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Leclerc gets Azerbaijan pole

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – JUNE 11: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari F1-75 on track during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on June 11, 2022 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Charles Leclerc will start the Azerbaijan Grand Prix from pole position with Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen behind.

Qualifying 1 saw both Red Bull cars quickly take the top spots with Max Verstappen at the lead. Charles Leclerc followed in third and, surprisingly, Mercedes’ George Russell in fourth, followed by Carlos Sainz.

However, things were always changing around the track. Leclerc had overtaken Verstappen with 7 minutes to go, but then his dethroned by the Dutchman’s teammate Perez – though not for long. The World Champion retook the lead quickly.

Lance Stroll had a scary moment at turn 7 through the final stages of Q1 as he crashed with the barriers, though he did not sustain heavy damage and was able to back up and continue on track without assistance.

It was not over for the Canadian though, as he hit the outside barriers out of turn 2 a minute after his previous accident, damaging his suspension and prompting a red flag.

Qualifying restarted at 18:40 local time, and drivers were quick to go out as they were lined up in the pit lane. The drivers eliminated were Magnussen, Albon, Latifi, Stroll, and Schumacher. Verstappen, Perez, and Leclerc were the top three.

Qualifying 2 saw another scare for Aston Martin as Sebastian Vettel crashed into the barriers with 7 minutes to go out of turn 15. The German was able to continue by himself and pitted right after the incident.

The session was topped by Perez, with Leclerc and Sainz behind. The drivers eliminated in the session were Norris, Ricciardo, Ocon, Zhou and Bottas.

Qualifying three saw a heated battle for the top spot. Carlos Sainz led through the closing stages of the session but his teammate Charles Leclerc was dramatically improving his time, taking the provisional pole position with a time of 1:41.359. Max Verstappen placed in second place, +0.347s from the Ferrari. His teammate, though, quickly stole his place and left him in third, with Sainz in fourth.

In the end, it was Charles Leclerc on pole, with Sergio Perez in second and Max Verstappen in third.

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