Charles Leclerc took pole position with a stunning lap in qualifying for the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, as Sergio Perez put himself on the front row in P2.
Leclerc set the ultimate benchmark of 1m 41.359s, going over two-tenths faster than Sergio Perez in a nailbiting Q3 session. Although he had provisional pole before that, Carlos Sainz couldn’t hook up his final effort and ended up fourth – behind Max Verstappen.
George Russell rounded out the top five for Mercedes, Pierre Gasly sharing the third row with him with a solid showing for AlphaTauri. Unhappy throughout qualifying, Lewis Hamilton took seventh and will share row four with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda.
Sebastian Vettel took P9 for Aston Martin with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso rounding out the top 10.
Long shadows crept across the Baku City Circuit for Saturday evening’s qualifying session, Perez having led two of three preceding practice sessions – Leclerc at the top in Friday’s FP2.
But it was Verstappen, with a tow off his team mate, who set the benchmark for Q1 with a time of 1m 42.772s, Perez going just 0.011s off in P2. Ferrari weren’t far off, Leclerc 0.143s off in third and Sainz another tenth away in P4. In the drop zone with time ticking mercilessly away were both Williams, Alfa Romeo’s Bottas – who aborted his first run – then Stroll and Schumacher.