Grand Prix qualifying results: Leclerc on pole for Baku F1

Charles Leclerc took pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku for Ferrari on Saturday, the sixth round of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship season.

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Leclerc will start ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen of Red Bull after the one-hour qualifying session, which is split into three segments with five cars each being knocked out in Q1 and Q2 before the top-10 shootout of Q3. Multiple crashes caused four red flags.

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Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying results: Leclerc on pole from Hamilton

Cla Driver Chassis Time Gap
1 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1'41.218  
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1'41.450 0.232
3 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 1'41.563 0.345
4 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1'41.565 0.347
5 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1'41.576 0.358
6 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 1'41.917 0.699
7 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1'42.211 0.993
8 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 1'42.327 1.109
9 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 1'41.747 0.529
10 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1'42.659 1.441
11 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1'42.224 1.006
12 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 1'42.273 1.055
13 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1'42.558 1.340
14 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1'42.587 1.369
15 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 1'42.758 1.540
16 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 1'43.128 1.910
17 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 1'44.158 2.940
18 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 1'44.238 3.020
19 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin    
20 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo    

What happened in Q1?

The first session was halted early on when Lance Stroll crashed his Aston Martin into the wall at Turn 15. Only Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc had managed to set a laptime before the red flag, setting the benchmark at 1m42.535s.

After the green flag, Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari grabbed the top spot with a lap of 1m42.121s, which was quickly eclipsed by Verstappen on 1m41.760s, with teammate Sergio Perez taking second. Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi caused the second red flag when he virtually mirrored Stroll’s crash at Turn 15.

At the third attempt, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton initially rose to fourth on used soft tyres (after being forced to abort his first two runs) but then rose to P1 on his second push lap with 1m41.545s.

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The majority of the frontrunners didn’t run again, although McLaren’s Lando Norris improved to fifth. He will be investigated after the session for a red flag procedure infringement, when he missed the pit entry as the reds flew.

Falling at the first hurdle were Williams’ Nicholas Latifi and the Haas duo of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, plus the shunters Stroll and Giovinazzi.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Q1 results: Hamilton fastest from Verstappen

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 9 1'41.545    
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 8 1'41.760 0.215 0.215
3 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 8 1'41.968 0.423 0.208
4 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 8 1'42.121 0.576 0.153
5 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 10 1'42.167 0.622 0.046
6 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 9 1'42.241 0.696 0.074
7 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 9 1'42.288 0.743 0.047
8 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 9 1'42.304 0.759 0.016
9 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 5 1'42.426 0.881 0.122
10 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 10 1'42.460 0.915 0.034
11 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 9 1'42.521 0.976 0.061
12 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 9 1'42.701 1.156 0.180
13 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 8 1'42.728 1.183 0.027
14 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 9 1'42.923 1.378 0.195
15 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 10 1'42.934 1.389 0.011
16 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 8 1'43.128 1.583 0.194
17 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 10 1'44.158 2.613 1.030
18 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 9 1'44.238 2.693 0.080
19 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 2      
20 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 4      

What happened in Q2?

In Q2, the pole position-hunting protagonists eschewed the usual practice of running medium tyres – with all drivers sticking with the softs.

Perez set the early pace on 1m41.630, 0.029s faster than Leclerc. Sainz was third, with Verstappen only fourth after the first run.

Hamilton then jumped up to second, 0.004s off P1, despite a mistake on the exit of Turn 16. Verstappen stayed out for a second push lap, and took the top spot on 1m41.625s – the top five being covered by just 0.034s, among which Yuki Tsunoda was an impressive fourth for AlphaTauri.

Daniel Ricciardo caused the third red flag when he locked up and piled his McLaren into the Turn 3 barriers. That curtailed the session early.

Knocked out at this point were Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel (who missed Q3 by 0.029s), Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) and George Russell (whose Williams team had to swap power units between FP3 and qualifying due to a water pump failure).

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Q2 results: Verstappen fastest from Perez

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 6 1'41.625    
2 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 5 1'41.630 0.005 0.005
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 6 1'41.634 0.009 0.004
4 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 6 1'41.654 0.029 0.020
5 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 5 1'41.659 0.034 0.005
6 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 5 1'41.740 0.115 0.081
7 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 5 1'41.813 0.188 0.073
8 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 5 1'41.932 0.307 0.119
9 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 6 1'42.106 0.481 0.174
10 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 5 1'42.195 0.570 0.089
11 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 5 1'42.224 0.599 0.029
12 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 6 1'42.273 0.648 0.049
13 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 5 1'42.558 0.933 0.285
14 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 6 1'42.587 0.962 0.029
15 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 4 1'42.758 1.133 0.171

What happened in Q3?

In the top-10 shootout, Leclerc set the benchmark at 1m41.218s, thanks to a tow from Hamilton, 0.345s ahead of Verstappen.

After taking an extra warm-up lap, Hamilton received a tow from Bottas, his 1m41.450s being 0.232s off pole. Sainz was fourth, 0.358s off the pace, ahead of Norris and Perez. AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly then jumped to P4 on his single-run strategy, 0.347s off pole.

On the second runs, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was anxious to get a tow, being stranded in P10. But that was rendered academic as Tsunoda and Sainz went off independently at Turn 4.

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That left the order as Leclerc, Hamilton, Verstappen, Gasly, Sainz, Norris, Perez, Tsunoda, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Bottas.

Update: After qualifying, Norris was found guilty of not respecting the red flag in Q1 as he didn't pit immediately and was given a three-place grid penalty. That dropped him from sixth to ninth.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Q3 results: Leclerc fastest from Hamilton

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval
1 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 5 1'41.218    
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 6 1'41.450 0.232 0.232
3 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 5 1'41.563 0.345 0.113
4 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 4 1'41.565 0.347 0.002
5 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 5 1'41.576 0.358 0.011
6 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 5 1'41.747 0.529 0.171
7 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 5 1'41.917 0.699 0.170
8 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 4 1'42.211 0.993 0.294
9 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 5 1'42.327 1.109 0.116
10 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 6 1'42.659 1.441 0.332
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