Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Baku City Circuit, 2022

Leclerc leads Red Bull pair in second Baku practice session

2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix second practice

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Charles Leclerc ended Friday’s first day of practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as the fastest driver with Sergio Perez second-quickest.

The Ferrari driver was a quarter of a second ahead of the Red Bull pair. Fernando Alonso ended a promising session for Alpine in fourth ahead of Carlos Sainz Jnr in the second Ferrari.

With the second and final practice session of the day starting at 6pm local time, the sun was already beginning its descent down past the high-rise buildings around Baku city. The ambient temperature was slightly lower than the earlier afternoon session, while the track was substantially cooler for the second hour of running.

On his first flying lap of the session, Lando Norris brought out the yellow flags by taking to the run-off at turn three, having to carry out a multiple-point-turn to recover back onto the track. Sebastian Vettel made a mistake under braking for the first turn and also had to turn around to get back onto the circuit.

As a street circuit, Baku is susceptible to the debris of everyday life making its way onto the circuit, as several drivers found. Sainz and Esteban Ocon both complained about plastic bags drifting around the race track getting caught on their cars.

Many teams opted to do long runs on the medium compound tyres. Leclerc used them to set the fastest time of a 1’43.806, almost half a second faster than team mate Sainz. First practice pace setter Perez split the Ferraris to go second, just over a tenth slower than Leclerc, before Verstappen improved to go second himself in the other Red Bull, by less than half a tenth.

The tricky turns and bumpy braking in Baku caught out many drivers during the session. Mick Schumacher ran off into the escape road at turn four, before Perez went off at turn one. Despite being fastest of all, Leclerc demonstrated how difficult the circuit could be by making a mistake into turn eight and also having to seek the sanctuary of the run-off.

Alexander Albon ended his session early in a bizarre incident at the harmless kink of turn 17, somehow hitting the inside wall on the apex of the kink and damaging his right-front wheel.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Baku City Circuit, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice in pictures
Eventually, it was time to put the soft tyres through their paces. Leclerc used the softs to improve his quickest overall time with a 1’43.224, before it was the turn of the Red Bulls. Verstappen’s first effort was ruined by his team mate having gone off the circuit at turn 15, forcing him to back off.

The challenging corner of turn 15 was a particular danger zone in the final phase of the session. Lance Stroll missed his braking point approaching the corner and had to reverse back onto the race track, before Sainz did the same in the final moments of the session.

By the time the chequered flag flew, Leclerc’s best time on softs was good enough to see him end Friday quickest of all ahead of Perez by a quarter of a second. Verstappen finished the session a further tenth behind, with Alonso in the Alpine in fourth ahead of Sainz.

Pierre Gasly ended the day sixth quickest for AlphaTauri, ahead of George Russell’s Mercedes and Yuki Tsunoda in the second AlphaTauri. Esteban Ocon’s Alpine and Lando Norris’s McLaren rounded out the top ten.

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2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix second practice result

116Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’43.22424
211Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’43.4720.24822
31Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’43.5800.35618
414Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’44.1420.91822
555Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’44.2741.05025
610Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’44.3151.09126
763George RussellMercedesW131’44.5481.32426
822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’44.5671.34324
931Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’44.6091.38524
104Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’44.7711.54723
115Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’44.7811.55727
1244Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’44.8741.65025
1318Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’44.8741.65026
143Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’45.0591.83525
1577Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’45.1151.89125
1624Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’45.2642.04024
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-221’45.5882.36426
1823Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW441’46.3973.17313
1947Mick SchumacherHaas-FerrariVF-221’46.4253.20121
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams-MercedesFW441’47.2183.99426

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2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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    Will Wood
    Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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    23 comments on “Leclerc leads Red Bull pair in second Baku practice session”

    1. playstation361
      10th June 2022, 16:50

      The last lap Leclerc drove looked very clean.

    2. Charles is always great here. Even if he gets the pole, tyre wear will be very important.

      1. Didn’t look to shabby for Charles on his long run on the softs. He was consistently lapping in the 1:47s on his 7 or 8 laps.

    3. Funny how now, that Red Bull is more stable and predictable, Perez is faster than Max.

      Max seems to be like Alonso – likes strange handling, but in a great car he is not much faster than a decent teammate, however in a dog car he is light years ahead.

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        10th June 2022, 17:34

        Isn’t the latest ORBR update to try and get more front end grip that would bring oversteer / instability?

        1. Perez caused a yellow flag in Max’s 1st lap on the softs so it’s hard to say who was quicker on a fresh set. Let’s see tomorrow

      2. @jureo
        Judging by comments of various F1 pundits across the season so far, I got the impression that Max doesn’t like the characteristics of these new cars or at least not of the RB. The car tends to understeer more due to the increased weight and Max hates understeer. He likes a little bit of an oversteery car, but just simply hasn’t got it this season. I get the impression that Checo is more comfortable with the understeer than Max is.

        1. @srga91
          Max doesn’t have any issue dealing with a pointy oversteery car, just like Leclerc. I’ve listened to Villeneuve in the last GP explaining how the drivers like Max, Leclerc, Hamilton and especially Schumacher who all like oversteer are the drivers that can extract those extra tenths from the car.

