Leclerc delighted after second pole at Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc has become the first driver to take more than one pole position around the Baku City Circuit.

Round eight of the 2022 F1 season saw Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari on equal terms as they looked to take pole position, with Leclerc fighting Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen for the top spot.

The opening part of Qualifying remained relatively quiet as the teams and drivers eased their cars into the session, until Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll found himself in the barrier twice, eventually retiring after losing a tyre on the exit of turn two.

With only two and a half minutes remaining, the drivers battled to get out on track before the chequered flag dropped with Fernando Alonso hitting the wall at turn 15.

This left the Haas duo of Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher as well as Williams’ Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi in the bottom five along with Stroll, taking no further part in Qualifying.

With seven minutes remaining in Q2, the other Aston Martin would repeat his teammate’s Q1 actions as Sebastian Vettel slowly skidded into the barrier. The four-time champion was still able to get into Q3.

Lewis Hamilton would be placed under investigation for driving unnecessarily slowly, backing up the McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.

Both McLarens would later find themselves out of Q2 along with Esteban Ocon and the two Alfa Romeos, leaving ten cars in the final session to fight it out on the streets of Baku.

The battle for pole would commence with Leclerc and Perez, the initial pace-setters of the weekend, falling behind Carlos Sainz.

But Leclerc would once again re-establish his lead against his teammate, going almost five tenths faster than Sainz in the final run, eventually being joined by new title protagonist Perez.

Speaking to Johnnie Herbert in the post-qualifying interviews, Leclerc said:

“Obviously, all pole positions feel good but this one I did not expect. I thought Red Bull were stronger, especially in Q1 and Q2, but in the last lap everything came together.

“I’m really excited for tomorrow, tyre management is a big thing here. In Barcelona and Monaco, we were managing it well even though it was difficult to see anything.

“But overall, our race pace has gone a step up since we brought the upgrades so tomorrow will be very interesting.”

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix gets underway at 12 pm BST tomorrow, with Leclerc set to do battle with some very quick Red Bull drivers.

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