Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2022 report and highlights: Perez leads Leclerc and Verstappen in opening Baku training

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez continued his rich style as he topped the schedule in the opening practice of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finishing second.

Perez, winner not only in Monaco last time but here in particular in 2021, used the soft tyres to achieve the fastest – 0.127secs ahead of Leclerc, with championship leader Max Verstappen three-tenths behind in third.

READ MORE: Perez says he has a ‘good chance’ of winning the 2022 title after signing Red Bull contract extension

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who like the rest of the top ten had his best time on soft tyres, finished fourth with Alpine team Fernando Alonso advancing to P5 very late in the course.

Alonso’s late jump into the P6 shocked Lewis Hamilton, the Mercedes one of a number of cars that appeared to be jumping hard, especially over nearly two kilometers in a row, while many drivers commented on the weather conditions.


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Yuki Tsunoda was an impressive seventh in the AlphaTauri flagship, narrowly ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell and AlphaTaur’s Pierre Gasly – after the Frenchman made an escape route earlier to finish ahead of compatriot Esteban Ocon (Alpine, P10) .

READ MORE: Gasly describes Perez’s contract deal as ‘logical’ as he plans further talks with Red Bull management

Lando Norris was 11th, 2.2 seconds off the lead, with fellow McLaren teammate Daniel Ricciardo – who spoke about comments about his future at the team on Thursday – in 18th place.

Lance Stroll gently accepted the hurdles at Turn 15 but was able to continue his session as planned. He was 12th, narrowly short of Haas driver Kevin Magnussen and Sebastian Vettel – both Aston Martin drivers who have set their times on the media.

2022 Azerbaijan GP FP1: Schumacher has a leak in first practice

Valtteri Bottas ranked first among Alfa Romeo – the team that performed a one-off special livery in Baku as part of the SUV launch – 15th with teammate Zhou Guanyu 10th in the P16.

Alex Albon was ten tenths of a second slower, moving up to 17th. Williams teammate Nicholas Latifi’s weekend got off to a frustrating start as he lost valuable time on the track when his car “just died” with just seven laps on the board.

Read more: Why Leclerc and Verstappen have unfinished business in Baku

There was pain for Mick Schumacher too, as the German was forced to park his Haas on track with a suspected water pressure problem before he had a chance to set a competitive lap time.

The second practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix will take place later on Friday at 1800 local time.

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