Leclerc grabs pole for Azerbaijan GP

Sports Desk, Apr 28 (EFE).- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) secured pole position for the Formula One Grand Prix of Azerbaijan in qualifying Friday.

The Monaco driver’s third consecutive pole in Baku – and 19th overall – came at the expense of reigning two-time champion Max Verstappen (Red Bull), who was 0.188s slower than Leclerc in Q3.

The Dutchman’s Red Bull teammate, Sergio “Checo” Perez of Mexico, was third, followed by Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Ferrari).

Starting from the third row on Sunday will be British seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and Spain’s Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), who has won the F1 title on two occasions.

Briton Lando Norris (McLaren) and Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) finished seventh and eighth, respectively.

Canadian Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) will start from P9, and will be joined on the fifth row by Australia’s Oscar Piastri (McLaren).

The fourth round in Baku will be the first of six races this season to include a separate sprint, which was introduced in 2021, though the 2023 version is different in many ways.

During the 2021 and 2022 seasons, the sprint also determined the start order in the main race. This year, the results of the sprint will have no bearing on the grid for Sunday.

In a normal race weekend, the drivers have three free practices before qualifying.

For this season’s events with sprints, qualifying for the race takes place Friday after FP1 and FP2, while FP3 disappears to make way for shorter qualifier ahead of the sprint on Saturday.

The winner of the sprint gets 8 points, descending to 1 point for the driver who finishes eighth.

Verstappen, the winner in Bahrain and Australia, leads the driver standings with 69 points, 15 better than teammate Perez, who took the checkered flag in Saudi Arabia.

Alonso is third with 45 points, while Hamilton has 38 points.

Leclerc, who did not finish in Bahrain and Australia and was seventh in Saudi Arabia, is 10th with 6 points.

EFE arh/dr

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