Charles Leclerc beat Max Verstappen in qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Friday to end Red Bull’s streak of pole positions in Formula One this season.
Leclerc and Verstappen had the exact same time midway through the final session of qualifying before both improved on their final runs, with Leclerc going faster by 0.188 seconds in his Ferrari.
“The car was good, it was really good,” Leclerc told the Ferrari team over the radio. Red Bull had been on the pole and won all three races so far this season.
Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez was third, ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. in fourth for Ferrari, seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton fifth for Mercedes and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso sixth. Hamilton’s teammate George Russell was 11th after missing the cut in the second qualifying session by 0.004 seconds.
Pierre Gasly had a tough day, coming 19th after hitting the wall in the first session of qualifying. The French driver’s Alpine team was left working to fix his car for the second time after a fire in practice earlier Friday caused damage.
Gasly’s incident caused the second red flag of qualifying after Nyck de Vries took too much speed into a corner and crashed his AlphaTauri into the barrier. De Vries starts 20th and last. Kevin Magnussen is 18th following a technical problem with his Haas.
Friday’s qualifying session determines the grid for the main Grand Prix on Saturday. There is a sprint race Saturday, but for the first time, a second, shorter qualifying session will be held Saturday to set that grid.
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