"I didn't expect it"

Find the main reactions after the qualifying session of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which saw Charles Leclerc take pole position ahead of Sergio Pérez and Max Verstappen.

Ferrari Charles Leclerc (MCO/Ferrari) – Pole position

” It feels good. This lap… Of course, all pole positions are pleasant, but I didn’t expect this one. I thought Red Bull Racing would be stronger, they were very strong in Q1 and Q2. We had a little more difficulty to go faster. In the end, I managed to do a good lap and that was enough. I am very excited for the race. Tire management will be key in the race here. In Barcelona and Monaco, we managed them well even if it was difficult to see him well in Monaco. I think that we have evolved on this level thanks to the changes we have made. It will be interesting to see if, tomorrow (Sunday), we can have this good management. »

Red Bull Racing Sergio Pérez (MEX/Red Bull Racing) – 2nd

“When you’re in Q3, the first attempt, that’s when you let go of everything. And it was a bit too much on my first lap. I hit the wall several times. Fortunately, we managed to survive, which is really the key here. But it wasn’t an ideal qualifying session because at the end we had a problem with the engine. We couldn’t turn it on. And that means we lost… I was on my own with no draft on the last flying lap, basically. And here it is very powerful. Who knows if that would have been enough for pole position, but we definitely lost a few tenths. But I think Charles Leclerc had a very good lap. I think tomorrow (Sunday) is a very long race ahead of us, so we just have to make sure we’re there. It’s a very long race, you know, so anytime you can make a mistake. And that’s all. »

Red Bull Racing Max Verstappen (PBS/Red Bull Racing) – 3rd

“I think the start of the lap was good, but I made a mistake. It’s not ideal, I struggled to find my balance on the front axle on one lap. It’s not what I want but as a team, being second and third gives us a great opportunity for tomorrow (Sunday). We will see but I think that overall, we lack performance over one lap. But on the long stints I think the car should be good. »

Ferrari Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Ferrari) – 4th

“It’s really a shame. I was fast throughout the session, we made progress from the third free practice session and I was fighting for pole position, but looking for the limit and that small tenth, I made a mistake in the corner 2 after being a little too aggressive on the accelerator pedal. It’s like that. When you attack on the edge and play pole, these kinds of things can happen. We are in the fight and I think it will be difficult to beat Red Bull Racing tomorrow (Sunday) because of their race pace, but by starting fourth and first we will have a shot at the start and with the strategy . It is possible to overtake here, the position on the starting grid is not so important and a lot can happen tomorrow (Sunday). »

mercedes George Russell (GBR/Mercedes) – 5th

“I think it’s only a matter of time before we experience a major incident. Many of us can barely keep the car straight over these bumps. We pass the last two corners at 300km/h, we heel and you can see how close the cars are set to the ground. With the technology currently available to us, it seems to me that it is not necessary to drive single-seaters at high speed a few millimeters from the ground. This is a recipe for real disaster. I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I don’t think we can survive this for three years or as long as these regulations are in force. For what it’s worth, we’re not in favor of a rule change because every race we learn about the car. Any modification could limit this learning. I think the top teams, Ferrari probably more than Red Bull Racing, are in the same situation because you can see they are struggling with this and no one is doing it to improve performance, it’s for safety reasons. . I can barely see the braking zone because I’m bouncing so much. It’s not a comfortable situation so together we have to think about it. It is very clearly dangerous. »

Alpha Tauri Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri) – 6th

“We can be very happy to separate the two Mercedes, one tenth behind George Russell and one tenth ahead of Lewis Hamilton. It was a really good qualifying session. We managed to focus on our session, not make any mistakes, stay away from pitfalls throughout this session and get our best qualification of the year. If a lot of things happen like last year, that would be a good thing. We made strategic choices that were a little different from the others, we only kept one set of hard tires when most of the other teams have two. We will have to see what it can do in terms of degradation for the race and in terms of strategy. The most important thing was to have a simple weekend, not to make mistakes, not to complicate the weekend ourselves. For the moment, that’s what we’ve managed to do, so I’m satisfied. Now we will have to finish the job tomorrow (Sunday). »

Alpine Esteban Ocon (FRA / Alpine) – 13th

“We caught a yellow flag in our lap and I couldn’t continue my attempt. The first lap on the track was with worn tyres, we just had to get our bearings and then set a time on this second lap with new tyres. We were five tenths of a second ahead. We should have been in Q3 for three tenths. At that time, it was ahead of Fernando Alonso. It hurts because it’s twice in a row, in Monaco then here, that we have to qualify better. It’s a shame but, in our misfortune, it’s a difficult qualifying session but, tomorrow (Sunday), it could go up. It’s a track on which there are opportunities, where it can overtake. We have a better speed than that so we will do everything to be able to go up. To take points, we will have to reach the end of this race but we will do everything for it. »

Sources: official Formula 1 interviews, Canal+, Sky Sports

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