F1 practice LIVE: Azerbaijan Grand Prix build-up and updates as Red Bull fear ‘dangerous’ Mercedes

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Lewis Hamilton is hoping for an improved performance in Baku this weekend  (Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton is hoping for an improved performance in Baku this weekend (Getty Images)

Follow live Formula One updates from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as the opening day of practice gets underway in Baku. Defending champion Max Verstappen has warned he has “unfinished business” in Azerbaijan after he was denied victory at a chaotic race last season. It’s an ominous sign for the rest of the grid as Red Bull arrive at the street circuit on a run of four straight race victories, following Sergio Perez’s win at the Monaco Grand Prix last time out.

Ferrari and Mercedes are under pressure to respond and the opening two practice sessions will offer clues as to who can challenge Red Bull this weekend. Charles Leclerc is without a victory in two months but has been on brilliant form in qualifying with three consecutive pole positions, while Lewis Hamilton will be hoping Mercedes have finally resolved their troubles with ‘porpoising’. It has been claimed that Red Bull fear the “dangerous” potential of the Mercedes car, but Verstappen remains the favourite as he looks to extend Red Bull’s run.

“I’m looking forward to returning to Baku, we have some unfinished business there after last year,” Verstappen said. “It’s a tricky track with big braking zones and a tight run off, finding the best set-up for the car will be difficult in terms of making sure we get the correct wing level. It will also be interesting to see if we can make our one lap performance better for qualifying as we’ve been lacking a little.” Follow live updates from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, below:

F1 LIVE: Latest Azerbaijan Grand Prix updates

  • FP1 gets underway at 12pm; FP2 starts at 3pm

  • Verstappen voices opposition to ‘completely wrong’ salary cap

  • Hamilton on Mercedes optimism: ‘Where’s that come from?’

  • Russell not expecting Mercedes to compete in Baku

  • Ricciardo addresses form ahead of Baku: ‘I like the pressure’

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

13:17 , Jamie Braidwood

Christian Horner has issued an update on Max Verstappen’s extremely flappy rear wing.

He tells Sky Sports: “Obviously we’ve seen it and got the comparison to Sergio’s. There’s some modifications we need to do. There was a difference between the cars. Hopefully we can get on top of that this afternoon.

Asked if team’s will complain about a potential safety issue, Horner replies: “I think they already have. It’s detrimental to performance.”

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

13:09 , Jamie Braidwood

  • 1 Sergio PEREZ - Red Bull | 1:45.476

  • 2 Charles LECLERC - Ferrari | +0.127

  • 3 Max VERSTAPPEN - Red Bull | +0.334

  • 4 Carlos SAINZ - Ferrari | +0.536

  • 5 Fernando ALONSO - Alpine | +1.095

  • 6 Lewis HAMILTON - Mercedes | +1.191

  • 7 Yuki TSUNODA - AlphaTauri | +1.220

  • 8 George RUSSELL - Mercedes | +1.229

  • 9 Pierre GASLY - AlphaTauri | +1.354

  • 10 Esteban OCON - Alpine | +1.441

  • 11 Lando NORRIS - McLaren | +2.215

  • 12 Lance STROLL - Aston Martin |+2.371

  • 13 Kevin MAGNUSSEN - Haas Team | +2.470

  • 14 Sebastian VETTEL - Aston Martin | +2.494

  • 15 Valtteri BOTTAS - Alfa Romeo | +2.602

  • 16 Guanyu ZHOU - Alfa Romeo | +2.746

  • 17 Alexander ALBON - Williams | +2.943

  • 18 Daniel RICCIARDO - McLaren | +3.334

  • 19 Nicholas LATIFI - Williams | NA

  • 20 Mick SCHUMACHER Haas F1 Team | NA

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

13:04 , Jamie Braidwood

Verstappen spins! No damage though, he held it together after locking up going into the chicane. Fernando Alonso has had a brilliant session and pips Hamilton into fifth with his run on the softs.

Ricciardo is down in 18th... only Latifi and Schumacher are below him, and they dropped out of the session within minutes of the green flag.

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

13:02 , Jamie Braidwood

There’s the flag - and Perez crosses the line and is top, can anyone beat him now?

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

13:00 , Jamie Braidwood

Woah, Gasly sends it down into the run-off zone. Just a few seconds left in FP1 and AlphaTauri have had a solid run, but it’s the usual suspects at the top of the leaderboard.

