Leclerc didn't expect Baku F1 pole after "shit lap"

Charles Leclerc says his surprise pole at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was the result of "quite a shit lap" as the Ferrari Formula 1 driver benefitted from a late red flag in a chaotic session.

Leclerc led the first barrage of flying laps in the Q3 pole shootout on the Baku Street Circuit in what had already been a disjointed session with several stoppages.

A last-minute red flag, caused by AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda's Turn 3 smash, prevented drivers from completing a second flying lap, meaning the order of the first set of laps also proved to be the final result.

The red flag notably hindered pole favourite Max Verstappen, who had to settle for third on the grid behind Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton. But it greatly aided Leclerc, who took a second consecutive pole this season, both helped by a red flag.

Afterwards, Leclerc admitted his pole lap was far from perfect but was surprised Ferrari could maintain its performance level from Monaco on a track less suited to its SF21 car.

"It was quite a shit lap, I thought," Leclerc bluntly admitted. "There were two or three corners where I made mistakes, but then of course I had the big tow from Lewis in the last sector, which helped me a little bit.

"But overall I think we would have been thereabouts for pole anyway without the slipstream, so it's a good day. I did not expect to be as competitive as we were today. I think I was improving again with the red flag, but I'm happy anyway and hopefully it's all good for Carlos, I haven't seen the crash.

"Definitely it feels very good, on the other hand it is with a red flag again so I wish we had it on a normal track, but in the end a pole is a pole."

Read Also:

Two weeks ago Leclerc caused the late red flag himself and an undiagnosed driveshaft issue, the result of his Swimming Pool shunt, would ultimately prevent him from starting the Monaco Grand Prix.

On Sunday, Leclerc will get to start from pole after all, but Baku's long straights will make his quest to take a first win since the 2019 Italian Grand Prix a lot harder than it would have been in Monaco.

"The car felt okay but I believe Mercedes and Red Bull have something more than we have in the race especially, we've seen that in FP2," Leclerc explained. "So, it's going to be very difficult because here is not like Monaco, they can overtake, so I'll try to do the best job possible.

"Hopefully we can keep the first place, but it's not going to be an easy one."

shares
comments

Related video

Verstappen rues "stupid qualifying" after missing Baku pole
Previous article

Verstappen rues "stupid qualifying" after missing Baku pole

Next article

Alonso: Unfair that drivers causing red flags keep grid positions

Alonso: Unfair that drivers causing red flags keep grid positions
Load comments
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021