Daniel Ricciardo has opened his account at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with a stellar showing in the first practice session, finishing fifth fastest in a blistering session.
The Australian finished ahead of teammate Lando Norris, who came in with the eighth fastest time.
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Truth be told, Norris wasn’t too far behind his elder teammate. To be exact, Ricciardo was just under three hundredths of a second ahead of the Brit.
Ricciardo also finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton in seventh.
Championship leader Max Verstappen led all drivers, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in second and third respectively, while Sergio Perez was in fourth.
Despite his amazing start to the season, Norris stated to reporters in Baku that he’s also not driving the McLaren car as much as he’d like.
Ricciardo had a strong showing in the first practice session in Baku.Source:AFP
“I’ve had to adapt to a lot of different things, and I still can’t necessarily drive it the way I want to,” Norris said.
“I can’t drive it the way that I want.
“So a bit of it is just you have to adapt, and every car in F1 is different and you have to get used to it.
“I would say Monaco was my best qualifying that I’ve done, but I made mistakes in previous qualifying and races because of not knowing about the car enough.
“So there are definitely a lot of differences and it’s not been easy – going from last year, the last two years, to this year.”
The current championship leader Max Verstappen was the fastest during the practice session, blitzing the Baku streets with a time of 1:43:184.
Ricciardo held the fastest time for a brief moment, clocking in with 1:43:732.
While it may have only been a practice session, it undoubtedly represents a marked shift for Ricciardo after an abysmal showing at one of his favourite races, the Monaco Grand Prix.
Ricciardo is looking to repeat his 2017 heroics when he won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.Source:Getty Images
If one thing’s for sure, it’s that the West Australian has never provided a boring finish in Baku.
A 2017 victory when driving for Red Bull was followed by a collision with then-teammate Max Verstappen which caused both of them to retire.
2019 saw a complete brainfade as Ricciardo reversed straight into Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso and saw both cars exit the race.
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix starts at 10pm AEST on Sunday 6 June.
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