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

12:55 , Jamie Braidwood

Hamilton’s not happy about a “beeping” in his car and comes back into the pits with a shake off his head.

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

12:49 , Jamie Braidwood

Mercedes are showing improvement after switching to softs, as Hamilton gets into the top five with his fastest time of the day. Leclerc continued to push following the previous lap and now goes faster than Verstappen. 10 minutes to go!

1) Perez (S) 1:45.476s

2) Leclerc (S) +0.127s

3) Verstappen (S) +0.334s

4) Sainz (S) + 0.536s

5) Hamilton (S) +1.191s

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

12:43 , Jamie Braidwood

And there’s the proof: Perez goes fastest with a 1:45.476 after also switching onto the softs. Perez was really pushing it there. The Ferraris have followed suit, switching from hards to the softs. Sainz goes third but Leclerc looks to be improving his time - and indeed sets the fastest sector-two time. It’s quicker than Sainz but Leclerc stays behind the Red Bulls.

Still, that’s a familiar looking top four.

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

12:37 , Jamie Braidwood

Verstappen is now running on the softs as he begins a flying lap. He cuts a huge 0.6s off his first sector time, then an even bigger 0.72s off sector two!

The result is a 1:45.810, fastest of the day so far, and there will have been plenty left out there too you would imagine.

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

12:31 , Jamie Braidwood

The AlphaTauris have positioned themselves in the top five. Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda both clock faster times than Carlos Sainz, in what is a very Red Bull-heavy top of the leaderboard.

Hamilton is all the way down in 11th, 2.5s behind Verstappen. Russell has yet to get going and has returned to the pits for work on his suspension.

Ricciardo and Norris are also down in the bottom half of the leaderboard.

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

12:24 , Jamie Braidwood

Sainz and Hamilton are both rattling around in their cars - as Leclerc, still on the hards, sets a fastest first sector. He shaves some tenths off his opening lap but Perez has gone second, just 0.068s off his team-mate Verstappen.

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

12:20 , Jamie Braidwood

1) Verstappen (M) 1:46.932

2) Leclerc (H) +0.067

3) Perez (M) +0.773

4) Alonso (M) +1.458

5) Sainz (H) +1.989

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

12:18 , Jamie Braidwood

Nicholas Latifi is off amid a plume of spoke. “The car has died, the car has died,” the Williams driver says, as he becomes the second casualty of FP1 and triggers the second VSC of the session.

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

12:15 , Jamie Braidwood

Verstappen lights up the first two sectors purple and then clocks the fastest time so far - as Hamilton funds the run-off area after ducking out of a corner.

“Wind is insane,” Verstappen reports. Leclerc then puts himself in between Verstappen and Perez with his first lap on the hards. Replays shows his Ferrari came inches away from the wall on that lap.

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

12:09 , Jamie Braidwood

Schumacher is off the track after suffering a huge leak from his Haas car.

“Mick, we need to stop the car, stop the car.”

His session looks done.

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

12:07 , Jamie Braidwood

Verstappen and Perez head out on mediums and go top of the standings, with the defending champion clocking an early 1:48.574

Vettel reports a “lot of wandering down the straights with the steering”.

F1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice

12:01 , Jamie Braidwood

The clocks strikes the hour and FP1 is underway in Baku. Lewis Hamilton heads straight out, with Mercedes one of seven teams with wing updates this weekend.

Hamilton on Brad Pitt F1 movie, Brazil citizenship

11:55 , Jamie Braidwood

Lewis Hamilton says it’s “super exciting” to be involved in the production of a F1 film that is set to star Brad Pitt. “I can’t say too much but it’s a really cool project. We’re working on the script and I’ve been spending time with Brad, which has been pretty epic. Something I take on is making sure the cast and crew is diverse. It’s about showing how great this sport is while keeping the real racing spirit in the race.”

Hamilton also reacted after was made an honorary citizen of Brazil on Thursday as the lower house of parliament passed a bill on the matter. The move had been proposed by congressman Andre Figueiredo after last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix, at which the British driver unfurled the Brazilian flag after winning at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos circuit.

“It’s very surreal,” Hamilton said. “I was surprised when I heard yesterday. Brazil has always been somewhere I’ve loved and admired. I’ve had some amazing times there, wining my first title there, the epic win last season .My biggest following is in Brazil and I can’t wait to spend more time there.”

When is Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice?

