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FP1: Verstappen comes first in free practice

28 April 2023 15:55 (UTC+04:00)
FP1: Verstappen comes first in free practice

Free practice has ended at the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2023.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen showed the best result in the race, followed by Ferrari team driver Charles Leclerc and Red Bull's Sergio Perez, Azernews reports.

As Formula 1 website reports, the drivers showed their intention was to maximise every second of FP1.

While Verstappen set the early pace on the medium tyre, ahead of Perez and Leclerc, it was not good news for AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda, who hit the barrier at Turn 3 and suffered a right rear puncture, forcing him to pit. Moments later, the red flags were waved due to Pierre Gasly’s Alpine catching fire because of a hydraulic issue, with the French driver forced to stop on track.

Meanwhile, at the same time, Kevin Magnussen stopped at Turn 1 with a suspected fuel pressure problem.

Perez was third fastest ahead of the other Ferrari of Carlos Sainz – who made slight contact with the barrier at Turn 5 – with Lando Norris showcasing the pace of the upgraded McLaren MCL60 to round out the top five.

Nyck De Vries – one of two drivers on the grid alongside Logan Sargeant yet to score a point – was sixth fastest for AlphaTauri, ahead of the Aston Martin pair of Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso.

Alex Albon was ninth fastest for Williams, ahead of the Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu and 11th-placed Lewis Hamilton – who recovered from a brake issue on his Mercedes W14 that forced him to pit early in the session.

Oscar Piastri – who spent much of the session testing new parts for McLaren – was 12th, ahead of 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas, in the other Alfa Romeo, and the AlphaTauri of Tsunoda.

Nico Hulkenberg was 15th fastest for Haas, ahead of Williams’ Logan Sargeant and Mercedes' George Russell - who, like his team mate Hamilton, did not set a fast time of the soft tyre.

Down at the bottom were the three drivers whose sessions ended early, with Ocon and Gasly in 18th and 19th, respectively, while Magnussen was last.

The qualifying round will also take place today at 17:00 local time.

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