Almost a month after saying goodbye to the Australian Grand Prix, Formula 1 has returned to action on the Baku street circuit, scene of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. And although in the six previous editions no driver has managed to repeat victory on this track, everything indicates that this weekend Max Verstappen can achieve it. The champion and current leader of the World Championship has started as the fastest (1.42.315) in the first and only free practice session scheduled in the new competition format that F1 is launching here.
Waiting for the battle for pole position this afternoon (3:00 p.m.), maximum equality between Red Bull and Ferrari: charles leclerc has been only 37 thousandths of the time of Max, with Sergio Perez just over 1 tenth behind and Carlos Sainz, half a second away, closing the ‘top four’.
Fernando Alonso, who had to return to the box at the end of the session after detecting a problem with the DRS on his Aston Martin, finished the session in seventh position, 1.2 behind Verstappen, although without being able to complete a good lap. For reference, your partner Lance Stroll He started sixth at the wheel of an AMR23 that debuts a rear wing in Azerbaijan, 1.1 behind the fastest.
The 60-minute session has been stopped for almost fifteen after an incident involving Pierre Gasleywho after suffering a hydraulic failure, had to abandon his burning car in the middle of the track, causing the first red flag of the weekend in Baku.
Almost at the same time and while the commissioners put out the spectacular fire in the Alpine, the cameras showed the Haas de Kevin Magnussen, also standing in a loophole. The Dane oversteered entering turn 1 and went off the track. Before that, Carlos Sainz had also brushed against the wall with the Ferrari, although without further consequences.
Azerbaijan GP. Free Practice 1:
1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1’42″315
2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) at 0″037
3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) at 0″139
4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) at 0″584
5. Lando Norris (McLaren) at 0″810
6. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) at 1″140
7. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) at 1″245
8. Alex Albon (Williams) at 1″313
9. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) at 01″483
10. Oscar Piastri (McLaren) at 1″665
11. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) at 1″695
12. Nick De Vries (AlphaTauri) at 1″794
13. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) at 1″822
14, Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo) at 1″855
15. Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) at 2″008
16. Logan Sargeant (Williams) at 2″585
17. George Russell (Mercedes) at 2″767
18. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) at 3″640
19. Pierre Gasly (Alpine) at 4″006
20. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) at 5″183