BAKU, Azerbaijan – Charles Leclerc claimed his second-straight Formula One pole during a chaotic qualifying session on the Baku City Circuit for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix Saturday.
The session was stopped four times due to incidents, including one in the final moments of Q3 that prevented drivers from completing the final flying laps. Leclerc was the fastest at the time of the final stoppage, leading to him claiming his second-straight pole for Ferrari.
His lap time of 1:41.218 had him at the top of the board when Yuki Tsunoda and Carlos Sainz Jr. crashed in turn three. Tsunoda crashed first when he failed to complete the corner, with Sainz following shortly after when he overshot the braking zone and crashed in the runoff area.
That ended Q3 and handed the pole to Leclerc, with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton rebounding from several difficult practice sessions to qualifying second. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the championship leader, qualified third.
Pierre Gasly completed his best qualifying effort with a fourth-place result, with Sainz set to lineup fifth despite his crash late in Q3.
Tsunoda and Sainz were far from the only drivers who crashed during qualifying. In Q1 Lance Stroll and Antonio Giovinazzi both crashed in turn 15, followed by Daniel Ricciardo crashing in turn three during Q2.