          Checo doesn’t like oversteer and this is documented from his days in the FDA. Ferrari decided to release him and retain Jules Bianchi after both went head to head in 2011 in a testing day at Fiorano driving a 2009 F1 car. A couple of years after, Baldisseri explained that Bianchi was more at ease with oversteer and with controlling the back end of the car than Checo because of his previous experience in F3. He said that Sergio is also advantaged in the use of Pirelli tires as they were until the end of the 2012 season, tyres with a lot of longitudinal grip and little lateral grip which adapt perfectly to his driving style.

        2. This is what I meant yes.

          Verstappen can live with quite a bit of oversteer. He can manipulate the car to utilize bettter turnin and still somehow keep the rear in check.

          Now when the rear is well in check Perez can keep up.

        3. @srga91 You could have a point and could be said he looked better in the previous chassis?

          A more than a few drivers have been having issues this year with the new chassis’s but overall Max is still doing well. Leclerc seems to be the most comfortable in this chassis but Ferrari also doesn’t do him a lot of flavors. I’m not sure you can say Checco is better in this chassis but doesn’t look bad than previous rather than drivers around him are doing worse.

          I think it’s still too early to judge as drivers still need to get a better handle of these 1st generation chassis’s with time and more adjustments. This is when we’ll have a better idea which drivers are better.

      3. I don’t think so.

        Prior to his comeback, Alonso was always only closely matched by Lewis Hamilton. He beat the hell out of all his other teamates regardless of equipment.

      4. I saw a faster Max on Mediums and a Perez causing yellow flags on Max’s flying lap on softs…He probably did that on purpose

      5. Alonso was quick on this tricky circuit. This is where the men separate from the boys. I get a charge out of all his detractors wanting him booted for a younger driver as if he is too slow and has lost the magic. He’s had a lot of misfortune this year.

        Prost said he’s still the best all around driver on the grid and I agree. I hope his luck is finally changing.

    4. Ferrari’s low-downforce rear wing seemed to improve their straightline speed down the main straight in FP2. They were barely slower than RB through S3 on shorter and longer runs, about 0.1 sec on average.
      RB seems to have fixed the instable DRS flap between FP1 and 2, as they didn’t have any major problems with it in FP2. Or perhaps the wind simply wasn’t as strong as it was in FP1, but the mechanics were definitely working on the rear wing before the start of second practice.
      RB & Ferrari are once again in a league of their own, at least a full second ahead of anyone else on short runs. And their adavantage is even bigger on high fuel, up to 1.5 sec up on the midfield. That’s a somewhat surprising, given that Baku isn’t the most selective racing course, because you can cover parts of your deficits with an efficient aerodynamic package. Mercedes is likely to have another race in the midfield, though they should be at least leading it, judging by their long runs.
      Alfa Romeo is struggling for the second weekend in a row. They are just slow everywhere, on the straights and through the tight and twisty middle sector. For Bottas’ sake I hope they can make a big jump tomorrow. At least their pace doesn’t look much worse than McLaren’s, especially on longer runs.
      Predicting the pace of the Alpine is like predicting the next winning lottery numbers. They looked decent on shorter, but nothing special on longer runs. Mercedes and Alpha Tauri seem to have more pace on high fuel.

      1. @srga91
        Giorgio Piola said that the low downforce rear wing was normally planned to be introduced in Miami but it wasn’t ready. He said that it was tested with the new aero package at Monza in the second filming day before the Spanish GP. Ferrari have also introduced a new mirrors mounting (RBR style) with a clear aerodynamic function.

        1. Thanks for the update @tifoso1989 👍
          So I guess the other rear wing they brought to Miami had to be the Jeddah-spec. I thought they already had they new wing in Miami, but didn’t run it out of fear it wouldn’t produce enough rear end downforce for the new circuit.
          Anyway, now Ferrari should be very competitive on every type of circuit.

          1. @srga91
            Yes indeed. Piola said that he spotted this wing first in the Monza filming day but wasn’t 100% sure of its characteristics due to the unclear photos he got. It makes sense to test this wing in a low downforce circuit like Monza to evaluate the benefits on the straights. The interesting thing about RBR is that when they open the DRS, they seem the team that gains the most in terms of top speed according to the data. Their car is very efficient with the DRS being open. Though Ferrari for me is the best all around car.

            1. @tifoso1989
              Yes, RB’s DRS seems to be more efficient than that of any other team. I remember in Australia RB having about 8 kph better top speed compared to Ferrari, but then on longer runs with closed DRS the gap in top speed would disappear almost completely.
              Last year it was McLaren to gain the most with open DRS, now it’s RB. I wonder what’s the secret behind the DRS efficiency. It’s such a simple aero device, but still works differently from car to car.

    5. As usual Leclerc.

    6. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
      10th June 2022, 20:36

      I think Merc was running low power mode. Top speed was down. The race is going to be struggle is that’s their true potential.

    7. GramakaTPS (@)
      10th June 2022, 21:02

      Interesting start.

    8. Nice but there will be carnage and I suspect some of the first 6 or 8 fastest cars will be involved.
      Keeping the car on the track for the whole race isn’t easy just like Monaco.

    Comments are closed.