Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen has set the fastest lap of the Azerbaijan GP FP1 session.
Formula 1 is finally back to the streets of Baku for the Azerbaijan GP. The race weekend started with FP1 on Friday.
The session got underway, so the drivers went straight to the race track, which was absent in the 2020 season. Charles Leclerc took the early lead in the practice, followed by his teammate Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris. The Ferrari drivers were exchanging fastest laps in the opening stages. The Virtual Safety Car was deployed to allow marshals to remove the debris from the surface.
Lewis Hamilton wanted to have a redemption after a difficult Monaco GP, so he wasted no time and started setting the pace. The drivers were trying to find the limits at Baku City Circuit, so they had made some mistakes and wide runs. Yuki Tsunoda’s session got a bit more stressful after going to the runoff area in sector 1 and forcing yellow flags. The young AlphaTauri driver struggled with the reverse gear, so it took quite some time for him to come back on track.
Later on, Daniel Ricciardo had a huge lap to get to the first position. Lando Norris was about to beat his teammate’s lap time but spun in turn 16. Eventually, Leclerc and Sainz got ahead. Hamilton and Gasly both had wide runs in turn 15. Max Verstappen barely got ahead of the Monegasque.
The wind intensified, which triggered numerous incidents. Nikita Mazepin had a contact with the barrier in turn 16 at the end of the practice and had likely damaged the rear end of his car. His teammate Mick Schumacher went into the runoff area.
In the end, Verstappen was the quickest driver of the opening free practice in Baku. He was followed by Leclerc and Sainz in the top 3.
The top 10 of the Azerbaijan GP FP1:
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||1:43.184|
|4||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing||+0.446|