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Live: F1 Azerbaijan GP commentary and updates – Qualifying

Follow the live action as the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix gets going with Friday practice.

F1 heads to Baku this weekend for round four of the 2023 championship, with Max Verstappen leading the standings from team-mate Sergio Perez.

The weekend will follow a different format, with a single free practice session on Friday followed by qualifying for Sunday's grand prix.

Saturday now features a shorter sprint qualifying 'shootout' for the afternoon's sprint race, meaning drivers will get thrown right into competitive action in the morning without a practice session to warm up.

FP1 starts at 10.30am BST, with Qualifying getting underway at 2pm BST.

By: Megan White, Haydn Cobb, Stephen Lickorish


  • Charles Leclerc secured pole for F1's Azerbaijan GP
  • Verstappen and Perez will line up second and third for Red Bull ahead of Sainz in fourth
  • Russell, Ocon, Albon, Bottas and Sargeant out in Q2
  • Zhou, Hulkenberg, Magnussen, Gasly and de Vries knocked out in Q1
  • Session red flagged twice after de Vries and Gasly both made contact with the wall at Turn 3
  • Verstappen topped first - and only - practice ahead of Leclerc
  1. Leclerc, Ferrari
  2. Verstappen, Red Bull
  3. Perez, Red Bull
  4. Sainz, Ferrari
  5. Hamilton, Mercedes
  6. Alonso, Aston Martin
  7. Norris, McLaren
  8. Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
  9. Stroll, Aston Martin
  10. Piastri, McLaren
Status: Stopped
That's all from us for today, but we should be back tomorrow just before 9:30am BST for all the build-up to sprint qualifying. Bye for now.
Enjoyed that? Well, the good news is we get to do it all again tomorrow! Another qualifying session is scheduled for the morning, this time setting the grid for the sprint race.
Here's our full report on a very hectic qualifying session:
"For sure, I'm surprised - we came into the weekend thinking it would be great if we could be in front of the Astons and Mercedes," admits poleman Leclerc.
"I felt there was more in it," says Perez, who admits he's disappointed with third.
This is Leclerc's first pole since Singapore last year - just what Ferrari needed after such a difficult start to the season.
To put Leclerc's time into context, he's blown Sainz out of the water. The Spaniard is eight tenths slower in fourth.
"The car was really good - it's good to be back on top," says the poleman.
Sainz is fourth, Hamilton fifth, while Alonso improves to sixth. Rest of the top 10 is Norris, Tsunoda, Stroll and Piastri.
Leclerc therefore completes his Baku pole hat-trick and becomes the first non-Red Bull driver to claim a pole this year.
And the answer is not enough! Leclerc takes pole, Verstappen is two tenths adrift, while Perez is another tenth back.
Leclerc grabs provisional pole with a 1m40.203s, but what can Red Bull manage?
Leclerc goes purple in sector one, but then Perez goes quicker! Verstappen is not improving, however.
Alonso's preparation for this lap has not been ideal as he locks up to avoid ploughing into Hamilton exiting the pits.
Stroll reports that DRS wasn't working so that explains why he's so far off the pace and perhaps it's a similar story for Alonso.
Now the frontrunners are heading back out. Here we go, can Red Bull's 2023 pole stranglehold be broken?
Stroll goes seventh with his effort to jump above team-mate Alonso.
So, it's the calm before the final storm, as everyone bar Stroll and Piastri have returned to the pits.
Stroll and Piastri, meanwhile, now head out to set their times.
Sainz is currently fourth, then it's Hamilton while Alonso is only eighth with this first effort.
And would you believe it - Leclerc has matched Verstappen to the thousandth! Remarkable! But Verstappen is currently P1 as he set the time first.
Verstappen's opening time is 1m40.445s, just a tenth faster than Perez.
And now it's Leclerc who goes purple in sector one! This could be a fantastic battle.
Perez is the first one on track and he is currently fastest in the first sector.
Alonso does now join the fray - what can he manage today?
It's another rush to head out with just the Aston Martins and Piastri's McLaren yet to join the track.
So, here we go, it's pole position shootout time! Can Leclerc really give the Red Bulls a run for their money here? Time to find out.
But to emphasise the point about fine margins, just four thousandths separate Hamilton and Russell in 10th and 11th.
Replays show Russell really fighting with his Mercedes as the W14 looks a handful on this layout.
So the two McLarens and Tsunoda's AlphaTauri are among those to deny Russell a spot in Q3. Mercedes is clearly in the doldrums here.
"Ah sugar - another chance tomorrow," says a very disappointed Russell upon learning he's out of Q2.
Albon bemoans Sainz getting in the way late on in that session, believing he could've got into Q3 otherwise.
Hamilton squeaks through in 10th place, while Russell, Ocon, Albon, Bottas and Sargeant are out.
But Russell is out! The Mercedes driver pitted at the end of the session and his day is over.
Verstappen does improve to a 1m40.822s to go two tenths clear of Leclerc.
Norris jumps up to fifth as the chequered flag is now out.
Verstappen goes purple in sector one as he attempts to knock Leclerc off top spot.
Albon just keeps it out of the barriers as he currently sits 10th, but is only fractionally ahead of Tsunoda.
Sainz's tricky session continues as he goes straight on at Turn 3. But, he keeps it out of the barriers, reverses back onto the track and continues.
Norris has finally now completed a lap as well and he's up to seventh.