Charles Leclerc admits he’s worried about Max Verstappen

Red Bull have been leading the Formula 1 grid this season but, after an extended April break, Ferrari look to be set to deliver a comeback.

Charles Leclerc has thrown down the gauntlet to Max Verstappen ahead of Sunday’s main race after the Monegasque secured pole position at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, putting Ferrari on course to end Red Bull’s dominance. 

However, Leclerc isn’t celebrating too early, as he only secured P1 by 0.19 seconds, leaving the door open for Red Bull to fight back on Sunday, especially with Sergio Perez lined up in P3, ready to take home some silverware.

The Ferrari has been weaker this season in race pace than Red Bull, meaning that it could be difficult for Leclerc to hold off his rivals, especially down the long straights, something he is well aware of.

“We came into the weekend thinking it would be great if we were ahead of Mercedes and Aston Martin in qualifying and at the end, we are on pole, so it is surprise,” he explained.

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“We must not forget that our race car is maybe still behind the Red Bull so it will be difficult to keep the lead.

“That is the target and I’m really, really happy with the lap. 

“It’s a very challenging weekend for us drivers, because we had very little time to practice, we only done FP1 and then you need to be straight on it, but the feeling was good from the start,” he added.

The qualifying session was also positive for Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz, who secured P4, close behind Verstappen and Perez.

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Ferrari will be determined to produce a good result in Baku, having failed to claim a podium so far this season, particularly given the team left Australia with zero points following a DNF for Leclerc and penalty imposed on Sainz.

With the new race format in place this weekend, drivers will get another shot at pole on Saturday, as part of the new sprint special. 

The whole of the Saturday will now be dedicated to the sprint, seeing a qualifying session and race take place on the same day in a bid to provide more entertainment for fans.