Ferrari‘s Charles Leclerc has secured pole position in Azerbaijan, his first pole of the year. He crossed the line with a time of 1m40.203s on his final attempt in Q3, leaving the two Red Bull drivers unable to catch him. During their first flying runs in Q3, both Max Verstappen and Leclerc posted the exact same time of 1m40.445s, while Sergio Perez trailed by a tenth of a second. Leclerc had the advantage in the first sector, but Verstappen dominated the remaining sectors. However, Leclerc stole the show in the final hot lap, flipping the Red Bull‘s advantage in the second sector, clinching his sixth career pole position.
Verstappen managed to clinch second place on the grid, with a time of 1m40.391s, meaning Perez will start in third position. Carlos Sainz, who could not improve on his first lap, achieved fourth place. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton managed to avoid being knocked out of Q2 by the skin of his teeth and qualified in fifth place, starting alongside Fernando Alonso. Lando Norris led the line for McLaren, successfully getting two cars to the final part of qualifying. He qualified in seventh place, ahead of Yuki Tsunoda in eighth place. Lance Stroll struggled with a problematic DRS, which left him in ninth place. Oscar Piastri completed the top half of the field.
George Russell was the most significant casualty of Q2, as he was knocked out by late laps from Piastri and Tsunoda. The Williams driver could not improve on his fastest lap to break back into the top 10. Esteban Ocon narrowly avoided being knocked out of Q2, while Alex Albon struggled to rise out of the drop zone despite impressive straight-line pace in his Williams. Valtteri Bottas and Logan Sargeant were also knocked out in Q2.
Nico Hulkenberg was hanging by a thread as Alfa Romeo pair, Zhou Guanyu and Bottas, were within the elimination zone. The German’s poor first sector performance effectively ended his chances of making it out of Q1, despite Alfa Romeo initially escaping the bottom five. A final effort from Oscar Piastri was enough to push Zhou Guanyu back into 16th place, two hundredths of a second behind Esteban Ocon.
During Q1, Nyck De Vries crashed into the exit wall at Turn 3, bringing out a red flag, without a representative lap on the board. He cited a brake-by-wire issue for the accident. Pierre Gasly‘s session was also fraught with issues, having barely factored in practice due to a hydraulic leak, he hit the wall at Turn 3, tearing off his right-hand sidepod and part of his rear wing. Carlos Sainz also had a near-miss at Turn 1, barely managing to avoid hitting the wall.
Both Haas cars failed to make it out of Q1, with Kevin Magnussen suffering from an engine issue earlier in the session. Although the Dane felt the car was fine, the team decided not to risk it and pulled him into the garage, leaving him with no chance of improving on his time from the first part of qualifying.