Leclerc: I don't feel like Ferrari has stolen Baku pole

Charles Leclerc does not feel like Ferrari has “stolen” 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix pole, as he believes he could have topped Baku Formula 1 qualifying even without the Q3 stoppage.

Leclerc: I don't feel like Ferrari has stolen Baku pole

Leclerc claimed his second successive pole position in similarly bizarre circumstances to last month’s Monaco Grand Prix Q3, where he crashed during the final runs in that session.

This time in Azerbaijan, it was Yuki Tsunoda going into the barriers at Turn 3 – and Carlos Sainz also going off and hitting the wall in the runoff beyond the 90-degree left at the end of sector one’s back straight – that stopped any drivers improving on their final flying laps in qualifying.

Just as in Monaco, Leclerc had led the way after the opening runs, which proved to be crucial given how the circumstances played out.

Speaking in the paddock after qualifying in his home city, Leclerc was feeling “quite shit” about the damage that would end up stopping him starting that race, whereas this time around he said he was “feeling much better”.

“Still not as good as I would feel on a normal pole position, because obviously there was the red flag at the end there,” he explained after Motorsport.com asked him to compare the two post-qualifying situations. “But, overall, I don’t feel like we’ve stolen this pole position.

“I feel like we had the pace to do pole position anyway on the second Q3 lap with everyone finishing their laps. [I’m] very happy with today.”

Leclerc benefitted from picking up a tow from Lewis Hamilton, who ended up qualifying second, as the Mercedes driver was completing a second preparation lap ahead of what would become his sole flying effort in Q3.

When asked how pleased he was to catch Hamilton and get the tow, Leclerc replied: “Yeah, definitely.

“I mean, it looked positive anyway. I think without the tow we would have been thereabouts, but this helped us a little bit.

“I saw that Lewis was having a prep lap so I tried to anticipate a little bit, more or less, the gap that I would need for him to give me the tow when he would start his lap.

“And I got it right. A little bit of luck, a little bit of thinking behind it, but probably a bit more luck.”

Read Also:

After climbing from his SF21 in parc ferme once Q3 had been aborted, Leclerc called the lap that became the pole time “quite a shit” one because of errors he felt he had made.

Explaining what had happened, he said: “[In Turns] 4/5/6 I just got some snaps with the very high wind, and I just misjudged a little bit.

“[I] lost the rear in entry of Turn 4 and then Turn 6 and 7 the rear tyres were not in a good shape. But, yeah, at the end it was a decent lap anyway.”

Heading into Sunday’s race on a track where he won twice on the road in Formula 2 in 2017 (losing the sprint race win for a contentious yellow flag infringement and ending up second in the final results), Leclerc reckons “it’s going to be very difficult to keep the first place”.

He added: “Here in Baku it’s very easy to overtake, so yeah, it’s going to be tricky.”

shares
comments

Related video

How Hamilton recovered from his practice ‘disaster’ in Baku

Previous article

How Hamilton recovered from his practice ‘disaster’ in Baku

Next article

"Bored" Wolff yet to decide on F1 flexi-wing protest

"Bored" Wolff yet to decide on F1 flexi-wing protest
Load comments
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Prime

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Prime

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why...

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021
The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower Prime

The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower

On 8 October 1961, Innes Ireland claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix to herald the true arrival of a new Formula 1 giant. While Team Lotus endured plenty of highs and lows until the team folded over three decades later, Colin Chapman's squad made F1 history and helped shape the championship.

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021