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Formula 1: Charles Leclerc will start first in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Formula 1: Charles Leclerc will start first in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Baku, Azerbaijan – Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc is hoping to break the bad spell that has plagued him over the past few races, after taking the lead in qualifying for the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Azerbaijan on Saturday.

Leclerc clocked a time of 1 minute 41.359 seconds at the Baku Street Circuit. Thus, he took his sixth leading position this season in Formula 1 and the fourth in a row.

“Oh, it’s cool!” exclaimed the main interested party. I wasn’t expecting to set the best time because the Red Bulls were so fast, but I’m satisfied. I can’t wait for tomorrow (Sunday); tire management is going to be very important here. We’ve increased our pace on The track, so racing can be very interesting.”

Monaco lost 0.282 seconds to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, while overall leader Red Bull Max Verstappen trailed him in third by more than three-tenths of a second.

“It was a good start on the flying lap, but then I made some small mistakes. However, we will have a good chance to win tomorrow, as our team will start from second and third on the grid,” said Verstappen, world champion.

For his part, the Mexican confirmed that a technical glitch prevented him from expelling Leclerc in the last moments of the qualifiers.

“Yes, I gave my all in the third quarter and touched the barriers a few times,” Perez said. I eventually had a motor problem that we couldn’t get rid of, and I was on my own with no suction phenomenon. Who knows how much time (lost)? Did this gap allow me to take the leading position? who knows? »

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Leclerc’s teammate at Ferrari, Carlos Sainz Jr., came fourth, ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell.

Pierre Gasly, driving his Alpha Torri, finished sixth, ahead of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton. The Briton admitted 1.565 seconds off Leclerc’s time, in large part due to the silver arrows’ ongoing hog-hunting problems.

Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri) followed him for eighth on the starting grid, ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who missed Turn 7 in the second quarter and smashed the wall at the wheel of his Aston Martin without damaging his single seat.

Fernando Alonso, in the Alpine, completed the top ten.

Perez, who triumphed in the final round in Monaco, had set the best time in the last free practice session earlier this morning.

Verstappen leads the drivers’ standings with 125 points, nine ahead of Leclerc. Perez occupies third place with a score of 110, ahead of Russell (84) and Sainz Jr. (83).

Terrible picnic session

It was another tough qualifying session for Lance Stroll.

While trying to improve his time in the closing moments of Q1, Quebec pushed his Aston Martin too much and suffered a similar exit off the track as teammate Vettel in turn 7.

Picnic managed to step back and get back on track. However, after several bends, he slammed into another collision barrier head-on. This time around, the wing and right front suspension suffered most of the shock, which prevented him from completing the session.

So Stroll should start from 19th on Sunday, provided his team can fix his car in time to race.

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For his part, Torontonian Nicholas Latifi did a little better. The Williams driver was satisfied with the fastest time in the eighteenth. So the two representatives of the maple leaf will start from the bottom of the grid.

Only Haas driver Mick Schumacher did worse than them in qualifying, which means he will start at the back of the group.