Azerbaijan GP: McLaren cruise through Friday practice

Azerbaijan GP: McLaren cruise through Friday practice

McLaren has cruised through day one of practice at the Azerbaijan GP. As the team look to keep the edge over their Ferrari rivals.

As Formula 1 returns to the Azerbaijan GP after a 2020 hiatus, McLaren completed both sessions of Friday practice with little disruption to the ongoing setup of their MCL35M.

Lando Norris completed FP1 in eighth, while in a pleasant surprise, teammate Daniel Ricciardo looked to be back in form, chalking up fifth.

Another favoured circuit of Ricciardo’s, the Australian looked comfortable in the car throughout the session. Something that will no doubt please not only the man himself, but McLaren and fans alike.

After attention was placed on the short runs during FP1, the MCL35M was setup in race spec for the majority of FP2. With the team investigating how the car handled around the difficult track on the longer runs.

The completion of FP2 saw Norris again finish in eighth, while not indicative of his true speed, Ricciardo dropped down the timesheet to come in at 13th.

“It was a pretty good day,” Ricciardo said. “We certainly found a few things and made progress. The lap times don’t always tell the full story, and 13th doesn’t show much, but I think we’re a lot closer than that. Obviously, we’ve still got to work hard to make it happen, but I think today was certainly a step in the right direction and I feel more comfortable and confident going into tomorrow.”

Turn 15 appears to be where the majority of drivers are getting caught out, with discussions of possible tail winds making braking difficult going into the left-hander.

Heading into Sunday’s Azerbaijan GP, McLaren’s main competition at this stage look to be Ferrari. After enjoying success in the slow corners at Monaco, the Scuderia again showed good form during both practice sessions.

Charles Leclerc echoed the same sentiments regarding the competition between Ferrari and McLaren. Adding that he feels the Woking-based team may be hiding some of their actual speed.

“McLaren are very, very quick, but they haven’t showed it for some reason today,” said Leclerc. “Maybe it was less of a clean day compared to us, but I feel that they are still a bit ahead of us here, so we’ll have to wait and see tomorrow.

“It will be basically a fight with McLaren, that are our main competitors. So we need to make sure we do everything perfect, because they are doing very few mistakes this year. So we are going to try and maximise our potential and hopefully we can be ahead of them tomorrow in quali.”


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