2018 Azerbaijan GP: Alonso High up the Order in Friday Practice

Friday practice in Azerbaijan tested many drivers’ skill sets with the dusty track surface, many were struggling in the first practice session, however Fernando Alonso was not one of them, as he clocked the 7th fastest time.

2018 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Free Practice 1 Results
1.finland Valtteri Bottas MercedesMercedes261’44.242 
2.australia Daniel Ricciardo Red BullTAG241’44.2770.035
3.mexico Sergio Perez Force IndiaMercedes261’45.0750.833
4.united_kingdom Lewis Hamilton MercedesMercedes241’45.2000.958
5.france Esteban Ocon Force IndiaMercedes291’45.2370.995
6.netherlands Max Verstappen Red BullTAG111’45.5591.317
7.spain Fernando Alonso McLarenRenault251’46.4652.223
8.russia Sergey Sirotkin WilliamsMercedes281’46.4802.238
9.france Pierre Gasly Toro RossoHonda181’46.4922.250
10.germany Sebastian Vettel FerrariFerrari181’46.5132.271

Unsurprisingly, even in second practice the unique challenge of the Baku city circuit brought out many driver mistakes, similary as in FP1 Fernando ranked highly, this time even higher than earlier in the day, as he finished Friday in 6th place.

 2018 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Free Practice 2 Results
1.australia Daniel Ricciardo Red BullTAG351’42.795 
2.finland Kimi Raikkonen FerrariFerrari331’42.8640.069
3.netherlands Max Verstappen Red BullTAG271’42.9110.116
4.finland Valtteri Bottas MercedesMercedes251’43.5700.775
5.united_kingdom Lewis Hamilton MercedesMercedes311’43.6030.808
6.spain Fernando Alonso McLarenRenault341’43.7000.905
7.france Esteban Ocon Force IndiaMercedes301’43.8141.019
8.spain Carlos Sainz. RenaultRenault361’43.8341.039
9.denmark Kevin Magnussen HaasFerrari291’43.9771.182
10.germany Nico Hulkenberg RenaultRenault331’44.0911.296

McLaren’s biggest weakness this season undoutably has been qualifying pace, neither Fernando or Stoffel are yet to appear in the third part of qualifying, could Baku be the turning point?

Fernando Alonso showed strong, promising pace in his McLaren McL33 on Friday, racking up 6th & 7th place, while Stoffel Vandoorne managed only 19th place in both Friday sessions.

Fernando Alonso:

“Ours was a comfortable car to drive today – that’s always important on a street circuit, where you have to attack the corners and feel confident in the car. Today, we had a car that performed well in all three sectors, each of which is fairly unique.

“This weekend’s updates were introduced in order to help deal with the circuit’s characteristics, and seem to be working as we expected. It feels like we’ve found a little bit of speed compared to the last few races, so I’m fairly happy, as we weren’t compromised in either the corners or the slow speed sector.

“I was also a little lucky on my fast lap, running behind Nico Hülkenberg as he began his quick-lap, so I gained a couple of tenths in the final sector.

“It’s going to be as tough as ever to make it into Q3 tomorrow, but this is actually one of those races where you don’t really know if starting ninth or 10th is actually better than starting 11th or 12th, and getting a free choice of fresh tyre.”