Max Verstappen making statement in FP1 - Baku 2021
(Image above by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
  • Charging Bulls again

Max Verstappen started the weekend as strong as he could by putting it right at the top of the timesheet in FP1. The surprise was then Ferrari. After an out-of-place strong performance in Monaco, a fall back to grace was expected.

Despite that, Charles Leclerc was P2 less than a tenth of Verstappen, and Carlos Sainz was in P3 just under half a second of Verstappen. A great showing for the Scuderia.

Behind the Ferrari's was Verstappen's teammate Sergio Perez again floating on the half a second deficit we are seeing between himself and Verstappen.

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  • Mercedes, slow?

Daniel Ricciardo placed his McLaren in P5 putting in a strong effort exactly when he needed to after being massively outclassed by his teammate Lando Norris last time out and generally across the season so far.

Then came Pierre Gasly, who seems to love being just outside the top five on such regular occasions. Then we find Lewis Hamilton who had issues on his fastest lap so we do not know what Mercedes have right now. On saying that, seven-tenths of a second is still a big margin to Verstappen.

The top 10 was rounded off by Norris, Fernando Alonso in his Alpine, and Valtteri Bottas who had an interesting start to his week getting to the paddock much later than intended due to a flight issue.

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  • Alfa Romeo making strides

Alfa Romeo has started to flirt with the top 10 on many occasions in the last few rounds and has done so again with Kimi Raikkonen in P11 and Antonio Giovinazzi in P12.

Behind was Lance Stroll, ahead of Yuki Tsunoda who still cannot get up to the speed of his teammate. Despite that, he still managed to bridge the gap between the Aston Martin's and finish ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Then came Esteban Ocon on a slower than he would have liked FP1. Then P17 onwards could not be more predictable with George Russell ahead of Nicholas Latifi and Mick Schumacher ahead of teammate Nikita Mazepin.