Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are confident of closing the gap on Ferrari after Charles Leclerc topped free practice on Friday at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Leclerc edged out Perez by over two tenths of a second, with championship leader Verstappen settling for third, 0.356s behind.
Perez had topped the first free practice of the day, but Leclerc had the edge later on in the afternoon as Red Bull suffered with porpoising and Verstappen wrestled with an oscillating rear wing.
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But neither seemed phased by the challenge ahead of qualifying on Saturday, with Perez reflecting on his good performance in FP1.
“It was a good start to the day,” said Perez. “P2 didn’t feel as good as we would have liked. We probably took some wrong directions with it, but we were just exploring and it was not coming, and we were not able to sort out our problems.
"But we have the data, with both tyres as well in the long run; we diverged with Max in that regard (Verstappen carried his FP2 long run on soft tyres with Perez on the mediums), so I think there is good data for us to gather and to go through tonight, and hopefully we’re able to put it all together.”
And Verstappen echoed his team-mate's comments, and considered himself unlucky after yellow flags interrupted two of his flying runs.
“I was just a bit unlucky with my soft tyre runs – in FP1 and FP2 all the time, I caught yellow flags so I had to back out,” said Verstappen.
“But overall, we look quite decent. Looks like Ferrari are quite quick over one lap gain. Long runs then look a little bit more even, so that’s positive… But overall, not a bad day, just need to fine-tune a few things.”
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