Azerbaijan GP: Leclerc takes pole from Red Bull pair in an intense session

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc took F1 Azerbaijan GP pole from Red Bull pair of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen in an intense qualifying.

After FP3 was delayed, the start of F1 Azerbaijan GP was delayed too for the two hours to get out as a pit incident involving Haas pair was noted to be investigated after the session by the FIA stewards.

There was incidents involving both the Aston Martin cars with Sebastian Vettel having an early off, but teammate Lance Stroll had two

At the right-hander, the car didn’t turn at all as he managed to continue on after reversing without any major damage.

Replays showed Tsunoda having a minor wall brush, as Red Bull’s Perez set the pace with a 1ms lap from the Ferrari pair of Leclerc and Carlos Sainz

The tyres were flat-spotted certainly which led to another bigger incident at Turn 2, this time at the left-hander where he just rammed onto the barrier. It brought out the red flag with about two and a half minutes to go for others to make it out.

On-track, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set the pace with a 1ms from teammate Sergio Perez as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third. The re-start was mayhem on out lap with everyone trying to outdo each other to make it on time.

Everyone did make it but some of them couldn’t generate enough temperature to attack the lap. While the AlphaTauri duo got into the Top 10, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas made it into Q2 from the knockout zone, with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen (1ms) in 16th.

Williams’ Alexander Albon (1ms) was 17th in the end but he was pissed about the tactics from Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, who went off in the left-hander. Nicholas Latifi (1ms) was behind him in 18th with Stroll (1ms) and Haas’ Mick Schumacher (1m5.775s) rounding the 20 drivers.

The second part in F1 Azerbaijan GP qualifying was close between the Red Bull and Ferrari pair at the front, but for Aston Martin’s Vettel, it was another moment at the left-hander where the car seemingly didn’t turn with a BBW fail message on the dash.

The stewards, meanwhile, put Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton under investigation for driving unnecessarily slowly at Turn 12. There was an off moment for AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda at Turn 2, while McLaren’s Lando Norris having one at Turn 15.

The lap where the Mexican went fastest saw a minor brush with the wall but he managed to continue on.

It wasn’t a good end for the McLaren pair with Norris (1ms) ending up only 11th, missing the Top 10 by 0.022s, with Daniel Ricciardo (1ms) behind him in 12th. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon (1ms) was 13th with Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu (1ms) in 14th and Bottas (1ms) in 15th.

The third part in F1 Azerbaijan GP qualifying started off interestingly as the two Ferrari cars led the Red Bull pair, where Sainz headed Leclerc by 0.047s in provisional pole position. Perez slotted in third despite a wall brush with Verstappen in fourth.

The best of the rest spot was with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, as he headed Mercedes’ George Russell. The second run saw no improvement from Sainz which dropped him to fourth after his initial lap of 1ms in the first run.

But teammate Leclerc smashed himself to F1 Azerbaijan GP pole with a 1ms lap as a last lap dash from Red Bull’s Perez put him in second with a 1ms lap which was enough to beat his teammate Verstappen (1ms) in a straight fight.

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