Perez ended the day in Baku just over a tenth ahead of Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen.

While the Mexican has yet to finish on the podium during his first five races in Red Bull colours, his results alongside Verstappen have allowed Red Bull to take the lead of the constructors’ championship for the first time since 2013.

Not only was Perez’s one-lap pace impressive in Baku, he also had the best race pace of any driver during the long runs in FP2 - showing good consistency on the soft tyre.

“Yeah I think we’ve done very good progress,” Perez said. “After Monaco, we did a very deep analysis and today, I was like, well I finally understand a bit more this car, how I need to drive it and so on. So in all regards, I think this is the best Friday of the season, the most complete Friday in terms of data, in terms of how comfortable I feel with the car.

“I think we are definitely going to be in the mix so hopefully tomorrow we are able to get a good, clean lap, which is very important.”

Perez has his sights firmly set on a maiden F1 pole position.

“That would be the target, of course, but tomorrow is when it matters,” Perez added. “We have some work to do overnight to try to get a couple of tenths and then we can be in the mix.”

Verstappen topped the morning session but could only manage P2 in the afternoon.

Assessing his day in Azerbaijan, Verstappen explained: “Performance-wise, I think we had a great start to the weekend so far, the car in FP1 felt really decent. I mean I was quite comfortable and then for FP2, we made a few changes to see if it would be better but I think we went a bit backwards.

“We will look overnight at what direction we will go into but nevertheless for the team it was a very good day.”