Charles Leclerc claimed his pole-setting run in qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was a “sh*t lap” despite it being good enough to secure his second straight pole position.
Leclerc was helped by a tow from Lewis Hamilton on his first Q3 run and ended up at the top of the timesheet when the session was stopped after Yuki Tsunoda and Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz crashed at turn three.
Leclerc said: “It was quite a shit lap, I thought. I mean, there were two or three corners where I did mistakes but of course, I had the big tow from Lewis in the last sector, which helped me a little bit.
“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.
“I think I was improving again with the red flag but it’s like this, another pole and I’m happy anyway. It definitely feels very good. On the other hand, it’s with the red flag again, but at the end, a pole is a pole.”
Leclerc also claimed pole at the last race in Monaco thanks to a red flag, but that one was caused by his own collision with the barriers, the repercussions of which resulted in him failing to start the race due to a driveshaft problem.
Leclerc not expecting to keep Hamilton and Verstappen at bay
The Monégasque will be hoping for better luck on Sunday but knows it will be harder to stay in front around the faster Baku track.
“The car felt quite okay but I believe Mercedes and Red Bull have something more than we have in the race," added Leclerc.
“We’ve seen that in FP2 so it’s going to be very difficult because it’s not like Monaco, they can overtake. I will try to do the best job possible and hopefully, we will keep that first place.”