11:45 , Jamie Braidwood

The first session will get underway at 12pm BST on Friday 10 June. It will last an hour and will be followed by the second session at 3pm.

How can I watch it?

It will be shown live on Sky Sports F1, with live coverage of FP1 starting from 11:30am. Coverage of the FP2 will begin from 2:45pm. If you’re not a Sky customer you can grab a NOWTV Day Pass here to watch without a subscription. We may earn commission from some of the links in this article, but we never allow this to influence our content. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Lewis Hamilton responds to Mercedes optimism

11:34 , Jamie Braidwood

Lewis Hamilton is asked about the positive mood around Mercedes heading into this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix: “Where’s that feeling come from?” he replies with a grin. “I love that, a collective positive mood. I’m hoping it’s not as bumpy as Monaco but we will see today. It might be smoother today.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Charles Leclerc confident Ferrari have solved Monaco ‘mistakes'

11:29 , Jamie Braidwood

Charles Leclerc, who was on pole position here last season: “We’ve learned lots of lessons from Monaco. In Monaco, there was plenty to analyse because we made some mistakes. We have found the reasons, I won’t go into details, but I think we’ve got the answers we were looking for. We won’t see a repeat of those mistakes. If we do everything perfectly I think we can have a good weekend.

“I think everyone will be on low downforce here. We will have to see today what our weaknesses are around here. I think we are lacking straight-line speed compared to Red Bull. Last year we qualified out of position. This year we have a more competitive car. I’m hoping that if we get pole position on Saturday we can keep it during the race.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

George Russell not expecting Mercedes to compete in Baku

11:16 , Jamie Braidwood

“It’s no secret we brought some changes to the car in Barcelona. This will be more in line with the performance we saw in Barcelona. I don’t think it’s much faster at the moment but it’s given us a direction of where to go. Sometimes you’ve got to take a small step back to take three steps forward. I think it might need a few more races before we are fighting with Red Bull and Ferrari for race wins.

“I think we will be in our usual position, behind the front two and ahead of the midfield. [Chaos on Sunday] would be welcome, as long as we are on the right side of it. You’ve got to look at the positives [overall]. We can’t be disappointed that we haven’t won a race in this development phase. I think we’ve done great to maximise our opportunities to get points.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Azerbaijan Grand Prix - full schedule

11:15 , Jamie Braidwood

Friday 10 June

FP1: 12 - 1pm

FP2: 3 - 4pm

Saturday 11 June

Qualifying: 3 - 4pm

Sunday 12 June

Race: 12 - 2pm

Carlos Sainz: I could have won Monaco 'with a bit of luck’

11:10 , Jamie Braidwood

“For sure with the benefit of hindsight we would have done a few things different. Not from my side but in the garage. We nailed the strategy and I was leading everyone before we went to slicks. Details like the pit stops cost me the race. It just shows that in F1 everything needs to click to win a race. That didn’t happen in Monaco but I could have been the race winner with a bit of luck.

“Baku is a great challenge for the drivers and is a great circuit. I enjoy coming here.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Ricciardo addresses form ahead of Baku: ‘I like the pressure’

10:59 , Jamie Braidwood

“It’s a great track, it’s fun - high speed. We’ve got three street circuits in a row which is cool. They’re all different but the risk-reward element is always there. 2017 was one of the craziest races I’ve ever been involved in, so I’m up for that again. Reviewing Monaco, we started on the front foot and then it got away from us. We’ve done our work and come into today with a few things to try on the car. Full confidence moving ahead now.

“I guess at the end of the day people care [about my results]. It’s why I’m being talked about, I know I can be better and it speaks to my results in the past and me as a driver that people believe in me. I don’t expect an amazing narrative when I cross the line in 13th. I like the pressure.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Verstappen determined to take care of ‘unfinished business’ in Azerbaijan

10:58 , Jamie Braidwood

Max Verstappen says he has “unfinished business” in Baku after crashing with five laps remaining last season.

Vertsappen was on course for an important victory in his title battle with Lewis Hamilton at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix when a tyre issue sent him into the barriers, allowing teammate Sergio Perez to win the race.

Now Verstappen returns to the complex street circuit as world champion, and on top of the drivers’ standings, looking to claim the win he missed out on 12 months ago.

“I’m looking forward to returning to Baku, we have some unfinished business there after last year,” said Verstappen. “It’s a tricky track with big braking zones and a tight run off, finding the best set-up for the car will be difficult in terms of making sure we get the correct wing level.

