Leclerc "did not expect" Baku F1 pole after Q1 and Q2 performances

Charles Leclerc says he "did not expect" to take pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, having finished third in Q1 and second in Q2.

Leclerc "did not expect" Baku F1 pole after Q1 and Q2 performances

Despite thoughts that the circuit would favour championship leaders Red Bull, the Ferrari driver set a weekend-best time of 1m41.359s to land his sixth pole of the season.

He finished the session 0.282s ahead of Red Bull's Sergio Perez in second, with points leader Max Verstappen in third.

Leclerc says he "really struggled to see that we were faster" before "everything came together" in his last lap.

He said: "It feels good this one...Obviously all pole positions feel good. But this one I probably did not expect it because I thought Red Bull was stronger, especially in Q1 and Q2, I really struggled to see that we were faster.

"But then in the last lap, everything came together. And again, I managed to do a good lap so extremely happy."

Former championship leader Leclerc, who has not won a race since the third round in Australia, was 0.05s adrift of teammate Carlos Sainz after the first batch of quick laps in the final shootout for pole.

But on his final run, he set the fastest first and second sectors of the day to have a massive half-second cushion ahead of the flat-chat run to the line.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Leclerc says he is "really excited" for Sunday's race, but warned that tyre management could play a big part.

He added: "I'm really excited for tomorrow. I think we'll have quite a bit of tension tomorrow because tyre management is a big thing here.

"In Barcelona and Monaco, I think we were managing it well. Even though Monaco it was difficult to see anything.

"But overall, our race pace has done a step up since we brought the upgrade. So tomorrow it will be very interesting whether it will be the case here too."

Leclerc sits just nine points behind Verstappen in the drivers' standings, with the gap he had built at the start of the season quickly reversed by the reigning champion despite suffering early reliability issues.

Sainz will line up fourth for tomorrow's race, with George Russell in fifth for Mercedes hoping to continue his run of top five finishes in every race so far this season.

shares
comments
F1 Azerbaijan GP: Leclerc beats Perez to Baku pole
Previous article

F1 Azerbaijan GP: Leclerc beats Perez to Baku pole

Next article

Perez: Red Bull engine problem cost me tow for final qualifying lap

Perez: Red Bull engine problem cost me tow for final qualifying lap
How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes Plus

How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes

With Formula 1’s future engine regulations now agreed, MARK GALLAGHER wonders if they will provide a more competitive field than past attempts actually managed

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Plus

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

STUART CODLING charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Plus

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded MAURICE HAMILTON of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing Plus

Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing

It has been a long time coming but Audi’s arrival in Formula 1 is finally on the horizon for 2026. But it won’t be its first foray into grand prix racing, as the German manufacturer giant has a history both long and enthralling

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Plus

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward Plus

Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward

Lewis Hamilton’s words in a recent Vanity Fair interview define both his world-view and his approach to this season: one of perpetual struggle against adversity. As GP RACING explains, that’s what Lewis feeds off – and why, far from being down and nearly out, he’s using his unique skillset to spearhead Mercedes’ revival…

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight Plus

The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight

The pecking order in 2022's Formula 1 season may look pretty static as the season draws to a close, but the unique nature of the cost cap means that preparation for next season takes precedence. New developments are being pushed back to 2023 - which could mask the technical development war ongoing...

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
How one retro event could prove an alluring prospect for Formula 1 stars Plus

How one retro event could prove an alluring prospect for Formula 1 stars

While Formula 1 drivers taking part in retro events can prove costly, as Charles Leclerc discovered at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, the Goodwood Revival could prove an interesting experiment for today's stars. As the event's own Tourist Trophy race proves it means serious business, a race for current F1 drivers feels as though it’s in line with where the event is currently at

Goodwood Revival
Sep 21, 2022