F1 – Leclerc takes over at the top in Baku ahead of Red Bulls

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

Source : Fia