Back To Back Pole Positions For Charles Leclerc

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Saturday - Charles Leclerc (image courtesy Scuderia Ferrari press office)

For the second time in two races, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has claimed pole position, albeit today in Azerbaijan was done in much less dramatic circumstances for the Monegasque. The result was Leclerc’s ninth career pole and Scuderia Ferrari’s 230th, its second at Baku, to add to Sebastian Vettel’s in 2018.

Unfortunately, also for the second race in a row Carlos Sainz was rather unlucky and will start from fifth on the grid, even though he clearly showed the potential to have secured a place on the front two rows.

After all the drivers had set a time in Q3, the second runs had to be aborted as the red flag came out after Yuki Tsunoda crashed into the barrier at turn 3.

At the time, Leclerc was on a quicker lap than his first and so too was Sainz. The session did not resume and Leclerc was thus guaranteed pole, but it also meant Sainz was unable to improve on fifth, just 13 thousandths slower than third-placed Max Verstappen and 11 behind Pierre Gasly in fourth.

To make matters worse, the Spaniard also ended up in the barrier at turn 3, caught off guard by the Japanese driver’s crash.

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Saturday - Charles Leclerc (image courtesy Scuderia Ferrari press office)
2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Saturday – Charles Leclerc (image courtesy Scuderia Ferrari press office)

Joy For Charles Leclerc

After heartbreak in Monaco, where his pole position on Saturday turned into a ‘did not start’ on Sunday, Charles Leclerc is looking forward to finally launching from the front of the grid wen the red lights go out.

‘I am very happy. I tried to take things step by step and only push in Q3 today. It seems to have worked out pretty well. I had good references – I knew where I could gain and where I could push more, and that’s what I did. After the first lap, I was reasonably happy but I did lose quite a bit at turns 4-5-6. On the second timed lap I was quite a lot stronger, but then the session was stopped by the red flag. But it’s pole anyway, so I am very happy with that. Our race pace is not as strong as that of our competitors ahead of us in the championship, so I believe it will be very difficult to keep them behind in the race. The straights are very long here, and it is easy to overtake. We will give everything, and hopefully we can have another positive surprise tomorrow,’ said Leclerc.

More Disappointment For Carlos Sainz

After experiencing the rough end of the stick in qualifying in Monaco, luck once again deserted Carlos Sainz in Baku, who once again had has flying lap compromised by a crash ahead of him on the circuit.

‘A very frustrating qualifying for me again today. I am disappointed we couldn’t extract all the potential of the car due to the circumstances. I was improving my lap time on the last attempt when the AlphaTauri crashed in front of me. I saw the smoke from the lock up but hoped he had continued. When I saw the crash it was too late and I ended up touching the barriers. At these speeds, the outcome could have been much worse, but the car seems to be ok. On the positive side, our pace was strong, even more than we expected before coming to Baku. Congrats to Charles for putting it on pole. Overall it’s a great result for the team. Now we’ll start preparing for the race and I will do my absolute best to recover tomorrow,’ added Sainz.

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