F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE: Race build-up, Leclerc starts on pole, Hamilton and Verstappen behind – latest updates

CHARLES LECLERC put his Monaco heartache behind him by claiming pole at the Azerbajan Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton will be on the front row of the grid with Max Verstappen third-fastest in qualifying.

  • AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX START TIME: 1pm UK

Get all the latest F1 updates from Baku here…

  • Ben Hunt

    GO GO GO, GREEN LIGHT IN BAKU

    Leclerc gets away cleanly and leads the Azerbaijan GP. He holds off Hamilton, who stays in P2.

    Verstappen in third and Perez has gone up from starting sixth and is now in fourth. Great start from the Mexican.

  • Ben Hunt

    FORMATION LAP

    As the clock ticks parts 1pm or 4pm in Baku, the formation lap is underway. All the cars are away.

  • Ben Hunt

    FOUR RED FLAGS IN QUALIFYING

    How many will we have in the race? We have seen plenty of smashes in Baku in the past.

    Remember Ricciardo and Verstappen? Ocon and Perez? What about Vettel vrs Hamilton?

    This could be another explosive contest.

  • Ben Hunt

    FINAL PREPARATION FOR THE WORLD CHAMPION

    Could he regain the lead in the championship here? Or will there be contact with Verstappen?

  • Ben Hunt

    THAT IS SOME NATIONAL ANTHEM

    The Azerbaijan anthem is belted after tributes on the gird. We are almost ready to go.

  • Ben Hunt

    15 MINUTES UNTIL LIGHTS OUT

    This races promises to be a cracker. Lewis Hamilton has struggled all week but managed to drag his car to second on the grid.

    Championship leader Max Verstappen starts in P3 just behind him but it is Charles Leclerc who will start on pole.

  • Kostas Lianos

    MORE FROM HAMILTON

    “We got to [FP3] and we were still pretty much a disaster, but we discovered something at the end of P3 and I continued to push down in that direction and it paid dividends…

    "We tried a few different things and then just tried something right at the end just with the set-up [and it] unlocked the potential… Literally it was night and day, the car.

    “It was really just about getting the tyres to work. We just can’t get our tyres to switch on like the others generally can [but] all of a sudden the tyres started working and we were kind of back in the game.

    "So it was then just about putting the laps together… It's the biggest jump that we've been able to make on an actual day between P3 and quali for sure"

  • Kostas Lianos

    HAMILTON TURNAROUND

    British star Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes' astounding turnaround comes down to character.

    Hamilton said: "I think we definitely weren’t expecting that.

    “This is such a monumental result for us because we’ve been struggling like you wouldn’t believe all weekend, you can see it.

    "But we kept our composure, continued to have difficult discussions in the background and challenging one another and just never taking no for an answer.

    “It’s crazy just trying to switch these tyres on, and finding the envelope for this car; it’s like the biggest challenge we’ve had in a long time, trying to understand what the car really wants.

    “She’s not been happy all weekend, it’s been a bit of a disaster, so for us to be up here, and even Valtteri getting into the top 10… that’s just down to great, great team work”

  • Kostas Lianos

    MORE FROM TSUNODA

    AlphaTauri star Yuki Tsunoda made his first ever appearance in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying.

    But Tsunoda's debut included some major frustration when he crashed.

    Despite the crash, though, he remains positive ahead of the upcoming challenges.

    Tsunoda added: “Tomorrow is a new day, and I think compared to Monaco, it’s a bit easier to overtake, so hopefully with strategy and tyre management, we can put it altogether"

  • Kostas Lianos

    TSUNODA REACTS

    AlphaTauri star Yuki Tsunoda made his first ever appearance in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying, but his debut included some major frustration when he crashed.

    Tsunoda said: “I was just pushing too much.

    “I thought I could stop enough before the corner, but I got a front lock and no chance to make the corner.

    “I’m OK, I’m sorry for the team. I think the pace was there. It’s a mixed feeling, there was definitely the potential to be in a higher position so it’s a shame”

  • Kostas Lianos

    HAMILTON ON COMPETITION

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton previously opened up about the ongoing competition.

    Hamilton said: "We know that this car is not a terrible car but we also know that we're not the strongest right now.

    "For us to turn it round to be in the top three competing so closely with the Red Bulls and Ferraris who have been just destroying everyone last weekend and this weekend, it puts us in the fight.

    "We've got a race on Sunday and we're in a position to get some good points. So I'm just excited"

    GETTY IMAGES
  • Kostas Lianos

    MORE FROM HAMILTON

    With new contenders emerging in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton welcomes the competition.

    Hamilton said: "It's great to see three teams – three, four teams – at the front.

    "It's great seeing the Alpines, it's great seeing the McLarens in the mix and even the AlphaTauris.

    "It's shaping up to be one of the most exciting seasons that we've seen"

  • Kostas Lianos

    HAMILTON IMPRESSED

    Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton is very impressed with Ferrari's development.

    Hamilton said: "It's a fantastic step that they've taken.

    "I don't fully understand it. I think they've always had a good car for some time and just down in power.

    "I'm assuming they've taken a really good step with their engines because they're now up there with everyone else"

  • Kostas Lianos

    LECLERC OPENS UP

    Ferrari star Charles Leclerc admitted that it will be hard to hold the likes of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton back in the Azerbaijan GP.

