2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix FP1 Report: Verstappen Tops the Timing Sheets as Mercedes Struggle

Published 06/04/2021, 5:35 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – June 4, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during practice REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov


The F1 action in Baku kicked off with the first free practice session this Friday. Unlike most FP1 sessions, this Friday all the teams decided to stick with their primary drivers instead of their test ones. Thus we saw all the regular 20 guys out on track.

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Within the first few minutes, nearly all the drivers hit the track, with the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz leading the timing sheets after the first 12 minutes.

Only a few minutes later, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton topped the charts as usual with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen second quickest.

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Formula One F1. Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during practice REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

By the halfway mark of the session, there wasn’t too much happening apart from a Yuki Tsunoda spin in Turn 4. As the Japanese driver struggled to find his reverse gear, the yellow flags came out. His teammate Pierre Gasly, meanwhile, was sitting comfortably as the third quicker driver.

With 20 minutes until the end of the session, there was a little drama that unfolded. Hamilton went off track, Lando Norris managed to spin, and Leclerc put in the fastest lap of the day until then, beating Daniel Ricciardo’s time.

The end of the session wasn’t the most remarkable either. Verstappen wasn’t too happy with being blocked by Nikita Mazepin, but then he went quickest soon thereafter. His teammate Sergio Perez too picked up the pace having been in testing mode for most of the session. The session ended with Mazepin going into the wall and Schumacher going off track.

Watch Story: 5 F1 Crashes Which Stunned the World

How did FP1 at the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix end?

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Formula One F1. Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in action during practice REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

The top 10 after FP1 in Baku shaped up as follows: Verstappen led the timesheets followed by the two Ferrari drivers Leclerc and Sainz, who gave Ferrari a great start to the weekend. Perez, Ricciardo and Gasly crossed the checkered flag in P4, P5, and P6 respectively. Hamilton, Norris, Fernando Alonso, and Bottas rounded out the top 10.

Kimi Raikkonen came home in P11, followed by teammate Antonio Giovinazzi. The two Aston Martin drivers Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel who ended up in P13 and P15 were split by Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri. Esteban Ocon, George Russell, and Nicholas Latifi ended up in P16, P17, and P18 respectively. The two Haas’ of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin rounded up the grid.

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Ronan Carvalho

1063 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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