“It will also be interesting to see if we can make our one lap performance better for qualifying as we’ve been lacking a little.”

Max Verstappen determined to take care of ‘unfinished business’ at Azerbaijan GP

Perez: Azerbaijan Grand Prix ‘all about confidence'

10:50 , Jamie Braidwood

Perez following his victory at the Monaco Grand Prix last time out: “There was a lot of excitement back home because it was a great day for my country. Winning in Monaco is a dream for every driver and it was very special. Things change so quickly in F1. You go from hero to zero in a matter of weeks. I think Baku is all about confidence and not making mistakes. You can compromise your weekend pretty quickly here.

Norris backs Verstappen opposition to F1 driver salary cap

10:47 , Jamie Braidwood

“I think Max explained it well. What he said is correct. The investment into young drivers, it’s difficult to get into F1. When you have investment they obviously want their money back. If it’s capped, there will be less interest. I think that’s one of the main points. But I think Max summed it up well.”

Verstappen on ‘completely wrong’ salary cap

10:46 , Jamie Braidwood

“From my side, it’s completely wrong because I think at the moment F1 is becoming more and more popular and everyone is making more and more money, including the teams, F1 (owners) - everyone is benefiting.

“So why should the drivers, with their IP rights and everything, be capped, who actually bring the show and put their lives at risk, because we do. So for me, it’s completely wrong.

“In all the junior categories if you see how many of those drivers have sponsor or a backer, who eventually will have a certain percentage of their income in potentially F1 or wherever.

“I think it’s going to limit that a lot because they will never get their return in money if you get a cap. So it will hurt all the junior categories as well and I don’t think you want that.”

Ricciardo hits back at critics after poor start to 2022 F1 season

10:45 , Jamie Braidwood

Daniel Ricciardo faces a big weekend in Baku and this week insisted that he has not ‘forgotten how to drive’ amid an extended run of poor form in Formula 1.

The Australian has struggled to live up to expectations since joining McLaren from Red Bull last year, and his best effort so far this season has been a sixth-placed finish in his home race in April.

Ricciardo’s contract with McLaren runs until the end of 2023, but team chief Zak Brown has hinted that the 32-year-old’s deal could be terminated earlier than that date.

“It kind of ebbs and flows, where sometimes I’ll get down on myself,” Ricciardo said, “but then other times I’m fired up and motivated to prove a lot of people wrong and prove myself right.

“More times than not, I’ll kind of chuckle at the doubt, because even last year – for sure – there were times where I was trying to figure it out. But already in April and May [last year] there were articles like, ‘He’s lost it,’ but six months earlier in 2020 I was regarded as one of the standout drivers of that season.

“The reality is I’ve not forgotten how to drive in six months, I haven’t lost my competitive edge; it’s just kind of a moment in time that I knew I could come out of. You are always going to get people saying this and that. It is what it is, it’s up to me in the car to prove them wrong.”

Daniel Ricciardo hits back at critics after poor start to 2022 F1 season

Verstappen not concerned by last season’s tyre failure in Baku

10:42 , Jamie Braidwood

“We just need to see in practice what we can do with the car and see where we are at. last year was not our fault. We have different tyres this year and they are going to behave very different. It’s important just to go out there and see what we want from the car. Ferrari are very competitive but we just have to focus on ourselves.”

Norris confident heading into Azerbaijan Grand Prix

10:39 , Jamie Braidwood

“Barcelona was a decent race and Monaco was strong for us. Many things can happen here. There are always unexpected peoeple on the podium. We have to hope we can be in that position. There’s the street-circuit vibe so there’s no margin for error. We have confidence in the car. I want to say I’m happy coming here.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Verstappen voices opposition to ‘completely wrong’ F1 driver salary cap

10:34 , Jamie Braidwood

Max Verstappen says Formula 1 introducing a salary cap for drivers would be “completely wrong”.

The sport is looking at ways of becoming more sustainable long-term with an overall budget cap introduced last season in a bid to keep costs down.

Driver salaries are not currently included in that cap but there is speculation that they soon could be.

Reigning world champion Verstappen, whose deal with Red Bull is understood to be worth upwards of £40m per year, is against the idea.

“It’s still all a bit vague. I think no one really knows where it’s going to go,” he said ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku.

