the Monaco GP.

Lando Norris could only manage eleventh place but was still more than a second quicker than Ricciardo, who was only followed by Latifi and Schumacher.

Azerbaijan GP Practice One time sheet

Driver Equipment Weather
1) Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:45,476
2) Charles Leclerc ferrari +0.127
3) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.334
4) Carlos Sainz ferrari +0.536
5) Fernando Alonso Alpine +1,095
6) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +1,191
7) Yuki Tsunoda alpha tauri +1,220
8) George Russell Mercedes +1,229
9) Pierre Gasley alpha tauri +1,354
10) Esteban Ocon Alpine +1,441
11) Lando Norris McLaren +2,215
12) Spear Walk Aston-Martin +2,371
13) Kevin Magnussen Haas +2,470
14) Sebastian Vettel Aston-Martin +2,494
15) Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo +2,602
16) Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo +2,746
17) Alejandro Albon Williams +2,943
18) Daniel Ricciardo McLaren +3,334
19) Nicholas Latifi Williams +5,445
20) Mick Schumacher Haas +12,856

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