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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc takes pole in Sprint Shootout despite crash

Charles Leclerc takes pole position in the Baku Sprint Shootout - despite crashing on his final lap.

Leclerc Baku 10 37 36
To news overview © XPBimages

Charles Leclerc will start the F1 Sprint in Azerbaijan from pole position after setting the fastest time in the first-ever Sprint Shootout, despite crashing on his final flying lap.

In F1's first ever Sprint Shootout session, Leclerc went straight into the barriers at Turn 5 on his final run, but his previous best time of 1:41 697 was good enough to see him secure top spot, with the Red Bulls of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen unable to overhaul the Monegasque.

After having set the fastest time in Friday's Grand Prix qualifying session, Leclerc was in confident mood again at Baku, on a track he rates in his top three on the F1 calendar.

Perez will line up alongside Leclerc on the front row for Saturday's Sprint race, with Championship leader Verstappen only third.

Mercedes' George Russell will start the Sprint from fourth, with Leclerc's teammate Carlos Sainz an unhappy fifth after having to abort his final run due to the Monegasque's accident.

Russell's teammate Lewis Hamilton had a low-key run to sixth, ahead of Alex Albon in an excellent seventh in his Williams.

The two Aston Martins of Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso will line up eighth and ninth, with Alonso suffering with an intermittent DRS issue.

With Sprint Shootout rules mandating the use of brand new Soft tyres in SQ3, and Lando Norris not having any left, the Briton was unable to take to the track for the top ten shootout, and therefore starts the Sprint in tenth spot.

A shorter session in SQ2

With Logan Sargeant having clouted the wall at the end of SQ1, the start of SQ2 was delayed and, with two minutes taken off the session time in the new format, there were just ten minutes for 15 drivers to set their best times.

Starting the Sprint from 11th place will be Oscar Piastri, who missed out on SQ3 by just 0.022s after Alonso had given Stroll a tow on his final push lap.

After locking up and narrowly missing the barrier on his first push lap, Nico Hulkenberg recovered to finish the session in a respectable 12th place.

Esteban Ocon finished SQ2 in 13th spot, with the Frenchman’s A523 appearing to be suffering with bouncing along the long start-finish straight at Baku.

Kevin Magnussen ended the session 14th in the second Haas, and starting the Sprint in 15th place will be Logan Sargeant, who played no part in SQ2 after his SQ1 mishap, which brought out the red flag and disrupted several drivers' final runs.

AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo struggling in SQ1

The Alfa Romeo pair of Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas continued their indifferent form from Friday, ending the session in 16th and 17th places respectively.

Yuki Tsunoda had qualified an encouraging eighth on Friday, but fell victim to the Red Flag being flown a few seconds before he crossed the line for his final flying lap, causing the Japanese to curse down the radio.

After having suffered mechanical problems on Friday, Pierre Gasly once again had issues, coming into the pits after his first flying lap with a suspected exhaust leak, and the Frenchman could only watch on as others vaulted him in the standings to leave him 19th.

Nyck de Vries had a difficult session, heading up the escape road at Turn 3 early in the session, and the Dutchman was unable to set a representative flying lap before SQ1 was ended early due to Sargeant's accident, condemning him to 20th and last on the grid for the Sprint.

Result Sprint shootout - Azerbaijan

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