Formula One

F1 Azerbaijan Qualyfing Result: Leclerc Scores Third Consecutive Baku Pole

Charles Leclerc knows his way around Baku. The Ferrari driver scored his third straight pole position in Baku, becoming the first driver to beat Red Bull in some form this season. Max Verstappen will line up second on Sunday, followed by teammate Sergio Perez.

Charles Leclerc F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying pole
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-23. 28.04.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku Street Circuit, Azerbaijan, Qualifying Day. –, EMail: [email protected] © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images – Photo by Icon sport

F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Who Will be on Pole?

Charles Leclerc will be on pole for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The Monegasque driver backed up his strong showing in FP1 and became the first non-Red Bull driver to score a pole position in 2023. The Ferrari man beat Max Verstappen to the top spot, while current points runner-up Sergio Perez will line up third, behind his Red Bull teammate.

F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Q1: Leclerc Tops Chaotic 45-Minute Session

Qualifying got off to a bumpy start. Bottas topped the early minutes, before Verstappen jumped ahead. And then, chaos ensued. Going into turn 3, Nyck de Vries completely missed the braking point and went head-first into the wall, severely damaging the front of his AlphaTauri. Naturally, the Dutchman’s shunt led to a red flag.

After a few minutes of stoppage, the session resumed – but drivers didn’t really get a chance to set a green flag lap. Pierre Gasly also found the wall near turn 3, but exiting the corner. It was a nightmarish Friday for the Frenchman, who had already missed out on the FP1 running following an engine fire. Gasly’s crash caused some major damage to the foam barrier, forcing yet another red flag.

The session resumed again, but with limited running time. Leclerc improved to first, dropping Verstappen to second. Zhou Guanyu and Haas duo Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen joined Gasly and de Vries in the drop zone – with Zhou missing out on 15th place by just two thousandths.

F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Q2: Verstappen on Top, Disappointment for Mercedes

Alonso got out first and briefly went to the top. But as soon as Ferrari and Red Bull got their laps in, the Aston Martin driver dropped to fourth. Leclerc went top again, followed by Perez and Verstappen. Sainz had a moment in turn 3, but avoided joining Gasly and de Vries in the repair bill, as the Spaniard bailed out of the corner and into the runoff.

The session continued without any major incidents, leading to an exciting run to the flag. Albon was the man on the bubble, with Mercedes duo Hamilton and Russell eighth and ninth, respectively.

Verstappen went first in his final attempt. The McLarens of Norris and Piastri jumped into Q3, with the Brit sixth and the Aussie rookie ninth. Russell was pipped by his teammate by four thousandths, dropping to 11th. Ocon, Albon, Bottas and Sargeant joined the Mercedes man.

F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Q3: Leclerc Beats Verstappen to Pole

The Red Bulls were the first two cars to head out, with Verstappen topping the times. Leclerc set an identical time as the Dutchman, a 1:40.445. Since the two-time champion was the first one to have set his laptime, the Monegasque remained in second place.

In another incident-free session, it all went to a final dash to the flag. Leclerc broke his tie with Verstappen, improving the laptime by just over two tenths with a 1:40.203. Verstappen didn’t manage to beat the Ferrari driver’s laptime, missing out on pole by 0.188s. Perez finished third, ahead of Sainz, Hamilton, Alonso, Norris, Tsunoda, Stroll and Piastri. Stroll struggled throughout the session, as the Canadian’s Aston Martin had to run without DRS, completing what was a disappointing qualifying for the British team.

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