Max Verstappen voices opposition to ‘completely wrong’ F1 driver salary cap

Impact of new F1 rules ‘a bit sad’, Pierre Gasly claims

10:28 , Lawrence Ostlere

Pierre Gasly claims the overhaul of Formula One’s rules and regulations have widened the competitive imbalance between teams on the grid and says he has been left “sad” by the dominance of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes this season.

Gasly said he had expected the new changes, which were the most significant the sport had seen in a generation and were intended to narrow the gaps between teams on the grid, have not had the desired effect.

The first seven races of the season have all been won by either Red Bull or Ferrari, with those two teams also dominating qualifying and the fight for pole position. McLaren’s Lando Norris is so far the only driver outside the top three to claim a podium finish.

Gasly, meanwhile, has scored just six championship points for Alpha Tauri, after a 2021 season which saw the French driver regularly compete for top-five finishes and punch above his weight by taking on the bigger teams.

Impact of new F1 rules ‘a bit sad’, Pierre Gasly claims

George Russell has ‘knocked Lewis Hamilton off his perch’

10:16 , Lawrence Ostlere

George Russell has knocked Lewis Hamilton off his perch and is now “top dog” at Mercedes F1, according to former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan.

In his rookie season with the Silver Arrows, Russell has consistently guided the W13 to respectable finishes, ending every race so far in the top five - the only driver in the sport to do so.

By contrast, seven-time world champion Hamilton has struggled to cope with an under-performing car and his third place at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix is the only race in which he’s finished above his teammate.

Those results mean Russell is fourth in the drivers’ standings - 34 points ahead of his more illustrious fellow Brit in sixth - and Jordan is adamant there has been a changing of the guard since the younger man joined Mercedes from Williams.

George Russell has ‘knocked Lewis Hamilton off his perch’, claims Eddie Jordan

Red Bull still fear ‘dangerous’ Mercedes potential despite struggles

09:48 , Lawrence Ostlere

Red Bull’s chief F1 advisor Helmut Marko admits his team are wary of the “dangerous potential” that Mercedes-AMG have despite their early-season struggles.

Red Bull are currently 101 points ahead of eight-time champions Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship, with Ferrari their closest rivals and this is replicated in the Drivers’ Championship standings - where Max Verstappen is 41 and 75 ahead of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton respectively.

Porpoising has limited the effectiveness of Mercedes so far this season, with their British drivers fighting just to stay competitive but Marko has seen enough improvements in the W13 to be concerned about its potential going forward.

Red Bull still fear ‘dangerous’ Mercedes potential despite struggles

‘Why should I stop?’: Lewis Hamilton not thinking about F1 retirement

09:32 , Lawrence Ostlere

Lewis Hamilton has again rejected suggestions he could walk away from Mercedes and retire during or after this season.

The seven-time world champion has been unable to recapture form and consistency to engage in another title fight with Max Verstappen, with his team not yet ensuring the new car design for the 2022 season is in perfect working order.

A series of finishes low down the leaderboard has Hamilton only sixth after seven races, with just 50 points accumulated so far – and teammate George Russell 34 ahead of him in fourth.

‘Why should I stop?’: Lewis Hamilton shuts down F1 retirement talk

Williams become first F1 team to be fined under new budget cap rules

09:16 , Lawrence Ostlere

Williams have been hit with a £20,000 fine after breaking financial regulations for the 2021 season.

Formula 1’s governing body, the FIA, brought in a cost cap which had been set at £115m and then lowered to £111m for the 2022 campaign, so aiming to limit how much any one team can spend.

As specified by the financial regulations, Williams had failed to submit full year accounts ahead of the deadline on March 31, 2022 thereby committing a ‘procedural breach’.

Williams had, the FIA said, “voluntarily disclosed” the breach in advance of the deadline and “been fully cooperative in seeking to remedy the breach”.

Williams become first F1 team to be fined under new budget cap rules

Bottas aims for ‘trouble-free weekend’ to unleash ‘full potential’ in Baku

09:02 , Lawrence Ostlere

Valtteri Bottas believes that his Alfa Romeo team can “fight towards the front” at this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but only if they fix some of the Friday hiccups that have been hindering the team in recent races.

Bottas previously won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in 201 and narrowly beat Lance Stroll to P2 here in a photo finish in 2017 and after a series of Friday practice issues this season Bottas is hoping for much smoother lead-up to the 2022 Azerbaijan GP.

