Sergio Perez edges out Leclerc in the final practice of Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Sergio Perez edges out Leclerc in the final practice of Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Sergio Perez set the fastest lap after a close battle with Charles Leclerc in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez’s set a benchmark time of 1’43.170 seconds which was only 0.016s faster than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc as Max Verstappen finished third in the final practice session after his final timed lap was limited by traffic.

However, the start of the final practice session was delayed by 15 minutes due to repairs on the TecPro barriers on the exit of turn one after a Formula 2 crash took place before third practice.

There was very little track action when the session finally started as Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel were both sent out to scrub a set of tyres by Aston Martin, but both cars were summoned back to the pit lane before any timed laps could begin to be set.

After a ten-minute wait, drivers began to take to the track with several  drivers opting to run on the soft compound tyres ahead of qualifying in order to fine-tune their cars for the final practice.

The Ferraris were fastest after the rest of the field had logged some lap times, with Leclerc setting a time benchmark of 1’44.661 which was just under a tenth faster than teammate Carlos Sainz Jnr.

The Red Bulls were next to venture into the street circuit, with Perez setting the fastest time by two-tenths of a second, followed by teammate Verstappen, who moved up to second with a time half a tenth slower than Perez’s.

However, Leclerc was able to recover the lead with a lap timing of 1’43.514 which he eventually bettered after he later went out on another set of soft tyres with just under 15 minutes left in the session and improved his own fastest time by two-tenths of a second.

The Red Bulls’ attempts were thwarted when Valtteri Bottas raced through the escape path at turn three, resulting in a yellow flag. When Bottas was safely back on the track, Perez took advantage of the chance to post a new fastest lap of the session, seven hundredths faster than Leclerc.

Verstappen posted the fastest time in first sector in the waning minutes of the session, but had to quit his lap after catching Fernando Alonso’s slow Alpine on the apex of turn 12, much to the displeasure of the world champion. 

Eventually Perez was fastest in the opening sector once more at the checkered flag, but he couldn’t improve his overall best time when he caught Alex Albon’s Williams in the final sector. The Mexican failed to improve by a tenth of a second despite a near slipstream from the Williams.

Nevertheless, Perez’s personal best time was good enough to put him in first place for the second time this weekend as Leclerc finished second, ahead of Verstappen, who finished third yet again.

Sainz finished four-tenths behind Perez in fourth, with McLaren’s Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo fifth and sixth respectively.

2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 results

1Sergio PérezRed Bull1:43.170s17
2Charles LeclercFerrari1:43.240s+ 0.070s18
3Max VerstappenRed Bull1:43.449s+ 0.279s14
4Carlos SainzFerrari1:43.596s+ 0.426s19
5Lando NorrisMcLaren1:44.418s+ 1.248s13
6Daniel RicciardoMcLaren1:44.476s+ 1.306s19
7Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri1:44.491s+ 1.321s20
8George RussellMercedes1:44.573s+ 1.403s16
9Esteban OconAlpine1:44.685s+ 1.515s14
10Sebastian VettelAston Martin1:44.689s+ 1.519s18
11Fernando AlonsoAlpine1:44.842s+ 1.672s14
12Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:44.845s+ 1.675s18
13Lance StrollAston Martin1:44.879s+ 1.709s17
14Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo1:44.913s+ 1.743s17
15Kevin MagnussenHaas1:44.919s+ 1.749s16
16Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri1:44.964s+ 1.794s19
17Alexander AlbonWilliams1:45.479s+ 2.309s16
18Mick SchumacherHaas1:45.532s+ 2.362s19
19Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo1:45.574s+ 2.404s17
20Nicholas LatifiWilliams1:46.070s+ 2.900s17

Leave a Reply