Drivers returned to the Baku City Circuit this afternoon for the second session of Free Practice as Ferrari tried to outperform Sergio Perez following his dominant morning.
Red Bull looked to have the advantage over the Ferrari in the first Practice session in Azerbaijan, as Carlos Sainz struggled to keep up with his rivals.
Lewis Hamilton went fastest early doors in FP2, after setting a lap in 1:46.295s taking full advantage of the slipstream of Sergio Perez on the end straight.
Just moments later Carlos Sainz knocked the Mercedes off the top spot, lapping more than a second faster before his teammate Charles Leclerc pushed to go another second quicker – securing his place at the top of the timesheet.
Championship leader, Max Verstappen arrived on track fifteen minutes into the session and managed to go sixth on his first flying lap – 1.5s behind Leclerc.
Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz closed in on his Monegasque teammate with just 0.5s between them with 45 minutes to go. The prancing horses had landed a one-two on the timesheets before Red Bull’s Sergio Perez split the pair with a lap .125s off Leclerc.
The Mexican’s time in second was short-lived as Verstappen got within an inch of the Ferrari after warming up his Pirellis.
Charles Leclerc went on to reset the benchmark on the soft tyres to extend his lead by another half-second nipped off his previous best time.
There was a brief yellow flag moment after Mick Schumacher went off the track at sector 1, and this was followed minutes later by Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc locking up and going off track at separate moments as they all got to grips with the tricky track.
The Red Bull driver had another off-track moment towards the end of the session, and although it caused no major issues for him, the resulting yellow flags hampered the flying laps of Verstappen and Sainz – meaning Leclerc kept a comfortable lead with just 15 minutes to go.
When time ran out, Leclerc had held his lead with Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen in second and third for Red Bull. Fernando Alonso was in fourth with Alpine’s latest updates in Azerbaijan paying off in straight-line speed.
Carlos Sainz was in fifth for Ferrari, with Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda in P6 and P8 for AlphaTauri this afternoon, split by the Mercedes of George Russell.
Filling out the top ten this afternoon was Esteban Ocon in ninth for Apline and McLaren’s Lando Norris in P10.
Drivers have just one more hour to test their limits on the Baku City Circuit tomorrow at 12:00 pm Irish time.