Verstappen tops practice as Gasly’s Alpine goes up in flames

Max Verstappen set the pace in the only practice session for F1’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, while it was a disastrous start for Pierre Gasly as his Alpine caught fire.
Pierre Gasly (FRA) Alpine F1 Team A523 stopped on track in the practice session. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4,
Pierre Gasly (FRA) Alpine F1 Team A523 stopped on track in the practice…

It was a busy 60 minutes of running in Baku with teams limited due to there being just one practice session ahead of qualifying this afternoon due to F1’s condensed sprint race format.

The reigning world champion left it late to take to the top of the timesheets, beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by less than a tenth.

Remote video URL

Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez looked like he was going to top the session, however, he was beaten by Leclerc by 0.2s.

As the chequered flag fell, Verstappen stormed to the top with a 1m42.315, nipping ahead of the lead Ferrari driver.

Perez improved again but it wasn’t enough to get ahead of either Verstappen or Leclerc, settling for third ahead of Carlos Sainz, who was 0.5s down.

The condensed session was curtailed by a dramatic fire which caused a red flag with 45 minutes on the clock.

A hydraulic leak meant Gasly’s Alpine caught fire, halting the session for 12 minutes.

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku Street Circuit,
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19. Formula 1 World Championship,…

Things got worse for Alpine when Esteban Ocon was forced out of the session with just eight laps on the board due to a potential issue with the rear of his car.

Outside of Red Bull and Ferrari, Lando Norris starred in the upgraded McLaren with the fifth-fastest time.

Similarly, Nyck de Vries impressed for AlphaTauri as he beat both Aston Martins.

Lance Stroll led Fernando Alonso, who didn’t set a time on the soft tyres.

The Spaniard’s running was compromised by a DRS issue which was later fixed.

Alexander Albon was ninth for Williams, while Zhou Guanyu completed the top 10.

Lewis Hamilton was only 11th after his running was compromised by a brake issue in the first part of FP1.

George Russell was down in 17th, like Hamilton, setting his best time on the mediums.

Read More