Verstappen edges Ferrari duo to top first practice
Following his dominant display at the Monaco Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen started his Baku race weekend in perfect style, ending the first practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on top.
After his struggles at Monte Carlo, Lewis Hamilton seemed to enjoy the Baku street circuit in the first stages of the session. The seven-time world champion used Pirelli's soft compound to get acquainted with the fast street track and was almost a second faster then hist closest rival in the first minutes.
However, Ferrari sent his drivers out on to the track on the soft compound with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz capitalizing on the their second set of fresh tyres. The Ferrari duo flew to the top of the timesheets, setting impressive sector times in the challenging middle part of the track.
When Verstappen headed out on the pits on softs with 15 minutes of FP1 to go, the Dutchman could respond to Ferrari's benchmark, stopping the clocks at 1m 43.184s to go fastest in the opening session.
Sergio Perez seemed tob e more confident in his RB16B after struggling for sheer pace in Monaco. The Mexican notched up 17 laps in total, finishing fourth in the first practice.
Despite the dominant display from Hamilton in the first stages of the session. Mercedes has a scrappy end to its opening practice. The Briton was on a very strong lap before he outbraked himself into Turn 15 to finish seventh with his best time over seventh-tenths off Verstappen. His team mate Valtteri Bottas posted the 10th fastest lap, with more to come from the Finn after he ended up 1.707s adrift.
Haas drivers continued to struggle for pace despite the very different set of challenges at Baku. Mick Schumacher finished 3.7 down on the benchmark of Verstappen while his team mate Nikita Mazepin ended up just a few thousandths of a second behind.
|1||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:43.184||-||19|
|4||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:43.630||+0.446s||17|
|5||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:43.732||+0.548s||25|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Honda||1:43.757||+0.573s||23|
|8||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:43.996||+0.812s||20|
|9||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:44.777||+1.593s||25|
|11||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:44.943||+1.759s||18|
|12||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:45.092||+1.908s||20|
|13||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:45.234||+2.050s||23|
|14||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda||1:45.384||+2.200s||25|
|15||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:45.415||+2.231s||24|
|16||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:45.446||+2.262s||23|
|17||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||1:45.452||+2.268s||24|
|18||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:45.774||+2.590s||22|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:46.899||+3.715s||20|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||Haas Ferrari||1:46.945||+3.761s||18|