Formula 1

Leclerc beats Verstappen in qualifying thriller for third straight Azerbaijan GP pole

Charles Leclerc claimed pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after getting the better of Max Verstappen in a thrilling, hotly-contested qualifying session on Friday evening, making it three poles on the bounce at the Baku City Circuit.

With the Red Bull faster in a straight line, but the Ferrari quicker through the corners, a fascinating battle developed over the course of an incident-packed qualifying hour on the shores of the Caspian Sea – and it was Leclerc who ultimately came out on top.

Incredibly, Verstappen and Leclerc posted identical 1m 40.445s lap times during their first Q3 runs, only for Leclerc to step forward with a 1m 40.203s on the decisive final laps, putting him 0.188s up on Verstappen.

With Leclerc adding to his 2021 and 2022 poles at the venue, Verstappen settling for second and Sergio Perez securing third in the other Red Bull, it was Carlos Sainz who took the ‘best of the rest’ spot, some eight tenths off the pace of his Ferrari team mate.



1  Charles LECLERC Ferrari 1:40.203
2  Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing 1:40.391
3  Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing 1:40.495
4  Carlos SAINZ Ferrari 1:41.016
5  Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes 1:41.177


While Hamilton featured in the top 10 shootout, it was an early qualifying bath for his team mate, George Russell, who had to settle for 11th on the grid, ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and the Williams of Alex Albon, who ran firmly inside the top 10 in Q1 but lamented traffic on his last Q2 lap.

Valtteri Bottas was the lead Alfa Romeo in 14th place, with Logan Sargeant securing the first Q2 appearance of his burgeoning F1 career en route to 15th – making up for drama-filled sessions in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Australia.

Zhou Guanyu missed the Q2 cut by just 0.020s after recovering from a spin and a near-miss with the barriers, leaving him 16th, while Haas lost both Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen at the first hurdle – the latter hindered by technical issues throughout Q1.

Pierre Gasly and Nyck de Vries will form the final row of the grid for Sunday’s race, with the Alpine and AlphaTauri drivers crashing out separately at Turn 3 in the opening phase – both incidents bringing out the red flags and interrupting the action.

Categories: Formula 1, Starting Line-Up

Tagged as: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s