Weather: dry 25°C
Tarmac: dry 48°C
Wind: 1 km/h N
Pressure: 1011 bar
Charles Leclerc qualified as quickest for the Sprint race later today. The Ferrari driver scored the very first Sprint race pole position and the first Sprint pole for the Ferrari team.
The start of the qualifying session was not without drama as McLaren driver Oscar Piastri caused a yellow flag, affecting the quick laps of several drivers. With just 11 minutes to make their mark, every second counts in getting the tires in the optimum operating window.
The top speeds today were much higher than yesterday. Logan Sargeant even made it to 346 km/h, which was 6 km/h higher than yesterday.
As the clock ticked down with three minutes remaining, Pierre Gasly (Alpine), Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Nyck de Vries (AlphaTauri), and Zhou Guangyu (Alfa Romeo) were on the brink of being knocked out of Q1. Unfortunately, Gasly had to return to the garage with a technical problem, effectively ending his chances of making it into Q2.
With just 25 seconds left, the session was red-flagged as Logan Sargeant crashed into the wall at turn 15, having been distracted by the slow-moving Ferraris.
In the end, Charles Leclerc secured pole position for the race, clocking in almost half a second faster than Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.
In the second session of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix Sprint qualifying, the drivers had just 10 minutes to set their fastest times. Unfortunately, Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg caused a yellow flag, which disrupted the lap times of many drivers. All drivers had to use the Medium compound tyres again.
With only two minutes left in the session, the drivers in the drop zone were Piastri, Magnussen, Ocon, Hulkenberg, and Sargeant. At this point, Verstappen was in P1, with Leclerc in P2 and Pérez in P3.
Carlos Sainz caused a second yellow flag at the notorious turn 15, but fortunately, it didn't affect anyone's lap time. Despite their best efforts, none of the drivers in the drop zone were able to make it into SQ3. However, Lance Stroll was able to make it into the final qualifying session, thanks to a well-timed tow from his Aston Martin teammate Fernando Alonso.
The final qualifying session for the Sprint race was underway, and it promised to be an intense eight-minute affair, with drivers now allowed to use the red Soft tires. Charles Leclerc set the early pace, with a blistering time of 1:41.697 min, putting him on provisional pole. Sergio Pérez was in second place, +0.411s behind the Ferrari driver, with Max Verstappen hot on his heels in third.
As the clock ticked down, all drivers pushed themselves to the limit to try and beat Leclerc's time and secure pole position for the Sprint race. However, disaster struck for Leclerc as he lost the rear of his Ferrari in turn 5 halfway through the lap, ending up in the barriers and causing a yellow flag. The incident compromised the lap times of the drivers behind him.
Pérez did manage to set a purple second sector time, but it wasn't enough to dethrone Leclerc. In the end, the Ferrari driver held on to his provisional pole, with Pérez finishing just short. It was a dramatic end to the final session of qualifying, setting the stage for an exciting Sprint race later today.
Sprint Quali Times 2023 Azerbaijan GP
|2||11||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull||1:43.858||1:42.925||1:41.844||15|
|3||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:43.288||1:42.417||1:41.987||13|
|8||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||1:43.789||1:42.976||1:43.010||16|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||1:43.879||1:43.375||1:43.064||17|
|10||4||Lando Norris||McLaren||1:43.938||1:43.395||no time||12|
|15||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams||1:44.042||no time||6|
|16||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||1:45.177||6|
|17||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||1:45.352||6|
|20||21||Nyck de Vries||AlphaTauri||1:48.180||6|
✅ Check out our 2023 Azerbaijan F1 GP preview
✅ Check out more posts with related topics: