Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc took pole at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, round four of the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship, in the first Friday qualifying session for the new weekend format.
Leclerc will start ahead of the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in Sunday’s race after Friday’s one-hour qualifying session, which is divided into three sections with five cars each going out in Q1 and Q2 before the top 10 penalty shootouts. From Q3.
This is the first round of the weekend for the latest sprint weekend format, with another qualifying session tomorrow for Saturday’s sprint event in Baku.
Azerbaijani Grand Prix Qualifying Results: Leclerc is ahead of Verstappen
|2||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda RBPT||1’40,391||0.188|
|3||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull/Honda RBPT||1’40.495||0.292|
|4||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||Ferrari||1’41,016||0.813|
|6||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin / Mercedes||1’41,253||1,050|
|8||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri/Honda RBPT||1’41,581||1,378|
|9||18||Lance Picnic||Aston Martin / Mercedes||1’41,611||1,408|
|12||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine / Renault||1’41,798||1,595|
|14||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo / Ferrari||1’42,259||2,056|
|16||24||Chu Guanyu||Alfa Romeo / Ferrari||1’42,642||2,439|
|17||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas / Ferrari||1’42,755||2,552|
|18||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas / Ferrari||1’43,417||3,214|
|19||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine / Renault||1’44,853||4,650|
|20||21||Nick de Vries||AlphaTauri/Honda RBPT||1’55,282||15,079|
What happened in the Q1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix?
Verstappen set the early pace at 1 minute and 41.887 seconds, two-tenths ahead of Leclerc, but was red-flagged with 10 minutes left when Nyck de Vries crashed his AlphaTauri at Turn 3.
Barely three minutes into the second half, Pierre Gasly turned his Alpine into the same corner, taking him out of the session as well. Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz spun his Ferrari at Turn 1 and kept going.
On the second restart, Perez briefly held the lead with a lap of 1 minute and 41.756 seconds, before Verstappen reclaimed it again with a time of 1 minute and 41.398 seconds. Right at the end of the session, Leclerc clinched P1 with 1m41.269s, 0.129 seconds faster than Verstappen.
Falling into the first hurdle were Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo, who suffered an early spin in Turn 1), Haases Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen (who had an issue with his car and was told to pit) and converts Gasly and de Vries.
Azerbaijani Grand Prix results in Q1: Leclerc faster than Verstappen
What happened in the Q2 Azerbaijan Grand Prix?
Pérez set the starting pace at 1 minute and 41.131 seconds, 0.062 seconds faster than Verstappen with Leclerc qualifying 0.085 seconds behind in third. Leclerc then took a second push lap and beat them all by ten in 1 minute, 41.037 seconds.
The Red Bull team ran again: Verstappen regained P1 with a 1m40.822sec, 0.215sec faster than Leclerc.
Out at this stage were George Russell (Mercedes), Esteban Ocon (Albin), Alex Albon (Williams), Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) and Logan Sargeant (Williams).
Azerbaijani Grand Prix results in Q2: Verstappen faster than Leclerc
What happened in the Q3 Azerbaijan Grand Prix?
In the first laps, Verstappen set the benchmark at 1m40.445s, which Leclerc matched with a thousandth of a second, but he finished second as he set the time just a few seconds back.
In the final runs, Leclerc clinched first place with a time of 1m 40.203s, 0.188s ahead of Verstappen, who could only manage 1m 40.391s.
Almost three-tenths of the pace, Perez will start third, ahead of Sainz, Hamilton, Alonso, Lando Norris (McLaren), Yuki Tsunoda (Alvatore), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) and Oscar Biastri (McLaren). Same laptop time as Stroll.
Azerbaijani Grand Prix Results Q3: Leclerc takes pole
What happened in Greater Azerbaijan FP1?
With the new format being played for the first time, teams wanted to run as much as possible in this one-hour practice session.
But this was hampered by a water leak in the Jasly Alps which caught fire, causing a red flag. Magnussen also spun off in Turn 1, after losing fuel pressure.
Verstappen led the session by 0.037 seconds from Leclerc. Perez was 10th in third place, ahead of Sainz, Norris and de Vries.
Mercedes had brake problems and was only eleven years oldy and 17y With Hamilton and Russell respectively.
Azerbaijani FP1 Grand Prix Results: Verstappen Fastest
“Alcohol enthusiast. Twitter ninja. Tv lover. Falls down a lot. Hipster-friendly coffee geek.”