Formula 1

Leclerc leads Red Bulls in first ever Sprint Shootout despite crashing in SQ3

Charles Leclerc topped the first ever Sprint Shootout and ensured pole for Saturday afternoon’s Sprint, ahead of the Red Bulls of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen.

In a dramatic conclusion to qualifying for the Sprint, Leclerc hit the barriers – but he had already set the benchmark of 1m 41.697s to take Sprint pole. Perez improved but could only manage second for the Shootout while Verstappen struggled for grip and took P3 for the Sprint.

The medium tyre was mandatory for the first and second sessions of qualifying – SQ1 and SQ2 – while teams had to fit a new set of softs for SQ3.

In SQ3, George Russell managed P4 for Mercedes but Carlos Sainz was compromised by his team mate’s crash and rounded out the top five ahead of Lewis Hamilton in sixth.

Sprint Shootout: 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Position Driver Time
1 Charles Leclerc 1m 41.697s
2 Sergio Perez 1m 41.844s
3 Max Verstappen 1m 41.987s
4 George Russell 1m 42.252s
5 Carlos Sainz 1m 42.287s
6 Lewis Hamilton 1m 42.502s
7 Alex Albon 1m 42.846s
8 Fernando Alonso 1m 43.010s
9 Lance Stroll 1m 43.064s
10 Lando Norris
11 Oscar Piastri
12 Nico Hulkenberg
13 Esteban Ocon
14 Kevin Magnussen
15 Logan Sargeant
16 Zhou Guanyu
17 Valtteri Bottas
18 Yuki Tsunoda
19 Pierre Gasly
20 Nyck de Vries


In SQ2, drivers had 10 minutes to set times and it was Verstappen who led the Ferraris. In the second segment of the Shootout, McLaren’s Oscar Piastri was eliminated in P11 ahead of Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) in P12. Esteban Ocon took P13 for Alpine and Magnussen was left 14th. Logan Sargeant qualified a provisional P15 for the Sprint but the Williams driver had crashed in SQ1.

The 12-minute SQ1 saw Leclerc, who took pole for Sunday’s Grand Prix in a Friday qualifying session, top the board ahead of Verstappen – while Sargeant crashed out at Turn 15 to end the session prematurely. Sargeant’s crash led to the elimination of both Alfa Romeos – Zhou Guanyu qualifying a provisional 16th and Valtteri Bottas 17th – plus a furious Yuki Tsunoda.

Pierre Gasly couldn’t put down a proper time and ended up 19th while Nyck de Vries, who crashed out of Q1 on Friday, qualified a provisional P20 for the Sprint having made an error at Turn 3 in SQ1.

There’s more excitement to come with the Sprint at 1730 local time, in which Ferrari’s Leclerc will lead the Red Bulls off the line.

Categories: Formula 1, Starting Line-Up

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