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Leclerc gives Red Bull food for thought but suffers late engine issues

Leclerc gives Red Bull food for thought but suffers late engine issues

Leclerc gives Red Bull food for thought but suffers late engine issues

Leclerc gives Red Bull food for thought but suffers late engine issues

Charles Leclerc suggested Red Bull will not have it all their own way in qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after comfortably topping the timesheet in second practice.

Ferrari driver Leclerc was quickest on both the medium- and soft-tyre hot laps over the hour-long session at the Baku City Circuit to keep Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez at bay.

Perez, fresh from his Monaco Grand Prix triumph and with a new two-year contract in his pocket, had led the way at the end of FP1 from Leclerc and Verstappen.

By the end of the second session, the top two were reversed, with Verstappen again having to settle for the third-best time.

Leclerc set a time of one minute 43.224s to finish a quarter-of-a-second up on Perez, with Verstappen 0.356s adrift, with the oscillations of the DRS on his RB18 no longer prevalent that had been a concern in FP1.

The upper element on the rear wing of Verstappen's car was seen flapping wildly once open along the longest 'straight' in F1, leading to complaints from rivals.

On the medium-compound tyres, Verstappen finished 0.030s behind Leclerc, with Perez 0.125s down, and that after the Monégasque had also been given a helping hand courtesy of a tow at one stage.

Once on the softs, Leclerc managed to find a six-tenths-of-a-second improvement, and with no tow on this occasion, albeit over the closing minutes complained several timess about issues with his power unit which the team are to investigate.

It is almost certain team-mate Sainz would have been alongside him as the Spanish driver was on par timewise through the first two sectors - setting a purple middle - but made a mistake at turn 16 and aborted the lap.

There were numerous errors throughout the session from a handful of drivers - with Perez overshooting turn one, McLaren's Lando Norris doing likewise also using the run-off at turn three.

There were also wall clips, notably with Williams' Alex Albon bizarrely doing so at the kink at the top of the straight, while Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas did so hard at turn 15.

Albon's minor shunt damaged the front suspension, forcing him out of the session for the final 25 minutes and leaving him in 18th ahead of only Haas' Mick Schumacher and Williams team-mate Nicholas Latifi.

Behind the top three, Alpine's Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest, 0.918s adrift, setting the quickest final sector in a rapid Alpine seemingly tuned for the long straight as it was the best through the speed trap.

Sainz's failed hot lap on the softs left him down in fifth, 1.050s back, followed by the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, with Mercedes' George Russell seventh on the timesheet, notably three-tenths of a second quicker than team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

The Mercedes duo, along with Ferrari most notably, suffered worse with the return of the porpoising at this track, with the heads of Leclerc, Sainz, Russell and Hamilton all bobbing violently in the cockpits of their cars.

AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda, Alpine's Esteban Ocon and McLaren's Lando Norris rounded out the top 10, with Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel also ahead of Hamilton.

Daniel Ricciardo, following a shocking FP1, was down in 14th in his McLaren, 1.835s behind Leclerc and three-tenths-of-a-second behind team-mate Norris.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix second practice results

1. Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] 1:43.224

2. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] +0.248

3. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] +0.356

4. Fernando Alonso [Alpine] +0.918

5. Carlos Sainz [Ferrari] +1.050

6. Pierre Gasly [AlphaTauri] +1.091

7. George Russell [Mercedes] +1.324

8. Yuki Tsunoda [AlphaTauri] +1.343

9. Esteban Ocon [Alpine] +1.385

10. Lando Norris [McLaren] +1.547

11. Sebastian Vettel [Aston Martin] +1.557

12. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] +1.650

13. Lance Stroll [Aston Martin] +1.650

14. Daniel Ricciardo [McLaren] +1.835

15. Valtteri Bottas [Alfa Romeo] +1.891

16. Zhou Guanyu [Alfa Romeo] +2.040

17. Kevin Magnussen [Haas] +2.364

18. Alexander Albon [Williams] +3.173

19. Mick Schumacher [Haas] +3.201

20. Nicholas Latifi [Williams] +3.994

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