BAKU, Azerbaijan — Charles Leclerc described his pole place on the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as “a superb shock” after admitting he didn’t count on to be in competition for the quickest time in qualifying.
Leclerc beat championship chief Max Verstappen to the highest spot in Friday qualifying by 0.188s, that means he’ll begin Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix forward of the 2 Purple Bulls.
Though it’s his third pole in as a few years on the Baku road circuit, the consequence comes as a shock after Ferrari’s disappointing begin to the season through which Leclerc has scored six factors from three races.
“It is actually good, particularly contemplating the start of the season I’ve had,” Leclerc stated. “Clearly, we have not had the best of beginnings, nevertheless it’s nice to be again on pole. Truthfully, I didn’t count on it.”
Leclerc will begin Sunday’s race from pole place, however below F1’s new dash weekend format he’ll participate in a second shortened qualifying session on Saturday which is able to then set the grid for a 100km dash race the identical day.
“I feel we got here into the weekend pondering that it might already be an important consequence if we have been in entrance of the Aston Martins and the Mercedes, and we discover ourselves on pole,” he stated. “So actually actually proud of that.
“We have to see clearly tomorrow for the dash race and the race on Sunday, as I feel we’re somewhat bit extra on the again foot there. However anyway, a extremely good shock, and very proud of my lap.”
Leclerc stated he got here near the obstacles on the first nook of his last lap however managed to hook up the remainder of the lap.
“On road circuits, you all the time attempt to do one lap in Q3 pushing clearly greater than another lap earlier than,” he stated. “However then for the final lap, you simply put every thing in and see the way it goes.
“So it was a detailed name in Flip 1, however general, it was fairly a clear lap. And yeah, once more, actually proud of the lap.”
After retiring from the final spherical in Australia following a primary nook collision with Lance Stroll, Leclerc remained cautious over whether or not he’ll have the ability to defend first place from the Purple Bulls over a race distance.
“I hope so, however I haven’t got the reply but,” he stated. “However one factor for certain is that I feel we did a step ahead in Australia.
“On my facet, clearly could not present it. However on Carlos [Sainz]’s facet, I feel the sensation was significantly better in the course of the race.”Then how significantly better it’s, we nonetheless must see on Sunday. So I feel on that, we nonetheless have some query marks.
“I’m completely certain that we did some steps in the best path. Unsure if it is sufficient [to win], although.”