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F1 | Azerbaijan GP | Perez leads the way, with Leclerc and Verstappen following behind

A strong Red Bull, two mechanical issues and a struggling Mercedes in the first day of running in Baku.

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F1 | Azerbaijan GP | Perez leads the way, with Leclerc and Verstappen following behind
Fuente imagen: @RedBullRacing

F1 is back on track for the 8th round of the season for the first free practice session of the Azerbaiyan Grand Prix running on a warm and dry Baku City Circuit.

Cars head out immediately sporting medium tyres, only exceptions are  Ferrari and Aston Martin who have gone respectively for hards and softs.

First time on the board is Daniel Ricciardo’s who sets a 1m52.890s, while the quickest opening lap is Max Verstappen’s 1m48.574s. Kevin Magnussen and his Haas are the last to join the track and have barely the time for a first run when the session is put under virtual Safety car as the other VF-22 is forced to stop for what seems like a mechanical  issue.

Action resumes after a brief pause and Verstappen is quick to register purple sectors and stay fastest with a 1m46.932s lap, followed by Leclerc and Perez. As the wind is getting “insane”, as reported by Verstappen on the radio, another Virtual Safety car is called out for a mechanical issue, this time on Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

The session is back underway at normal speed and Sainz is the first to improve as he goes 4th fastest, only to be beaten by Gasly’s time. Meanwhile Russel is behind in P17 and Perez has put his Red Bull right behind leader Max Verstappen.

Both Mercedes and Ferrari seems to be struggling more with porposing while things are running smoothly for Red Bull. Same struggle is reported by Gasly and Magnussen, who are respectively P4 and P10 halfway through the session.

Verstappen comes out of the pits with a set of Softs and improves his time to 1m45.810s, but the top spot is taken by his teammate Sergio Perez. Soft tyres for Sainz and Leclerc as well with the latter moving up to P2 after a not so clean lap in which he was caught up in traffic.

A warning for Hamilton for crossing the pitlane entry line as he puts his Mercedes up to P5. Vettel is caught in traffic with an Alpha, while Ricciardo is struggling to find pace and sits at the back of the timesheet.

Last to switch to a softer compound are the Alpines: it’s P8 for Alonso and P10 for Ocon with Russell slitting them, while last run in this FP1 Gasly has a lock-up and runs into the escape road, but is able to rejoin the circuit.

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