Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen getting the Pirelli tyres in the optimum working temperature is key to registering a competitive flying lap at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Finn overcame a slow start to the weekend after ending the first practice session over a second off the pace in ninth, to get within just over a tenth of a second off pacesetter Max Verstappen's pace in the second session.

While his improvement can somewhat be credited to a rapidly evolving track, Raikkonen believes that like most races this year, the key factor to a good lap is the tyres.

"I think the trickiest part was actually making them work, to get them hot enough," Raikkonen said after practice. "But if you achieve that, then everything else becomes a lot easier. We are there or thereabouts but I think the car is OK but we have, obviously, still work to do."

The nature of the Baku street circuit is high speed with two long straights - one of them over 2km long - and makes it difficult for drivers to warm their tyres up given there's not much load going through during the straights.

With the track evolution expected to continue to rubber in, more pace will be found in the final practice session tomorrow as team prepare for what should be a close qualifying. However, due to multiple interruptions in FP2 with yellow and red flags, the Finn doesn't yet know where the long run pace of the Ferrari currently is.

"I didn't see anything yet, we just finished running now, so we'll see where we are and we work hard for tomorrow."

 

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