Chares Leclerc Bounces back to Secure Pole in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

April 28, 2023Ramon Jones
Featured ArticleFormula 1

In a time when Ferrari F1 team seemed to be struggling with every issue possible, a silver lining emerged in Baku. Charles Leclerc has secured his first pole position of 2023 for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. This is Leclerc’s third consecutive pole position in Baku having secured the same in 2021 and 2022. This pole finish is the ray of hope Ferrari has needed this year currently sitting 4th in the constructors championship. It also marked a turn of fortunes for Leclerc, who’s last pole was at the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix 6 months ago.

Leclerc is in an unfamiliar P10 in the drivers championship standings. The Ferraris have experienced reliability issues in the early season stages. Leclerc has had two DNFs thus far in 2023. It is promising to see them back on top as a contender for taking the competition to Red Bull who have seemed almost untouchable thus far in 2023.

The top 3 was rounded out by Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing) and Sergio Perez (Red Bull Racing). Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) finished in 4th as the best of the rest; 8 tenths behind his teammate Leclerc. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes AMG F1) showed good form with a P5 finish in qualifying which is a positive after early season complications with the W14. Hamilton will be building off of his P2 finish from Australian and the Mercedes camp look to improve the car and get back to being competitive for race wins.

charles leclerc Baku Speed trap magazine
Charles Leclerc takes pole for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Photo by Mark Sutton/Motorsport Images/Sutton Images

The Bottom Half of Q3

Lando Norris (McLaren) and Yuki Tsunoda (Aplha Tauri) secure a spot in the top 10 with P7 and P8 finishes. McLaren have failed to make Q3 in two of the three races in 2023 thus far. Both cars finishing in the top 10 is a good sign that the team has made some improvements. We won’t know if this early success will lead to a meaningful finish until the grand prix, but before that we have a sprint race. We will use the sprint as a proxy to determine how well the McLarens are stacking up to the competition. Piastri rounded out the last spot in Q3 finishing about 1.4s slower behind the session leader.

Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) surprisingly fell back in the pecking order. He finished P6 in Q3 a full second behind the leader Leclerc. George Russell failed to make it out of Q2 which is surprising considering his early found pace. You can check out the full results below.

Full Azerbaijan Grand Prix Qualifying Results

116Charles LeclercFERRARI1:41.2691:41.0371:40.20321
21Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT1:41.3981:40.8221:40.39120
311Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT1:41.7561:41.1311:40.49521
455Carlos SainzFERRARI1:42.1971:41.3691:41.01624
544Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:42.1131:41.6501:41.17724
614Fernando AlonsoASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES1:41.7201:41.3701:41.25323
74Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES1:42.1541:41.4851:41.28120
822Yuki TsunodaALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT1:42.2341:41.5691:41.58123
918Lance StrollASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES1:42.5241:41.5761:41.61123
1081Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES1:42.4551:41.6361:41.61124
1163George RussellMERCEDES1:42.0731:41.65418
1231Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT1:42.6221:41.79819
1323Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:42.1711:41.81819
1477Valtteri BottasALFA ROMEO FERRARI1:42.5821:42.25919
152Logan SargeantWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:42.2421:42.39519
1624Zhou GuanyuALFA ROMEO FERRARI1:42.64211
1727Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI1:42.75510
1820Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI1:43.4179
1910Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT1:44.8536

Q1 107% time – 1:48.357
Note – De Vries failed to set a time within 107% in Q1. It is yet to be determined if he will race.