FP3: Perez tops final practice to demonstrate Red Bull's dominance in Baku

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Azerbaijan, Baku Street Circuitaz

Monaco race winner Sergio Perez outpaced Ferrari's Charles Leclerc to top the final practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with championship leader Max Verstappen finishing the session third fastest.

FP3 was delayed by 15 minutes while barrier repair works were carried out at Turn 1 following a crash in an earlier F2 race.

When the session got going, the majority of the field rolled out of the garage on Pirelli’s red-walled soft compound. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc led the field initially, but Max Verstappen snatched the lead away when he joined the track after spending the first twenty minutes of the session in the Red Bull garage.

In preparation for the qualifying session, the entire field opted for the soft rubber for the second run. The Red Bull looked quick once again, setting the pace not only in the last sector, but showing great speed through the slower sections of the first half of the lap as well.

In the end, it was Sergio Perez who set the benchmark of the session, posting a time of 1m43.170s with Leclerc 70 thousands of a second adrift of the Mexican. Verstappen ended up only third fastest, albeit his last flying lap that could have seen him fly to the top of the leaderboard was hindered by heavy traffic in the middle sector. Carlos Sainz took 4th as he appeared to lack pace to his three direct rivals.

McLaren impressed in the final practice with its improved pace. Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth and sixth fastest, albeit the gap to Perez’s benchmark was over 1.2s.

There was nothing to choose between the drivers of the midfield. AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly headed the best of the rest behind the McLaren duo, but he was closely followed by the Mercedes, Alpine Aston Martin drivers.

Despite his strong showing on Friday, Fernando Alonso struggled for pace in the final practice, finishing only in 11, almost two tenths of a second behind his team mate Esteban Ocon.

His former team mate Lewis Hamilton also had a difficult time in the ultimate 60-minute practice with the Briton ending up 12th fastest directly behind Alonso. However, there is more to come from the seven-time world champion as his race engineer Peter Bonnington confirmed over the radio that Hamilton was using a lower engine mode to spare the power unit.

Just as yesterday, Haas and Alfa Romeo appeared to be off the pace in Baku with Zhou Guanyu, Kevin Magnussen, Mick Schumacher and Valtteri Bottas finishing the session in P14, P15, P18 and P19. Williams driver Alexander Albon took 17th with his team mate Nicholas Latifi rounding out the leaderboard.


111Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:43.17018
216Charles LeclercFerrari1:43.240+0.070s19
31Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:43.449+0.279s14
455Carlos SainzFerrari1:43.596+0.426s19
54Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:44.418+1.248s13
63Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:44.476+1.306s19
710Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Rbpt1:44.491+1.321s21
863George RussellMercedes1:44.573+1.403s17
931Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:44.685+1.515s15
105Sebastian VettelAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:44.689+1.519s18
1114Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:44.842+1.672s14
1244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:44.845+1.675s19
1318Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:44.879+1.709s17
1424Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:44.913+1.743s18
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:44.919+1.749s17
1622Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Rbpt1:44.964+1.794s20
1723Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:45.479+2.309s17
1847Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:45.532+2.362s19
1977Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:45.574+2.404s17
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:46.070+2.900s17