Azerbaijan Grand Prix Qualifying Report: Charles Leclerc Beats Verstappen & Hamilton to Shocking Pole After Tsunoda, Ricciardo, and Sainz Crash

Published 06/05/2021, 9:25 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in action during practice REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

It was Charles Leclerc who took home all the plaudits from Saturday’s qualifying session ahead of the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver has been in red hot form in recent times and he fully deserved it. As for Mercedes, they managed a bittersweet result in the streets of Azerbaijan with Lewis Hamilton coming home in P2 and Valtteri Bottas ending his Saturday with a P10 result. Max Verstappen, meanwhile, ended up in P3.


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The first qualifying session barely got underway before Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll went into the wall, damaging his car, and thus bringing the session to a halt. That also meant his qualifying ended and he will start the race dead last. Antonio Giovinazzi suffered the exact same fate, bringing out the red flags after his crash at the same turn.

Formula One F1. Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan. Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll walks away form his car after crashing during qualifying REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

Joining them in getting knocked out in Q1 were the Haas duo of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin (P17, P18) along with Williams’ Nicholas Latifi (P16).


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How did Q2 pan out?

In terms of drama, Q2 was a going along very nicely right until the final minute of the session. McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo was the third man to bring out the red flags in qualifying by going into the barriers at Turn 3. That incident also brought an end to the session as a whole. The man from down under will start the race in P13 on Sunday.

George Russell and Kimi Raikkonen also made their exits, finishing P15 and P14 respectively. The two other drivers to bow out were Alpine’s Esteban Ocon (P12) and Sebastian Vettel (P11). The latter didn’t sound best pleased on radio when the session was ended prematurely. He reckoned he may have had a shot at getting through to Q3.

Formula One F1. Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan.Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel during qualifying REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

Who will start in the top ten for the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

The top ten lining up on the starting grid for the race in Baku is as follows:

1. Charles Leclerc

2. Lewis Hamilton

3. Max Verstappen

4. Pierre Gasly

5. Carlos Sainz

6. Lando Norris


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7. Sergio Perez

8. Yuki Tsunoda

9. Fernando Alonso


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10. Valtteri Bottas.


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Ronan Carvalho

1063 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.