Charles Leclerc Takes Third Azerbaijan Grand Prix Pole Position For Ferrari

By Robert Haile

It has been an action packed weekend in Baku for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with qualifying for the Grand Prix and Sprint race.

The big news as the teams came to Baku was the new qualifying format for the weekend as the Grand Prix and Sprint became separate races.

Previously there had been a qualifying session for the Sprint Race and that race would set the grid for the Grand Prix now a short qualifying session would take place for the Sprint Race and a normal qualifying for the Grand Prix.

Ferrari hit back as the Prancing Horse’s Charles Leclerc took pole position for both the Sprint Race and Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc takes Pole Position for both the Grand Prix and Sprint Race

In the first qualifying on Friday April 28 Leclerc made it three in a row having taken pole in 2021 and 2022.

Leclerc said: “It feels really good to be back on pole and it’s something we didn’t take for granted coming here. The team did a perfect job in managing the session and I’m very happy with my lap.

“We have to see where we stand in the Sprint and the race, where we expect to be a bit more on the back foot compared to our competitors, but we will give it our all and I look forward to being back in the car for the Shootout tomorrow.”

The so far dominant Red Bull’s are not far behind with Max Verstappen 0.189 seconds off Leclerc in second and Sergio Perez 0.292 seconds back in third.

Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari starts in fourth on the second row with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in fifth and Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin in sixth.

McLaren’s Lando Norris took a surprising seventh along with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda in eighth, Lance Stroll starts ninth as Oscar Piastri made it to the top ten shootout and took tenth for McLaren.

George Russell starts eleventh having missed out to Mercedes teammate Hamilton in the second qualifying session.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon took twelfth, but will start from the pit lane, with Alex Albon and Williams teammate Logan Sargeant were split by Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas in fourteenth.

There were two red flags in the first session as AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries brought out the first one hitting the barriers at turn 3 to start twentieth and Pierre Gasly’s Alpine followed also colliding with the turn 3 barriers to finish in nineteenth.

Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo beat both Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen to sixteenth as the two Haas’ finished seventeenth and eighteenth.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix on the streets of Baku takes place on Sunday.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Qualifying

  1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
  2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
  4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
  5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  6. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)
  7. Lando Norris (McLaren)
  8. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
  9. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
  10. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)
  11. George Russell (Mercedes)
  12. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
  13. Alex Albon (Williams)
  14. Vallteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
  15. Logan Sargent (Williams)
  16. Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)
  17. Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)
  18. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
  19. Pierre Gasly (Alpine)
  20. Nyck de Vries (AlphaTauri)