Azerbaijan GP: Leclerc leads commanding Ferrari 1-2 in FP3
Charles Leclerc set a stunning pace in final practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as the Ferrari team outpaced its Formula 1 rivals by more than a second.
Leclerc was quickest in Friday practice and reinforced his early control of the Baku weekend in emphatic fashion in FP3, which he led for the majority and eventually topped ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel.
The 21-year-old, seeking his first F1 win, set a 1m41.604s that briefly put him 1.2s faster than anyone near the end of the session.
Vettel lapped 0.198s slower than his young teammate to complete Ferrari's one-two, with Max Verstappen next up for Red Bull on a 1m42.852s.
Meanwhile, Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were stuck in the 1m43s in fourth and fifth.
Leclerc was 0.3s clear of Vettel at the halfway point of the session, with Hamilton the same distance back in third after a longer run on medium tyres.
Switching to softs hauled Hamilton and Bottas closer to the Ferraris, with Hamilton initially edging his teammate by 0.06s but eventually losing out by just over a tenth.
Both were overhauled by Verstappen after the Red Bull driver punched in a 1m42.852s to split the Ferraris and go second, just 0.2s behind Leclerc.
Leclerc then put an enormous gap between Ferrari and the rest of the pack with a 1m41.604s on a fresh set of softs to go 1.2s clear at the top.
Vettel's efforts to match his teammate were hindered when he locked his left front and ran deep into Turn 1, where he took to the escape road. His second effort was tidier, and allowed him to improve to a 1m41.802s.
Hamilton also made mistakes, ending up on the escape roads at Turn 2 and Turn 15, as neither Mercedes showed the sort of pace the team is likely to have in qualifying.
Toro Rosso was a surprise best-of-the-rest, with Daniil Kvyat sixth fastest and 1.6s off the pace.
Kevin Magnussen's Haas split the two Toro Rossos as Alex Albon – briefly fourth fastest at one stage – wound up eighth, and Sergio Perez (Racing Point) and Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) completed the top 10.
Raikkonen was involved in a minor incident with Carlos Sainz near the end of the session as the two drivers appeared to race each other through the end of the final sector and down to Turn 1.
They did not make contact although Sainz complained to his McLaren team over the radio after the bout of slipstreaming.
George Russell completed an early installation in his new Williams chassis following the drain cover incident he suffered at the start of FP1 yesterday. Among the changes Williams has had to make around the new chassis is a new floor, while it also has new Mercedes control electronics and energy store.
The Formula 2 champion went on to complete 20 laps as he clocked his first real Baku mileage in an F1 car, and though he was outpaced by teammate Robert Kubica by 0.3s he was not the slowest.
That fell to Pierre Gasly, as the Red Bull driver ignored performance running in preparation for his pitlane start – though his difficult weekend continued with a near miss with the wall that took him down an escape road.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||16||1'42.852||1.248|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||18||1'43.223||1.619|
|8||Alex Albon||Toro Rosso||19||1'43.300||1.696|
|9||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||15||1'43.430||1.826|
|10||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||19||1'43.537||1.933|
|12||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||20||1'43.637||2.033|
|14||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren||19||1'43.978||2.374|
|15||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||16||1'44.039||2.435|
|20||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull||22||1'47.836||6.232|
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Azerbaijan GP qualifying as it happened
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