Leclerc takes back-to-back poles, Tsunoda reaches Q3 for the first time and Gasly equals his best ever qualifying result. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix!
LECLERC ON POLE
For a second race weekend in a row, Charles Leclerc took pole position. It was the ninth pole position of his career and he became the fifth driver to take pole in the five races at Baku City Circuit. Leclerc had never previously qualified above tenth place at the track.
This is Ferrari’s second pole position in Azerbaijan. Sebastian Vettel took pole with the team here in 2018.
Leclerc took pole position by 0.232 seconds at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix – a margin 0.002s larger than his pole margin last time out in Monaco.
Leclerc’s pole margin of 0.232 seconds was the second smallest recorded in Baku. Sebastian Vettel took pole by 0.179 seconds in 2018.
THE TOP TEN
Lewis Hamilton qualified on the front row for a fourth consecutive appearance at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. This is the third successive race at Baku City Circuit that Hamilton has qualified in second place.
Qualifying in third place, Max Verstappen qualified in the top three for a fifteenth consecutive race.
Pierre Gasly qualified in fourth place, equalling the best qualifying result of his career. The Frenchman also qualified fourth at the 2019 German Grand Prix and the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. This was the first time Gasly has reached Q3 at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
With fifth place, Carlos Sainz recorded his best ever Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying result. His previous best was tenth place, recorded in 2018. Sainz is still yet to out-qualify a team-mate at the circuit.
Lando Norris qualified in sixth place, recording McLaren’s best ever qualifying result at Baku City Circuit. He’ll start the race from ninth however, after picking up a three-place grid penalty for a red flag infringement.
Yuki Tsunoda reached Q3 for the first time in his career, qualifying in eighth place. With Pierre Gasly also in Q3, this marked the first time both AlphaTauri drivers qualified in the top ten since the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
2021 marks the first time that both drivers for the Red Bull junior team have reached Q3 in Azerbaijan.
Fernando Alonso reached Q3 at Baku City Circuit for the first time. He qualified in ninth place, equalling his best Saturday result of the season so far. He also qualified ninth at the Bahrain Grand Prix. It’s the first time since the Sakhir race that Alonso has out-qualified his team-mate.
Alonso’s ninth place equalled the Enstone team’s best qualifying result at Baku City Circuit. Nico Hulkenberg qualified ninth for Renault in 2018.
Valtteri Bottas qualified in tenth place. That equalled his worst qualifying result since joining Mercedes. He also qualified tenth at the 2018 Australian and Belgian Grands Prix. Bottas recorded Mercedes’ worst qualifying result in Baku since Lewis Hamilton crashed out in Q3 and qualified tenth in 2016.
OUT IN Q2
For the first time, Sebastian Vettel failed to reach Q3 at Baku City Circuit. He missed out on qualifying in the top ten by just 0.029 seconds. It meant that Team Silverstone did not appear in Q3 at Baku City Circuit for the first time.
Qualifying in twelfth place, Esteban Ocon failed to reach Q3 at Baku City Circuit for the first time.
After crashing out in Q2, Daniel Ricciardo qualified thirteenth. It marked his worst qualifying result at Baku City Circuit and his second consecutive Q2 exit at the circuit.
With fourteenth place, Kimi Raikkonen equalled his best qualifying result of the 2021 season. The Finn lost his 100% Q3 appearance record at Baku City Circuit.
Despite his team having to change his power unit ahead of qualifying, George Russell continued his record of reaching Q2 at every race so far in 2021. Fifteenth place matched his worst qualifying result of the year to date. This is the third consecutive race that Russell has qualified in that position.
OUT IN Q1
Haas recorded their first double Q1 elimination at Baku City Circuit. In better news, for the first time this year, neither Mick Schumacher nor Nikita Mazepin qualified on the back row of the grid. Nevertheless, the duo set the two slowest times of the drivers who completed a lap.
Lance Stroll was the first driver to crash out in Q1. He recorded his second Q1 exit of the 2021 season. He was also out in Q1 at the Portuguese Grand Prix. This will be the first time Stroll lines up on the back row of the grid since the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Antonio Giovinazzi was the second driver to crash out in Q1. He was classified 20th in the session. It’s the first time he has qualified last since the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – a race in which he went on to score points.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.