Azerbaijan GP: AlphaTauri take top spot in eventful FP3 session

After a chaotic final practice session in Baku, it was AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly who took the top spot with a fastest lap time of 1m42.251s.

Sergio Perez, the fastest driver of Free Practice 2, slipped down into second just behind the AlphaTauri driver.

Max Verstappen, the front runner of Free Practice 1, was the cause of the second red flag of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as he plummeted into the wall at turn 15. His slip-up placed him in 15th place heading into qualifying this afternoon.

The deployment of the red flag resulted in the loss of 20 minutes of the practice session; a critical chunk of time for Mercedes as their misfortune continued.

Mercedes’ cracks started to show as for most of the session the two cars sat out of the top-10. Lewis Hamilton complained about having no rear or front grip but after receiving a reluctant tow from Perez in the final 5 minutes of the session, Hamilton managed to claw his way up to third.

However, the street race woes continued for Valtteri Bottas as he finished the session in 13th.

Charles Leclerc was put on the backfoot by a yellow flag caused by Nicholas Latifi which led to Leclerc forfeiting his flying lap. Despite his session being punctured by numerous yellow flags, Leclerc produced a time good enough to place him in fourth.

Leclerc’s teammate, Carlos Sainz, followed in fifth and Lando Norris finished in sixth.

A good result for the Alpines today as both finished in the top-10; Fernando Alonso ended his session in seventh and just 0.214s behind him sat his teammate Esteban Ocon in ninth.

A big day for Yuki Tsunoda as he too finished in the top-10 wedged between the two Alpines in eighth.

The last ten minutes of the session brought an end to George Russell’s run as his car retired with no power accompanied by complaints of no gear control.

Despite initiating a virtual safety car, Russell’s retirement made no changes to the standings as the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo rounded of the top-10 drivers.