Charles Leclerc seals double pole in Azerbaijan despite late crash
Charles Leclerc will start today’s sprint race at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix from pole position.
A day after he raced to the top spot in qualifying for Sunday’s main event, Leclerc was fastest again to put his Ferrari at the front for the 17-lap dash in Baku on Saturday evening.
Leclerc broke his front wing after thudding into the wall during his final run but the Monegasque’s first effort in Q3 was fast enough for him to take the spoils.
He qualified 0.147 seconds ahead of Sergio Perez with Max Verstappen third.
George Russell qualified fourth, two places ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the other Mercedes. Carlos Sainz, who was held up behind team-mate Leclerc following his accident, finished fifth.
Lando Norris made it through to Q3 but under the rules he was unable to take part because he did not have a set of new soft tyres available – an error by his McLaren team. He will start in 10th place.
“I tried to push again and I lost it in Turn 5, but it doesn’t have any consequence on qualifying,” said Leclerc following his accident.
“But I was very happy with the first lap and now we have to convert that into the race.
“We will go for it. We need to be realistic and we have been on the back foot in the race behind the Red Bulls so far this year, but hopefully we will have a good surprise.
“Ferrari needs to be on top and I will give absolutely everything to win.”
Formula One bosses have changed the format in Baku by introducing two qualifying sessions.
Friday’s result decided the order for Sunday’s Grand Prix, with Saturday’s second shorter qualifying session determining the grid for the first of six sprint events this season which takes place at 17:30 local time today (14:30 BST).
Earlier, Q1 ended prematurely after Logan Sargeant put his Williams in the wall. The rookie American lost control of his machine at Turn 15 before slamming into the barrier.
Sargeant sustained significant damage to the right rear of his Williams in the accident, with his mechanics now facing a race against time to fix his car for the sprint race.
Sargeant pointed the finger of blame at Sainz. “The Ferrari was in the middle of the road,” he yelled over the radio.
Alex Albon impressed to qualify seventh for Williams, one place ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso. Points are rewarded for the top eight in the sprint, with the outcome of today’s race having no bearing on tomorrow’s Grand Prix.
Williams later withdrew Sargeant’s car from the sprint race due to the crash damage to his car.Published: by Radio NewsHub