BAKU, Azerbaijan – Sergio Perez put Red Bull Racing at the top of the Formula One practice charts on the opening day of Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend at the Baku City Circuit on Friday.
Perez led the second practice and was fastest overall with a quick lap of 1:42.115 around the street circuit. Championship leader and his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen was second fastest, .101 seconds off the pace set by Perez.
“I’m happy with today and I think we’ve definitely made some good progress,” Perez said. “We did a very good analysis after Monaco and today felt like I am understanding the car more and how I need to drive it. I think this is probably the best Friday of the season for me, it’s the most complete in terms of data and how comfortable I feel with the car. Hopefully we can get a good, clean lap in qualifying tomorrow which is when it matters, but we’ll still work hard tonight to improve and try to find some more lap time.”
Following a strong but disappointing performance in Monaco, the Ferrari team was also impressive as teammates Carlos Sainz Jr. and Charles Leclerc were third and fourth fastest, respectively.
AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly was fifth fastest overall, followed by Fernando Alonso, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, McLaren’s Lando Norris, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda.
Mercedes seemed to struggle for speed throughout both practice sessions, with defending Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton only managing the 11th fastest time in the second session and the seventh fastest lap in the first session. His teammate, Valtteri Bottas, faired no better as he was 10th fastest in the first session and 16th in the second practice.