Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2022

Perez fastest by seven-hundredths from Leclerc in final Azerbaijan practice

2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix third practice

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Sergio Perez set the fastest lap in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku.

Perez’s best time of a 1’43.170 was just 0.016s quicker than Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari. Max Verstappen ended the final practice session in third position after his final timed lap was ruined by traffic.

The session’s start was delayed by 15 minutes due to repair work on the TecPro barriers on the exit of turn one. This was caused by a crash at the end of the Formula 2 race held prior to third practice.

When the session eventually began, there was very little in the way of track action to begin with. Aston Martin sent both Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel out to scrub a set of tyres, but called both cars back to the pit lane before setting any representative times.

After 10 minutes, drivers eventually began to take to the circuit. Ahead of qualifying, many drivers carried out runs on the soft compound tyres as they looked to dial in their cars for Friday’s crucial timed session. Once the majority of the field had clocked genuine lap times, the two Ferraris were quickest, with Leclerc’s 1’44.661 just under a tenth faster from team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Then it was the turn of the Red Bulls, Perez going fastest of all by two tenths of a second, before team mate Verstappen became the final driver to set a time and jumped up to second with a time half a tenth off Perez’s benchmark. Leclerc would then reclaim the top spot with a lap time of 1’43.514.

With just under 15 minutes remaining in the session, Leclerc ventured out on another set of soft tyres and improved his own best time by two tenths of a second. The Red Bulls’ efforts were scuppered by a yellow flag in turn three, when Valtteri Bottas ran through the escape road at turn three. Once Bottas was safely back on the circuit, Red Bull had another opportunity and Perez used it to set a new fastest lap of the session, seven-hundreds faster than Leclerc.

In the final minutes of the session, Verstappen set the fastest first sector, but had to abandon his lap when he caught the slow Alpine of Fernando Alonso on the apex of turn 12, much to the world champion’s disgust. At the chequered flag, Perez again went quickest in the opening sector, but failed to improve his overall best time when he caught Alex Albon’s Williams along the final sector. Despite a close slipstream from the Williams, Perez failed to improve by a tenth of a second.

Perez’s personal best time was still enough to see him end practice fastest for the second time this weekend. Leclerc was second, ahead of Verstappen who had to settle for third once again. Sainz was four tenths adrift of Perez in fourth, with the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo fifth and sixth.

2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix third practice result

PositionNumberDriverTeamModelTimeGapLaps
111Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’43.17018
216Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’43.2400.07019
31Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’43.4490.27914
455Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’43.5960.42619
54Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’44.4181.24813
63Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’44.4761.30619
710Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’44.4911.32121
863George RussellMercedesW131’44.5731.40317
931Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’44.6851.51515
105Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’44.6891.51918
1114Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’44.8421.67214
1244Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’44.8451.67519
1318Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’44.8791.70917
1424Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’44.9131.74318
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-221’44.9191.74917
1622Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’44.9641.79420
1723Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW441’45.4792.30917
1847Mick SchumacherHaas-FerrariVF-221’45.5322.36219
1977Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’45.5742.40417
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams-MercedesFW441’46.0702.90017

Complete practice times

PositionNumberDriverTeamFP1 timeFP2 timeFP3 timeGapLaps
111Sergio PerezRed Bull1’45.4761’43.4721’43.17061
216Charles LeclercFerrari1’45.6031’43.2241’43.2400.05464
31Max VerstappenRed Bull1’45.8101’43.5801’43.4490.27957
455Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’46.0121’44.2741’43.5960.42666
514Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’46.5711’44.1421’44.8420.97258
610Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red Bull1’46.8301’44.3151’44.4911.14572
74Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’47.6911’44.7711’44.4181.24855
83Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’48.8101’45.0591’44.4761.30666
963George RussellMercedes1’46.7051’44.5481’44.5731.37867
1022Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red Bull1’46.6961’44.5671’44.9641.39769
1131Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’46.9171’44.6091’44.6851.43960
125Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’47.9701’44.7811’44.6891.51967
1344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’46.6671’44.8741’44.8451.67565
1418Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’47.8471’44.8741’44.8791.70467
1524Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’48.2221’45.2641’44.9131.74366
1620Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’47.9461’45.5881’44.9191.74967
1777Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’48.0781’45.1151’45.5741.94564
1823Alexander AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1’48.4191’46.3971’45.4792.30952
1947Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’58.3321’46.4251’45.5322.36243
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’50.9211’47.2181’46.0702.90050

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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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5 comments on “Perez fastest by seven-hundredths from Leclerc in final Azerbaijan practice”

  1. Are the good times gone for Alfa and Haas already? Would be a shame, I’d like to see them in Q3

    1. I guess this is ciurcuit specific. Monaco and Baku present unique challenges and aren’t really representative for the rest of the season. At Baku you can cover parts of your car’s deficits, if you have an efficient aero package for low downforce and good braking stability plus traction.
      It might look completely different by the time F1 returns to circuits like Silverstone and Paul Ricard.
      Both the Haas and the Alfa seem to be strong through long radius medium speed corners and on circuits where the track surface offers a lot of grip. I expect them to return to their usual midfield positions after Canada.

  2. Good lap by Pérez and a shame Verstappen’s lap was ruined by traffic.
    I guess Leclerc will have a little bit more time in the pocket come qualifying and get the job done. I wonder if we might see some slipstreaming between teammates, as is often the case in Baku, because it’s free laptime in the final sector.
    The battle between RB & Ferrari is even more thrilling here at Baku, because both cars are nip and tuck through every sector. The RB is surprisingly competitive through the middle sector and Ferrari barely loses any time in the final sector (0.05), despite being 5-6 kph down at the speed trap over the finish line.
    RB’s ERS seems to be performing very well at Baku, because Checo and Max are about 10 kph up on the Ferraris at the start of the lap and still 5 kph faster at the end. Perhaps they are able to deploy more energy at the start of the lap and still don’t suffer at the end of it.
    Nice job by McLaren to jump to the front of the midfield, even if they’re still very far away from the leaders. The midfield battle is going to be equally fascinating. McLaren, Mercedes, Alpha Tauri, Alpine, anyone of those teams could come out on top in qualifying. I believe Mercedes still have some time or power in their pockets. They were the only team not improving on their final sector time compared to yesterday, while others improved by up to 0.5 over their S3 times from FP2.

    1. In F2, the slipstream gained them a lot of time in the final sector but following a car for the rest of the lap cost them even more time. It also means whoever is offering the tow will have to sacrifice their first lap in Q3 and with the high chance of red flags at this track, I’d personally say it’s not worth it.

      1. It depends on how closely you follow the car in front. Obviously no driver is going to follow another car from a distance of one or two seconds, but might do so from a distance of four or five seconds. Along the main straight you still get a distant tow, but don’t really suffer from dirty air, esepcially not with these new cars.
        Usually the drivers switch from run to run, so driver A gets the tow on the first run while driver B does on the second run. It’s been done at every qualy session at Baku since 2017, so I don’t see why they would stop doing this now.

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