2022 FP1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix report and highlights: Perez leads Leclerc and Verstappen in Baku practice opener

2022 FP1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix report and highlights: Perez leads Leclerc and Verstappen in Baku practice opener

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 in second.

Perez, winner not just in Monaco last time out but at this same venue in 2021, used the soft tires to go fastest – 0.127s ahead of Leclerc, with championship leader Max Verstappen three tenths off third.

READ MORE: Perez says he has ‘good opportunity’ to win 2022 title after signing Red Bull contract extension

Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), who like the rest of the top 10 set his best time on soft tyres, finished fourth with Fernando Alonso (Alpine) who moved up to P5 very late in the session.

Alonso’s late jump propelled Lewis Hamilton to P6, the Mercedes one of several cars that appeared to bounce back aggressively, particularly on the nearly 2km straight, as several drivers commented on the windy conditions.

1


Sergio
Perez
BY
Running of the red bulls

1:45.476

2


Charles
Leclerc
LEC
Ferrari

+0.127s

3


Max
Verstappen
WORM
Running of the red bulls

+0.334s

4


Carlos
sainz
SAI
Ferrari

+0.536s

5


Fernando
Alonso
Hello
Alpine

+1.095s

Yuki Tsunoda finished seventh in the leading AlphaTauri, a fraction ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly – the Frenchman having taken an escape route earlier to finish ahead of compatriot Esteban Ocon (Alpine, P10).

READ MORE: Gasly calls Perez contract deal ‘logical’ as he plans further talks with Red Bull management

Lando Norris was 11th, 2.2 seconds off the pace, with McLaren team-mate Daniel Ricciardo – who commented on his future in the team on Thursday – in 18th.

Lance Stroll gently kissed the barriers at turn 15 but was able to continue his session as planned. He was 12th, a fraction ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Sebastian Vettel – both Aston Martin drivers having set their times on mediums.

Azerbaijan GP 2022 FP1: Schumacher hit by leak in first practice

Valtteri Bottas was top Alfa Romeo – the team running a one-off special livery in Baku as part of their SUV launch – in 15th with team-mate Zhou Guanyu a tenth in P16.

Alex Albon was a few tenths of a second slower, when he finished 17th. Williams team-mate Nicholas Latifi’s weekend got off to a frustrating start as he lost valuable track time when his car “just died” with just seven laps on the clock.

READ MORE: Why Leclerc and Verstappen have unfinished business in Baku

There was also pain for Mick Schumacher, the German was forced to park his Haas on the track with a suspected water pressure issue before he had the chance to set a competitive lap time.

Second practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix will take place later Friday at 6:00 p.m. local time.

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