Leclerc first in F1 training: Leakage gives Schumacher next setback

Leclerc first in F1 practice
The leak causes Schumacher’s next setback

At the start of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc and Ferrari raise hopes for their first victory in two months. Meanwhile, Mick Schumacher suffers another setback. The 23-year-old falls at the start of the first session.

Monaco’s disappointing match ended at home, the first win looming in two months: Ferrari star Charles Leclerc made a strong first impression at the start of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Monegas set the fastest practice lap with a time of 1:43.224, leaving Red Bull rivals Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez behind.

Leclerc, who reported engine problems at the end of the session, had a two-second lead over second-placed Paco Sergio Perez. Leclerc is under pressure in the World Drivers’ Championship. His relaxed lead, at 24, has only podiumed once in the past four races. He now ranks behind world champion Max Verstappen.

Perez, who won the race on the Caspian Sea last year, was a tenth of a second faster than his teammate Verstappen. The Dutchman wants to get to the podium in Baku for the first time in the race on Sunday (1pm/sky), but has had a tough start. Technical issues with the wobbly rear wing slowed the defending champions. Championship captain Verstappen was not on the podium in Azerbaijan and had no fond memories of the Caspian Circuit.

Schumacher with a leak in the car

Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) finished 11th training. “It was OK, we found our rhythm very well,” Vettel said on Sky. “We know roughly where we have to go. There’s still more to come, we’re sure there is more to come.” Record champion Lewis Hamilton battled in the Mercedes with the Silver Arrow rebounding hard, and the Briton was only twelfth.

Mick Schumacher, who already wants to prove himself against the growing criticism of his performance in Baku, is off to a false start. The 23-year-old had to park his Haas right at the start of the first session with a major leak in the cooling system. In the second training session it was only enough for 19th place.

Schumacher is under pressure after renewing his complete loss in Monaco two weeks ago. Team boss Gunther Steiner issued a collision ban. “At some point our cars are going to run out, we can’t make them anymore. That’s why it’s so important that nothing happens here,” Steiner said Thursday. Schumacher was not responsible for the damage to Haas this time around, but he is still struggling after repairs in the second training session.

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