    Leclerc said: "The race pace is, I believe weaker than Red Bull and Mercedes, so it's going to be very tough to keep them behind.

    "But we will give everything. The straights are very long and it's very easy to overtake.

    "We need to have another good surprise and be quicker than Mercedes and Red Bull, and then we can win"

  • Joshua Jones

    GOOD MORNING F1 FANS

    Charles Leclerc is on pole position for today's Azerbaijan Grand Prix after yesterday’s fascinating qualifying session in Baku.

    There were FIVE crashes and a joint-record four red flags, as Lewis Hamilton profited from the smashes and stops to clinch an unlikely second-spot on the grid.

    The Brit, who had been struggling for pace all weekend and was only NINTH quickest on Friday night, pipped Red Bull's unhappy Dutchman, Max Verstappen, who will start in third in what promises to be an explosive race.

    Hamilton could not hide his delight at snatching second on the grid thanks to receiving a tow down the huge straight from his team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

    Hamilton also lucked-in after Carlos Sainz and Yuki Tsunoda both crashed late on to bring an early end to qualifying, scuppering Verstappen's flying lap.

    Hamilton said: "We definitely weren't expecting that and this is such a monumental result for us because we've been struggling like you couldn't believe all weekend.

    "We kept our composure. We've continued to have difficult discussions in the background and challenging one another, and just never taking no for an answer.

    "To be up there and so close to these guys is a great start. It has been the biggest challenge in a long time. It has been a bit of a disaster."

  • Anthony Chapman

    FER-WOW-RI

    Can Charles Leclerc drive to victory in Baku tomorrow?

    The Ferrari ace bagged pole in qualifying today.

    And he did it in dramatic style too!

  • Anthony Chapman

    BAKU BASH

    How about this for a crash?

    It was so intense it ended qualifying on Saturday!

  • Jake Lambourne

    VETTEL WOE

    Sebastian Vettel was not happy after just missing out on Q3.

  • Jake Lambourne

    LEW BEAUTY

    Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton has spoken of his delight at securing second on the grid.

    Hamilton said: “We definitely weren’t expecting that and this is such a monumental result for us because we’ve been struggling like you couldn’t believe all weekend. You can see it.

    “We kept our composure. We’ve continued to have difficult discussions in the background and challenging one another, and just never taking no for an answer. We’ve moved around, made so many changes, over these two days. Just chasing our tail and it’s been so difficult.

    “But the work overnight and particularly between the sessions was amazing from the team and really proud of everyone for keeping positive. To be up there and so close to these guys is a great start.

    “It has been the biggest challenge in a long time. It has been a bit of a disaster”

  • Jake Lambourne

    F1 STANDINGS

    Max Verstappen leads the F1 World Championship following his victory at Monaco last time out.

    The Red Bull driver sits for points ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

    🏁F1 2021 calendar: practice times, dates and racetrack info

  • Jake Lambourne

    STARTING GRID

    This is how the starting grid looks for Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

  • Jake Lambourne

    WAR OF WORDS

    Toto Wolff has blasted Christian Horner and called him "a windbag" as the two F1 bosses traded insults.

    Mercedes chief Wolff was responding to Horner's comments that Wolff should "keep his mouth shut" over their row over flexi-wings.

    Mercedes feel that Red Bull's rear wing breaches F1 rules while Red Bull believe the same accusation can be levelled at Merc's front wing.

    But while Horner appears to have taken it on the chin as his team currently lead the drivers' and constructors' championship, Wolff is not happy.

    He snapped: "Christian is a bit of a windbag who wants to be on camera. It is easy to be punchy when you are on top of the timesheets but you should be a little bit more modest."

    Red Bull's Max Verstappen joked: "They should sort it out in the ring! I am all for a ring in F1 instead of penalties!

    "But it is Formula One, everyone wants to win and everyone is competitive, so it is only natural and it is good for people to read!"

    Merc's Lewis Hamilton added: "They are the top leaders of the two teams and both contributed to success and they are going head to head in this battle."

  • Jake Lambourne

    LAND BEFORE TIME

    Lando Norris has been handed a three-place grid penalty for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

    He will now start in ninth after being penalised for failing to pit when the red flag was shown.

    Speaking before the decision was announced, Norris said: "I was in the middle, I was continuing my lap but then I didn’t really know at one point I could turn left or go right.

    "I slowed down straight away, I don’t feel like I was doing anything wrong. And I was going at quite a high speed, going into that pit at that time.

    “So I don’t know, I need to speak to the team, but I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong."

  • Kostas Lianos

    TON OF PRAISE

    Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton is very pleased with the result at the final practice.

    Hamilton took to Twitter after the race and praised his team for the overall effort.

    The British star tweeted the following:

  • Kostas Lianos

    LECLERC REACTS

    Ferrari star Charles Leclerc reacted to his second pole in a row.

    Leclerc said: "It was quite a s*** lap I thought! There were like 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.

    "But overall I think we would have been there or thereabouts for pole without the slipstream, so it's a good day.

    "I did not expect to be as competitive as we were today. I was improving again [before] the red flag but it's like this, another pole, and I'm happy anyway"

    GETTY IMAGES

    Source: Read Full Article