Leclerc takes pole in incident-filled Baku qualifying

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By Steven De Groote on

The road circuit at Baku was already famend for its tough corners and unforgiving partitions, and at this time’s qualifying confirmed it but once more. After an incident-filled session that was stopped early, Charles Leclerc completed quickest, topping Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

When the session had solely obtained underway, Lance Stroll already discovered himself within the wall, iIn the identical nook that caught out Leclerc yesterday and Verstappen in FP3. Stroll hit arduous with the righthand facet of his automobile, which was left stranded on the observe.

10 minutes later, the session was restarted, solely to see Giovinazzi crash out one other couple of minutes later. The Italian Alfa Romeo driver had been on good type this weekend, however ended up within the wall on the exit of Flip 15 in an accident that proved similar to Stroll’s. This time round, a number of different drivers had at the least managed to set a time earlier than the crash.

This second stoppage halted the clock with simply 9 minutes left on the clock, making for an intense remaining a part of Q1. After Schumacher and Russell fought their approach out, a number of groups discovered themselves utilizing greater than the anticipated variety of tyres with some drivers out on three completely different units of latest smooth tyres.

On the finish of Q1, George Russell simply made it by way of into Q2, helped by the crimson flags that purchased Williams a bit of bit extra time to get his automobile fastened. He topped Raikkonen and Alonso who each had a “simply ok” laps to make it by way of. Eradicated had been Latifi and each Haas drivers, together with Stroll and Giovinazzi. In entrance, Hamilton made it to P1, shocking many after some difficulties for Mercedes within the free observe classes on Friday and this morning.

Q2 had an fascinating begin with methods break up between “let’s get out instantly” and “no stress”. Vettel and Sainz opted for the primary method. Russell, Raikkonen and the AlphaTauri drivers went for the ready sport.

The highest weapons had been out early with Perez ending up quickest regardless of Verstappen acing the primary sector. Lerclec and Sainz quickly slotted in between the Pink Bull duo. Hamilton adopted and slotted into second whereas Bottas stranded in seventh, half a second off the World Champion.

Verstappen later improved to go quickest, topping his teammate by a mere 0.005s and Hamilton by 0.009s. Yuki Tsunoda moved up into 4th with Gasly eighth when yellow flags had been introduced out getting ready to the final two minutes of the session.

Issues weren’t bettering, because the session was stopped with 1 minute and 29s left on the clock after Daniel Ricciardo crashed at Flip 3. The Australian McLaren driver locked up and went straight on into the TecPro barrier, inflicting intensive harm to the best entrance of his automobile.

The likes of Hamilton and Bottas had solely simply come out to attempt to set a greater lap time on recent smooth tyres. They weren’t ready to take action because of these crimson flags, that means they begin the race on used tyres which are a lot older than they’d have appreciated.

Q3 was busy as of the beginning, with all people out instantly, other than the AlphaTauri drivers who waited two minutes longer to get out.

Of the drivers out on observe early, Ferrari appeared to have finished the most effective job with Leclerc specifically ended up on the principle straight with an important tow from Lewis Hamilton. Leclerc ended his lap in 1:41.218 and had a 10km/h benefit on the principle straight in comparison with Hamilton and Verstappen who ended second and third quickest with their first flying laps.

Carlos Sainz ended up in 4th, adopted by Norris, Perez and Alonso. Valtteri Bottas struggled and stranded 3 tenths down on Alonso. Actually, that is the slowest time of all within the high 10 after each AlphaTauris moved up into 4th and eighth.

Issues did not enhance for Bottas as Mercedes subsequently despatched him out first for the second runs, leaving him to again off dramatically and fortunate that Leclerc took first. Leclerc did not appear to trouble an excessive amount of, and in the long run, it did not matter in any respect, because the session was stopped early as Tsunoda crashed out.

The stranded Japanese stunned Sainz who subsequently braked late and missed the nook as nicely. The AlphaTauri was nonetheless firmly caught on the racing line, that means an early stoppage was the one possibility, instantly sealing Leclerc’s pole place.

Outcomes

Pos. No. Driver Automobile Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:42.241 1:41.659 1:41.218 19
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:41.545 1:41.634 1:41.450 21
3 33 Max Verstappen Pink Bull Racing Honda 1:41.760 1:41.625 1:41.563 19
4 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda 1:42.288 1:41.932 1:41.565 18
5 55 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:42.121 1:41.740 1:41.576 18
6 4 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 1:42.167 1:41.813 1:41.747 20
7 11 Sergio Perez Pink Bull Racing Honda 1:41.968 1:41.630 1:41.917 18
8 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda 1:42.521 1:41.654 1:42.211 19
9 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault 1:42.934 1:42.195 1:42.327 20
10 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG 1:42.701 1:42.106 1:42.659 21
11 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes 1:42.460 1:42.224 15
12 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 1:42.426 1:42.273 11
13 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes 1:42.304 1:42.558 14
14 7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:42.923 1:42.587 15
15 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes 1:42.728 1:42.758 12
16 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 1:43.128 8
17 47 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari 1:44.158 10
18 9 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari 1:44.238 9
RT 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes 2
RT 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 4


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