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Charles Leclerc qualified as quickest for the 19th time today. The Ferrari driver scored his third Baku pole position for tomorrow's 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. It was his first pole of the season for the Monegasque driver and the 243rd pole for the Ferrari team.
Alex Albon, the Williams driver, demonstrated the impressive speed of the FW45 by surpassing both Mercedes drivers. Following all drivers except Nyck de Vries and Carlos Sainz posting their lap times, Max Verstappen from Red Bull set the fastest lap time of 1:41.887 min on the street circuit.
Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate George Russell could only manage P10 and P13. Charles Leclerc from Ferrari trailed behind Verstappen, 0.2s adrift, while Fernando Alonso secured the third position, 0.761 sec behind, in the Aston Martin. With 10:17 minutes to go, Nyck de Vries crashed head-on into the wall at turn 3, which resulted in the Q1 session being red-flagged.
After the session resumed, it was halted again with 7:32 minutes to go, as Pierre Gasly crashed his Alpine into the wall at turn 3, causing extensive damage to the entire right side of the A523, which forced him to withdraw from the session.
When the session resumed for the second time, drivers such as Esteban Ocon (Alpine), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Gasly, De Vries and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) were struggling to make it into Q2. Sainz had not set a lap time until this point.
At the end of the session, Leclerc topped the timesheet, while Sainz, Tsunoda, and Ocon qualified for Q2, pushing out Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo) and both Haas drivers, Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.
In the second session, both Williams cars set the highest topspeed by recording the highest top speed, with Logan Sargeant topping the charts at 340 km/h. However, with 10 minutes to go, Sergio Pérez snatched the P1 spot with a time of 1:41.131 min, edging out his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen by a mere 0.062s. Fernando Alonso was hot on their heels, securing the third spot 0.269s behind Pérez.
With only five minutes remaining, Yuki Tsunoda, Esteban Ocon from Alpine, Oscar Piastri from McLaren, Valtteri Bottas from Alfa Romeo, and Logan Sargeant from Williams were in danger of missing out on Q3. However, Piastri managed to improve his time, securing a spot in Q3. Piastri's efforts pushed Mercedes driver George Russell out of Q3, despite Russell being only 0.004s slower than his teammate Lewis Hamilton, who qualified for Q3.
As the final qualifying session began, the sun had already started to dip low in the sky. Max Verstappen made an impressive start and managed to clock in at 1:40.445 min, placing him in P1. Charles Leclerc closely followed in second place with the exact same time, but his lap was set slightly later than Verstappen's. Sergio Pérez secured the third spot, trailing Leclerc by only +0.118s.
Charles Leclerc demonstrated his determination and skill on the track, pushing himself to the limit and ultimately setting the fastest time, beating Max Verstappen by nearly 0.2 seconds. The Monaco-born driver's exceptional performance even saw him narrowly avoid contact with the wall at turn 1.
The fastest sector times during this quali for the 2023 Azerbaijan F1 GP were:
- Sector 1: 35.177 sec. by Sergio Pérez (Red Bull)
- Sector 2: 40.191 sec. by Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
- Sector 3: 24.667 sec. by Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
The pole position time of last season in Baku was a 1:41.359 min driven by Charles Leclerc the Ferrari F1-75.
Quali Times 2023 Azerbaijan GP
|2||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:41.398||1:40.822||1:40.391||20|
|3||11||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull||1:41.756||1:41.131||1:40.495||21|
|6||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||1:41.720||1:41.370||1:41.253||23|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||1:42.524||1:41.576||1:41.611||23|
|14||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||1:42.582||1:42.259||19|
|16||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||1:42.642||11|
|NC||21||Nyck de Vries||AlphaTauri||1:55.282||3|
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