Leclerc on pole in Baku

Charles Leclerc gave everything on his last lap to take pole position in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, his sixth this season. The Monegasque leads Sergio Pérez and Max Verstappen while Carlos Sainz Jr could not do better than fourth.

Charles Leclerc is definitely the strongest in the exercise of qualifications. For the sixth time in eight Grands Prix and the fourth time in a row, the Monegasque took pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. A qualifying session which got off to a turbulent start with a quarter-hour delay imposed by the regulations after the delay at the start of the third free practice session then Lance Stroll’s double fault which caused a red flag at the very end of Q1. The Aston Martin driver, after pulling straight out of turn 7 at the Baku circuit, did the same at turn 2 the following lap, seriously damaging his front end. The rest of the session saw the duel between Ferrari and Red Bull racing resume. However, after Max Verstappen in Q1 then Sergio Pérez in Q2, it was when it counted the most that Charles Leclerc made his effort.

Leclerc will not be able to count on Sainz at the start

Indeed, thanks in particular to a very big first sector, the Monegasque settled at the top of the time sheet with a lap completed in 1’41”359. Max Verstappen, less efficient at the start of the lap, failed at 347 thousandths of a second. Red Bull Racing’s hopes then rested on Sergio Pérez but the Mexican, two weeks after his success in Monaco, was only able to come within 282 thousandths of a second of the benchmark set by the Ferrari driver. However, at the start, Charles Leclerc will have to resist the charge of the Dutchman and the Mexican. Indeed, in his last attempt, Carlos Sainz Jr slipped too much at the exit of turn 2, an error which did not allow the Spaniard to improve his mark. The Ferrari driver will start from fourth position and will have to whip to allow his leader to resist the top speed of the RB18s this Sunday during the race.

Gasly well placed, Ocon behind

Behind the two dominant forces is George Russell. However, the difference is very clear between the Mercedes and those who will be in front of him. Indeed, the Briton conceded well over a second to Charles Leclerc and is just ahead of Pierre Gasly. In difficulty in recent weeks, the Rouennais has risen to sixth place and is ahead of a Lewis Hamilton who is still in difficulty with the W13. Yuki Tsunoda, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso complete the Top 10 of this qualifying session. For Esteban Ocon, it will be a race of attack since the Alpine driver was unable to climb into Q3, failing in 13th place in the second segment of the session behind the McLaren Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo drivers. A session which saw the two Alfa Romeos stop in Q2 when the Haas were not level, stopping in Q1. A race that promises to be lively on the intractable Baku circuit and, above all, the hardest part begins for Charles Leclerc.

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