Azerbaijan GP: Charles Leclerc seals superb pole in Baku ahead of Sergio Perez

Charles Leclerc will look to end Red Bull’s winning run from P1 on Sunday afternoon, after sealing pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Monegasque continues to shine in qualifying with him sealing yet another pole position, and he’ll hope that Sunday this weekend sees much better fortune than he has had in the last couple of rounds in Spain and Monaco respectively.

Leclerc certainly produced the goods when it mattered, going over two tenths quicker than next fastest man Sergio Perez, whilst his second sector time was mega, as he went half a second quicker through that section of the circuit than anyone else had up until that point in the final stages of the session.

Earlier on in Q1, Lance Stroll caused the first, but only, red flag of qualifying as he hit the wall and took a chunk out of the front right of his Aston Martin.

The late rush once that had been cleared saw over half the field head out to try and improve their lap times, though an off from Fernando Alonso brought out the yellow flags and rather ruined the late surge, with Kevin Magnussen, Alex Albon, Nicholas Latifi, Stroll and Mick Schumacher the men to drop out.

Q2 was a little less dramatic, and was a disappointing one for McLaren and Alfa Romeo fans, with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo qualifying P11 and P12, whilst Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas were P14 and P15 – the Chinese driver will be pleased with outqualifying his more experienced team-mate.

Between them in P13, Alonso’s Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon.

In Q3, meanwhile, it was once again a battle between the Red Bull and Ferrari cars, with Carlos Sainz setting the initial pace on the first of two flying lap runs.

The Spaniard, though, could not hold onto that or improve his time, with a botched opening set of corners forcing him to abandon his final run early on, as he came onto the radio saying it ‘wasn’t his lap.’

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – JUNE 11: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari F1-75 on track during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on June 11, 2022 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

His team-mate, though, was on rails in the other Ferrari and his time would prove untouchable, with Max Verstappen only able to get third and Perez, the man who’d topped two of the three practice sessions this weekend, set to start alongside him on the front row as he produced a good lap without the benefit of a tow down the huge start/finish straight in Baku.

Elsewhere in the top 10, George Russell was fifth ahead of Pierre Gasly, Lewis Hamilton, Yuki Tsunoda, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.

The three championship contenders lead us into turn one on Sunday afternoon, then, and that promises a great deal of excitement.

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