F1: Leclerc wins pole again, this time in Baku

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is becoming the qualifying master of F1, winning yet another pole position, this time for the Azerbaijan GP in Baku.

Four consecutive pole positions for Leclerc. Six pole position from the first eight race weekends.

Leclerc’s lap of 1m41.359s beat the Red Bull’s of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen by 0.282s and 0.347s respectively.

“Ah – it feels good! This one I probably did not expect it because I thought Red Bull were faster but extremely happy,” said Leclerc. “I’m really excited for tomorrow, tire management is a big thing here, our race pace has done a step-up so tomorrow will be very interesting.

“Yeah, Q3 is when you go balls out, and I hit the wall a couple of times, said 2nd quick Perez. “At the end we had a problem with the engine, we couldn’t turn it on and I was out on my own with no tow, who knows how much [I lost], would it have been enough for pole, who knows.”

Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 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)

“The start of the lap was good, but then it went away from me, tiny mistakes. Still as a team, second and third, we have a good opportunity tomorrow, said Verstappen

Carlos Sainz Jr. was 4th in the #55 Ferrari 0.455s behind his consistently faster teammate.

George Russell rounded out the top-5 for Mercedes, but 1.353s behind.  More importantly, he once again beat his teammate Lewis Hamilton, proving that Hamilton was overrated all these years because he had a superior car and inferior teammate.  This year Russell is eating his lunch, and Hamilton’s real skill, or lack thereof, has been exposed for all to see.

Gasly was sixth and Hamilton seventh. Tsunoda, Vettel and Alonso rounded out the top 10.

Q2 saw both McLarens and both Alfa Romeos eliminated: Lando Norris 11th and Daniel Ricciardo 12th; Zhou Guanyu 14th and Valtteri Bottas 15th. Between those orange and red pairs was the blue Alpine driver, Esteban Ocon.

Haas’s Kevin Magnussen was left in Q1, taking a provisional P16 on the grid, Williams drivers Alex Albon 17th and Nicholas Latifi 18th.

Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll crashed out of Q1 and will start a provisional P19 on the grid ahead of Haas’s Mick Schumacher, 20th.

Qualifying Results

1 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari 1m42.865s 1m42.046s 1m41.359s
2 Sergio Perez MEX Oracle Bull Racing 1m42.733s 1m41.955s 1m41.641s
3 Max Verstappen NED Oracle Red Bull Racing 1m42.722s 1m42.227s 1m41.706s
4 Carlos Sainz ESP Scuderia Ferrari 1m42.957s 1m42.088s 1m41.814s
5 George Russell GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team 1m43.754s 1m43.281s 1m42.712s
6 Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m43.268s 1m43.129s 1m42.845s
7 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team 1m43.939s 1m43.182s 1m42.924s
8 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m43.595s 1m43.376s 1m43.056s
9 Sebastian Vettel GER Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team 1m43.279s 1m43.268s 1m43.091s
10 Fernando Alonso ESP BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m44.083s 1m43.360s 1m43.173s
11 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 1m44.237s 1m43.398s
12 Daniel Ricciardo AUS McLaren F1 Team 1m44.437s 1m43.574s
13 Esteban Ocon FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m43.903s 1m43.585s
14 Guanyu Zhou CHN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen 1m43.777s 1m43.790s
15 Valtteri Bottas FIN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen 1m44.478s 1m44.444s
16 Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team 1m44.643s
17 Alexander Albon THA Williams Racing 1m44.719s
18 Nicholas Latifi CAN Williams Racing 1m45.367s
19 Lance Stroll CAN Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team 1m45.371s
20 Mick Schumacher GER Haas F1 Team 1m45.775s