‘It’s a big thing’: Leclerc wary of Red Bull threat despite taking pole position

Charles Leclerc took his tally up to 15 pole positions with a stunning lap in Baku on Saturday.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is looking forward to seeing how his tyres fare in Baku this weekend compared with the last couple of rounds in Spain and Monaco after taking a brilliant pole position.

Leclerc had been slightly down on team-mate Carlos Sainz after the opening run of Q3 in Baku, but his second run was an exhilarating lap that got him pole, just under half a second ahead of the Spaniard, who ended up P4 behind Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez following a mistake at Turn Two.

It was another clutch lap from the Monegasque to seal his sixth pole of the season, and his fourth in a row, but he was not quite expecting it after seeing Red Bull’s pace throughout qualifying.

READ: ‘You just follow the team’s orders’: Max Verstappen defends Red Bull after father’s criticism

“It feels good,” said Leclerc after qualifying.

“This one is… obviously, all pole positions feel good but this one I probably did not expect it because I thought Red Bull was stronger, especially in Q1 and Q2.

“I really struggled to see that we were faster but then in the last lap everything came together and I managed to do a good lap so [I’m] extremely happy.”

READ: Sainz suggests he’s at a disadvantage to Leclerc in Baku

The Scuderia have generally struggled more than Red Bull on the tyre management side of things this season, making Sunday’s race an enticing prospect for Leclerc.

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“I’m really excited for tomorrow,” he added.

“I think we will have quite a bit of answers too because tyre management is a big thing here.

“In Barcelona and Monaco I think we were managing it well even though in Monaco it was difficult to see anything.

“But overall, our race pace has done a step up since we brought the upgrades so tomorrow will be very interesting whether it will be the case here too.”

Leclerc has failed to convert any of his last three pole positions and, with both Red Bulls behind him, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix is set to be a cracker.