Charles Leclerc apologises to Carlos Sainz

Charles Leclerc claimed sprint pole by almost two-tenths of a second, thanks to posting a 1:41.697.

Charles Leclerc is very much the ‘King of Baku’, with the Monegasque having claimed pole position once again at the Baku City Circuit, not long after claiming pole on Friday for Sunday’s main race.

Leclerc will be starting on pole for both Saturday’s sprint race and Sunday’s traditional race, with the Ferrari driver having topped the first ever Sprint Qualifying.

Even the reduced sprint quali format couldn’t stop the 25-year-old from claiming the top spot, with Leclerc having topped SQ3 with his first lap.

He only set one hot lap in SQ3 after crashing on his final lap, with Leclerc having lost the rear on the way into Turn 5.

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It’s certainly a corner that very rarely sees crashes; however, Leclerc found a way to go into the barrier nose first, costing team-mate Carlos Sainz dearly.

Leclerc and Sainz were the two last drivers to set their final laps, meaning the yellow flags in the opening sector for Leclerc’s crash only impacted Sainz.

As a result, the Spaniard was unable to improve on his best lap, something which saw him demoted from fourth to fifth, with George Russell having gone fourth fastest with his fastest lap.

It’s certainly less than ideal for Sainz, who is starting Sunday’s race from fourth.

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Leclerc instantly recognised that his crash had ruined his team-mate’s session, with him having immediately apologised to the 28-year-old over the team radio.

“Sorry to Carlos,” Leclerc said on the team radio.

Thankfully for Leclerc his impact with the barrier was only light, with his car only appearing to need a new front wing for this afternoon’s sprint.

The Ferrari star discussed his crash after the session, whilst he also recognised the importance on Ferrari being “on top”.

As a result of knowing this, Leclerc is determined to do “absolutely everything to win”.

“With the soft it was a little bit tricky because we haven’t driven on this tyre since yesterday… the conditions are very different,” Leclerc said in parc ferme.

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“The rear overheated on the second lap, I tried to push a bit more to gain some more lap time and I lost it in turn five. It’s a shame if he [Carlos] was improving. 

“Very happy with the first lap and now we have to confirm that in the race. We will go for it but we also need to be realistic… but we have been on the back foot in the race. Today we will have more of an answer in the race to see if we are competitive.

“Ferrari needs to be on top and I will do absolutely everything to win.”