Charles Leclerc takes electric Pole Position for Ferrari at Baku

Jaden Diaz
28 Apr, 2023

Charles Leclerc has claimed a sensational Pole Position for Ferrari, putting his SF-23 in contention ahead of tomorrow’s Sprint race and the Sunday Grand Prix.

The Monegasque was on the pace from the beginning of qualifying, demonstrating some of the performance that made Ferrari so optimistic about the SF-23 over winter.

No major upgrades have been introduced this weekend, so it can be assumed that an improved setup and better understanding of their package is what made the difference today.

Then again, given the 8-tenth gap between Leclerc and his teammate Carlos Sainz, it is safe to assume that the 25-year-old produced a special lap to put himself on Pole for the Azerbaijan GP.

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were close behind in their RB19 machines and will no doubt be a threat behind when weekend. Race pace has always been a strong point for the Austrian team, so a close battle can be expected between Red Bull and Ferrari.

Fp1 Azerbaijan

DRS issues impacted Aston Martin at the end of qualifying, limiting Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll to P6 and P9 on the grid. Still, provided these issues are addressed, the AMR23 will surely be competitive in race trim.

Lewis Hamilton managed to put his Mercedes in a respectable P5, whilst his teammate George Russell narrowly missed out on Q3.

Ferrari’s positive step will only intensify the pressure at Brackley to improve the W14, especially if the Italian squad can repeat the pace shown by Leclerc in qualifying.

McLaren enjoyed an impressive qualifying and secured a double Q3 appearance, with the long-awaited Baku upgrades providing valuable performance.

Yuki Tsunoda was one of the stand-out performers from qualifying, finishing in a season-best 8th place – whilst his teammate De Vries crashed out early in the session. 

Still, with the sprint shootout and sprint race ahead, there is plenty to play for.

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