Sergio Perez underlined his growing confidence at Red Bull by finishing quickest in a second practice session for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in which Lewis Hamilton again expressed frustration.
On the low-fuel, soft-tyre runs around the Baku City Circuit, Perez finished quickest by 0.101secs ahead of team-mate Max Verstappen with a lap of one minute 42.115s, although it was the Dutchman who was fastest in the first two sectors.
Verstappen did complain, however, about his RB16B being "night and day" different, primarily due to a lack of balance at the front, compared to what he had experienced in FP1 at the end of which he was quickest.
Red Bull, though, were also later quickest on the longer runs during the second half of the session.
Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, fresh from his confidence-boosting second place in Monaco, was third on the timesheet, finishing 0.128s behind Perez.
Team-mate Charles Leclerc, second fastest behind Verstappen in FP1, blotted his FP2 copybook by running into a TecPro barrier at turn 15 after a lock-up, and after setting the fastest first sector at that time.
The shunt forced Leclerc back to the pits for a new front wing and led to a short VSC period while it was recovered, leaving the Monégasque a third of a second adrift in fourth.
As for Mercedes, as occurred around Monaco, it was another practice session to leave the reigning champions facing a long debrief as to its latest issues.
At one stage, a clearly demoralised Hamilton said over the radio: "I'm not going to go any faster. I don't know where the time is."
Hamilton finished the session a second adrift in 11th place, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas a further second down in 16th.
Surprised the numbers on the template go that high! 🙃
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) June 4, 2021
Ahead of Hamilton in the top 10 beyond the Red Bull and Ferrari pair were AlphaTauri
duo Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda in fifth and 10th, separated by six-tenths of a second.
Sandwiched in between were Alpine team-mates Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon in sixth and ninth, with just over three-tenths of a second the difference, while Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi and McLaren's Lando Norris were seventh and eighth quickest.
Giovinazzi concluded the session with the fastest sector three time.
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.