Azerbaijan GP: Leclerc takes pole in a crash-filled qualifying

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Charles Leclerc made it back-to-back pole positions in a crash-filled qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Just like Monaco two weeks ago, the Ferrari driver set the benchmark in the first runs of Q3 and then saw a red flag prevent the rest from improving on their second timed lap.

The difference was this time it was Yuki Tsunoda and teammate Carlos Sainz who both hit the barriers at Turn 3 rather than Leclerc himself.

Surprisingly or not, Lewis Hamilton put Mercedes back into contention in second as a decision to run less wing and complete two warm-up laps paid dividends.

That no doubt will frustrate title rival Max Verstappen, with the Dutchman only taking third in the Red Bull.


Qualifying began with two red flags early after Lance Stroll and Antonio Giovinazzi both crashed at Turn 15.

Hamilton set the pace for Mercedes, two-tenths clear of Verstappen.

At the back, there were no surprises as Nicholas Latifi took 16th, Mick Schumacher 17th and Nikita Mazepin 18th, as the two Haas' were slowest again.

Stroll was ahead of Giovinazzi on the timesheet despite neither setting a time.


Q2 saw the top five cars covered by just 0.034s and just 0.009s separate Verstappen, Perez and Hamilton at the top.

The segment came to an early end after Daniel Ricciardo out-braked himself and crashed at Turn 3, resulting in an early exit in P13.

His accident also stopped others from improving with Sebastian Vettel missing Q3 by just 0.029s in 11th.

Esteban Ocon was 12th, Kimi Raikkonen 14th and George Russell 15th.


The battle for pole saw Leclerc fastest by two-tenths after the first runs thanks to a significant tow behind both Mercedes' down the main straight.

Hamilton also benefitted from a slipstream behind teammate Bottas to take second provisionally ahead of Verstappen in third.

And that would be how the order finished as the all final runs were ruined by Tsunoda repeating Ricciardo's crash at Turn 3, while Sainz also out-braked himself just behind and slid into the wall in the escape road.

Tsunoda's AlphaTauri teammate Pierre Gasly was a strong fourth, just 0.002s slower than Verstappen.

Sainz was a further 0.011s back in fifth, with Lando Norris sixth but facing disqualification after breaching the red flag procedure in Q1.

Perez will be frustrated in seventh ahead of Tsunoda. Fernando Alonso was ninth as Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top 10 having failed to get a clean lap in his first run of Q3.

A typically Baku qualifying session and a rather mixed up grid for Sunday's race in Azerbaijan where quite literally anything could happen.

Full results from qualifying can be seen below: