Formula 1

Leclerc crashes but takes Baku sprint pole

by Matt Beer
3 min read

Charles Leclerc added pole for Formula 1’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix sprint race to the pole he took on Friday for the main event, despite crashing on his final Q3 lap.

Leclerc’s first Q3 effort of 1m41.697s put him on provisional pole, and he then slewed into the Turn 5 barriers on his second attempt.

The damage appears relatively minor and Leclerc was able to make it to parc ferme minus his front wing.

The yellow flag for Leclerc’s crash only disrupted his team-mate Carlos Sainz, who fell from fourth on the provisional grid to fifth behind George Russell’s Mercedes.

Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen start second and third for Red Bull, Perez outqualifying his champion team-mate in a straight fight for the first time this season. Verstappen made a minor error on his first run and couldn’t improve by enough to get on the front row on his next flying lap, as drivers stayed out for cool-down laps rather than pitting for fresh tyres under the shortened and tyre-limited new sprint qualifying format.

Alex Albon qualified a sensational seventh for Williams behind Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, and the Aston Martins of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll, who were grappling with DRS problems.

Albon’s team-mate Logan Sargeant crashed after coming upon the slower-moving Ferraris in Q1, causing a red flag that curtailed that segment early and left Sargeant 15th on the grid, having made Q2 but unable to take part.

Lando Norris reached Q3 but was unable to run due to the rule quirk around the use of only fresh tyres, as he had none left.

His team-mate Oscar Piastri was very narrowly edged out of Q3 by Stroll and starts right behind Norris in 11th.

Haas got both cars into Q2, with Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen either side of leading Alpine runner Esteban Ocon as they took 12th and 14th.

Pierre Gasly’s awful weekend continued with an exhaust leak that meant he starts only 19th.

Nyck de Vries’ misery went on, too – an escape road visit wrecked one Q1 lap and then the Sargeant red flag stranded both AlphaTauris and both Alfa Romeos in the eliminated group.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m42.82s 1m42.5s 1m41.697s
2 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1m43.858s 1m42.925s 1m41.844s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m43.288s 1m42.417s 1m41.987s
4 George Russell Mercedes 1m43.763s 1m43.112s 1m42.252s
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m43.622s 1m42.909s 1m42.287s
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m43.561s 1m43.061s 1m42.502s
7 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 1m43.987s 1m43.376s 1m42.846s
8 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m43.789s 1m42.976s 1m43.01s
9 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m43.879s 1m43.375s 1m43.064s
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m43.938s 1m43.395s
11 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes 1m44.179s 1m43.427s
12 Nico Hülkenberg Haas-Ferrari 1m44.843s 1m43.806s
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m44.433s 1m44.088s
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m44.101s 1m44.332s
15 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes 1m44.042s
16 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m45.177s
17 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m45.352s
18 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 1m45.436s
19 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault 1m46.951s
20 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 1m48.18s
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