Lewis Hamilton was “a bit sore” after the Mercedes he drove struggled to bounce on straights during Friday practice at Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
After finishing the 12th fastest day, he said “I’ll get through,”. “We’re reaching some serious speeds at this straight, and it’s bouncing quite a bit.”
George Russell, a teammate, said that the new rules should be rethought
Russell stated, “I don’t believe it’s right to run as this for the next four year or whatever we’ve got.”
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“Conversations will be necessary because everyone is in the same boat.”
After the introduction of new rules to make it easier to overtake and close the field, most teams have experienced some bouncing on straights. This is due to a disruption in the car’s subbody airflow.
These changes have affected the aerodynamics of the cars and caused the bouncing problem. Mercedes is currently struggling with this issue more than any other.
The world champions thought they were on top with changes made to the Spanish Grand Prix two race ago, but Baku’s long straight has seen it return this weekend. It features a series kinks that have been flat out.
Russell, who is a director at the Grand Prix Drivers Association, stated: “Now, the car runs so close to ground, it’s crazy around those high-speed corners.
Ferrari and Red Bull are again close
Leclerc finished the day 0.24 seconds faster than Monaco Grand Prix winner Sergio Perez’s Red Bull. The Ferrari driver also said that he had had a “good Friday”.
Max Verstappen, Leclerc’s title rival, was 0.108 seconds further behind. Fernando Alonso, whose Alpine features received a major aerodynamic upgrade this week, was fourth fastest and beat Carlos Sainz’s second Ferrari.
Leclerc stated that it was difficult to understand the true performance picture due to the nature of the sessions.
Leclerc stated that he believes it would be a difficult fight to the top. We have made significant improvements from P1 to the P2, but we still need to take another step.
“I feel that in P2 nobody really put in a lap in – neither did we. But Max and Carlos didn’t really improve on the softs, so there are still a lot of questions.
“The good news is that there was no degradation and that the race was moving at a very fast pace, so that is a positive.”
After three races this season, Leclerc saw a 46-point advantage over Verstappen turn into a nine point deficit after four Red Bull wins and a string of problems for Ferrari. He said that he was confident he could regain the lead as the season progressed.
Leclerc stated, “If everything goes perfectly, I am certain we will take the lead back at some point.”
Red Bull and Ferrari were closely matched in Baku based on race pace.
Red Bull was the team to beat in the initial session. Perez was the fastest, and Verstappen and Verstappen were clearly quicker on the straights. This is a crucial factor on a track that is so long and easy to overtake.
Ferrari’s straights deficit was reduced in the second session and Leclerc took over as pace-setter for the season.
Verstappen was on the track at the end of the second session, as Red Bull was making repairs to his rear wings. The latter was damaged during the first session when it fluctuated.
Later, traffic disrupted his qualifying simulation runs. He managed only to complete two laps in race trim at session’s end.
Perez was the more comfortable Red Bull driver, despite Verstappen complaining about understeer in the first session, and Perez struggling with an unstable rear end in the second.
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Perez seems poised to continue his solid run of form following his win in Monaco
Perez stated that although it was a positive start to the day P2 didn’t go as smoothly as we would like. We may have gone in the wrong direction or were simply exploring, and are not able find our problem.
“But we have data on both the tyres for the long runs. We should be able to get it all together for qualifying. “I feel confident out there.”
Russell was sixth fastest behind Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly, with Russell’s French teammate Yuki Tusunoda in eighth. Russell came from the second Alpine of Esteban Olco.n and McLaren’s Lando Norris.