Charles Leclerc takes 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix pole position ahead of Perez and Verstappen

Charles Leclerc claimed pole position for Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix with a momentous final lap in Saturday's qualifying session.

The Monegasque driver recovered well from a disappointing Monaco Grand Prix weekend to claim his sixth pole position of the season and his fourth in a row.

Ferrari's golden boy will have to fight the Red Bulls alone tomorrow though after Carlos Sainz's final lap was hindered by a dance with the barriers. The Spaniard will start the Grand Prix from fourth on the grid.

Sergio Perez carried his Monaco momentum forward to the Baku City Circuit, beating out teammate and championship rival Max Verstappen in the battle for P2 thanks to an impressive final sector.

The Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton will be split by Pierre Gasly on Saturday. The French driver has struggled to find his best form this season but looked a threat across all three sessions on Saturday as he secured a season-best P6 start for tomorrow's race.

As it happened


Red Bull's pace was evident from the off in Q1 with Verstappen topping the early timing sheets with a 1:42:938 and teammate Perez slotting into P2, just a couple of hundredths ahead of championship rival Leclerc in third after the first round of laps.

The gap at the top closed up after the second runs with Leclerc briefly moving top of the pack before being jumped by the two Red Bulls.

Zhou Guanyu set a blistering 1:43:777 to launch his Alfa Romeo into P5 ahead of the final runs, but there was trouble for seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who sat down in P14 with just five minutes left on the clock.

The yellow flags made an appearance with just four minutes on the clock after Lance Stroll locked up and collided with the wall heading into turn 8. The Canadian avoided major damage on that occasion but brought out the red flag just minutes later as he understeered into the wall at the exit of turn 2.

Mick Schumacher, Nicholas Latifi, Valtteri Bottas and Alex Albon occupied the other bottom three slots ahead of the restart, but the Haas and Williams cars were left scrambling to get a lap in after struggling to get track position in the pit lane.

A messy outlap ensued as the cars scrambled for track position but only one of the bottom five went on to improve as Bottas went two-tenths faster to leapfrog Kevin Magnussen into 15th place.

OUT IN Q1: Magnussen (16th), Albon (17th), Latifi (18th), Stroll (19th), Schumacher (20th).


Verstappen had the upper hand on teammate Perez after the first run of Q2 with the two Red Bulls separated by just three hundredths, but the Ferraris produced an immediate response as Sainz and Leclerc moved into the top two positions.

Gasly was the best of the rest after the first laps of the session, beating out Mercedes' George Russell by just over a tenth, while Hamilton sat down in 11th, albeit just three tenths down on Gasly.

Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel was lucky to avoid the same fate as his teammate when he locked up and hit the wall at turn 15, but the four-time world champion's car escaped unscathed.

Perez nearly followed Vettel into the turn 15 barriers on his second run, but the Mexican survived the brush with the wall to launch his Red Bull to the top of the timing tower.

Hamilton headed the elimination zone with one run to go in Q2, joined by Esteban Ocon, Daniel Ricciardo and both Alfa Romeos, who were running out of sync with the rest of the field.

Yuki Tsunoda and Lando Norris brought out the yellow flags for two separate incidents, but Hamilton's lap remained unaffected as the Mercedes driver improved to P6 with help from a tow down the pit-straight.

Hamilton was soon followed across the line by Vettel who secured back-to-back Q3 appearances after going seventh fastest in the Aston Martin. Meanwhile, Yuki Tsunoda earned AlphaTauri a double-Q3 appearance after both McLarens failed to make up the time on their final runs.

OUT IN Q2: Norris (11th), Ricciardo (12th), Ocon (13th), Zhou (14th), Bottas (15th).


The top four were split by just a few tenths throughout the first two qualifying sessions, setting up a mega fight for pole position, but it was the Ferraris that took the upper hand into the final run as Sainz snatched provisional pole position with a 1:41:814, closely followed by teammate Leclerc.

Pierre Gasly also impressed on his first run, clocking in a 1:42:845 to move clear of both Mercedes into provisional P5.

Red Bull's plan to give Verstappen the tow on the final lap was scuppered as an issue set back Checo's release from the pit lane, leaving the Mexican adrift from the field and his teammate without a slipstream.

Sainz was the first to take the chequered flag as he battled to keep hold of pole position, but the Spaniard ended the first sector over four-tenths down on his previous best.

His teammate, however, went purple in the first sector and moved half a second up on Sainz's best heading into the final sector.

The Monegasque driver was unstoppable on his final lap, romping to his fifth pole position of the season with a 1:41:359. Verstappen looked to have secured his place on the front row after going purple in sector three, but it was the in-form Perez who secured P2 with a mega final lap with Sainz ending the session in P4.

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