“Baku is a place with both good and bad memories for me, so I definitely hope to add some more of the pleasant kind this weekend,” he said. “It’s crucial we can have a trouble-free weekend: we have been having some good results despite some Friday issues so far, and if we were to fix these, we could really see the full potential of our package.

“We know we can fight towards the front when we do it and it has to be the aim here as well. This is a track that can produce some chaotic races so we will need to be ready to make the most of any opportunity. It could be a lot of fun on Sunday.”

Mick Schumacher could become a victim of ‘brutal and cold’ F1, says two-time World Rally champion

08:46 , Lawrence Ostlere

Mick Schumacher will be cast aside by “brutal and cold” F1 unless he reduces his number of crashes and starts to outperform Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen, warns two-time World Rally champion Walter Röhrl.

Schumacher is yet to score a point this season - with Nicholas Latifi of Williams the only other regular driver to suffer that ignominy - whereas his fellow Haas driver Magnussen has impressed to rack up 15 points.

The German has also suffered a number of crashes during practice sessions, qualifying and most recently during the Monaco Grand Prix when he ploughed into the barrier at the Swimming Pool section after running wide.

Those high-speed and expensive crashes have left Haas with a hefty repair bill and all those factors mean Schumacher needs to quickly up his game, according to Röhrl.

Mick Schumacher could become a victim of ‘brutal and cold’ F1

F1 expected to stand firm over Russian involvement after axing Sochi Grand Prix

08:36 , Lawrence Ostlere

Formula One bosses are expected to stand firm over any future involvement with Russia after taking the decision to axe the Sochi Grand Prix following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

F1 has confirmed that Russia will no longer stage a race after the grand prix had been scheduled to move to St Petersburg next season. It will not be replaced on the calendar this season.

Along with cancelling its contract with Russia, Formula One has also cut the transmission of races from the country’s TV networks and blocked the streaming of content on the internet in the country.

The cancelled contract with Russia was set to expire in 2025 and according to Alexey Popov, a Russian journalist and F1 commentator, the sport looks set to continue to distance itself from the country for the foreseeable future.

F1 expected to stand firm over Russian involvement after axing Sochi Grand Prix

‘Nothing’ between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in F1 title race, confirms Christian Horner

08:25 , Lawrence Ostlere

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are set to go toe-to-toe in the Formula One championship race this season, according to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

Last year it was very much Verstappen as the title fighter against Lewis Hamilton, with Perez largely the second driver often tasked with trying to take points and places off Mercedes wherever possible.

This time around, though, he has started in formidable fashion and the top three - the Red Bull duo and Ferrar’s Charles Leclerc - are separated by just 15 points after seven rounds.

Perez has claimed four podium spots, with one victory in France, while Verstappen has four wins from five top-three finishes. But there will be no separating them from the team bosses and both will be allowed to fight it out, confirmed Horner.

Red Bull expecting grid to go in ‘one particular direction’ at Azerbaijan Grand Prix

08:18 , Lawrence Ostlere

Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan has said the team are “open-minded to change” as they look to evolve their RB18 car over the season and get the edge on championship rivals Ferrari.

Red Bull and Ferrari have been closely matched over the first seven races of the season but the momentum is with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez heading into the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku this weekend.

Perez delivered Red Bull’s fourth consecutive victory when he beat Carlos Sainz to win the Monaco Grand Prix, with Verstappen taking the previous three races to build a points lead over Charles Leclerc in the driver standings.

The teams have still been close in some areas of performance, however, with Red Bull excelling in straight line speed and Ferrari having the advantage in slow corners.

Red Bull expecting grid to go in ‘one particular direction’ at Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Good morning

Thursday 9 June 2022 18:12 , Jamie Braidwood

Formula One returns to Baku as the Azerbaijan Grand prix gets underway this afternoon with the opening day of practice.

The complex street circuit provided one of the races of the season last year, and defending world champion Max Verstappen has warned he has unfinished business after a dramatic late puncture denied the Red Bull driver victory.

Red Bull remain in the ascendency after Sergio Perez made it four wins in a row for the team at the Monaco Grand Prix last time out. Perez’s second win of the season has sparked talk of a potential title challenge, but Ferrari and Mercedes will be looking to hit back themselves.

Charles Leclerc has now gone two months without a race victory following his and Ferrari’s impressive start to the season, but the 24-year-old has still been sensational in qualifying and has claimed three pole positions in a row.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of practice today.

What time is Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice today and how can I watch?

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