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Sergio Perez outshone his world champion teammate Max Verstappen again in third and final practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Saturday.
The Mexican, nominally the number two in the Red Bull garage, is enjoying a golden moment in his career and coaxed his car around this complex street circuit to top the timesheets ahead of qualifying for Sunday's race.
Winner here in 2021 and in Monaco last time out Perez clocked a fastest lap of 1min 43.170, with Charles Leclerc's Ferrari 0.070s adrift.
Verstappen complained volubly over the team radio after being held up by traffic on his last throw of the third practice dice.
"It's unbelievable man, there are cars everywhere," he grumbled as he finished 0.279s away with the other Ferrari of Carlos Sainz (0.426) and Lando Norris's McLaren (1.248) completing the top five.
In an encouraging upturn in fortune Daniel Ricciardo, the 2017 winner in Azerbaijan, had the second McLaren in sixth ahead of Pierre Gasly, enjoying himself in the Alpha Tauri at the track he took a podium place last year.
On another trying day for struggling Mercedes, George Russell managed eighth but seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was only 12th.
Verstappen leads Leclerc by nine points in the drivers' title race ahead of this eighth round of the season, with Perez only a further six points behind.