Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Baku City Circuit, 2021

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix grid

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Row 11. Charles Leclerc 1’41.218
Ferrari
2. Lewis Hamilton 1’41.450
Mercedes
Row 23. Max Verstappen 1’41.563
Red Bull
4. Pierre Gasly 1’41.565
AlphaTauri
Row 35. Carlos Sainz Jnr 1’41.576
Ferrari
6. Sergio Perez 1’41.917
Red Bull
Row 47. Yuki Tsunoda 1’42.211
AlphaTauri
8. Fernando Alonso 1’42.327
Alpine
Row 59. Lando Norris 1’41.747
McLaren
10. Valtteri Bottas 1’42.659
Mercedes
Row 611. Sebastian Vettel 1’42.224
Aston Martin
12. Esteban Ocon 1’42.273
Alpine
Row 713. Daniel Ricciardo 1’42.558
McLaren
14. Kimi Raikkonen 1’42.587
Alfa Romeo
Row 815. George Russell 1’42.758
Williams
16. Nicholas Latifi 1’43.128
Williams
Row 917. Mick Schumacher 1’44.158
Haas
18. Nikita Mazepin 1’44.238
Haas
Row 1019. Lance Stroll No time
Aston Martin
20. Antonio Giovinazzi No time
Alfa Romeo

Penalties

Lando Norris: Three-place grid penalty for failing to pit when the red flag was shown

Lance Stroll and Antonio Giovinazzi: Did not set times within 107% of the fastest lap in Q1, both permitted to start as they have “set satisfactory times in practice at this event.”

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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80 comments on “2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix grid”

  1. F2 tier qualifying

  2. Ricciardo, Tsunoda, Sainz, should they all get penalized? Where are all those who called for a Leclerc penalty last time out?

  3. hamilton being spoonfed

    1. Oh give it a break. It’s boring.

      1. But it’s true.

        Reply moderated
    2. Hehehehehe. Love it. Did you lose money? You seem sad.

    3. Not enough salt and lacking content, I rate it a 0.4 rodbers

      1. Is that a reference to Rodber?

    4. It’s been shown over many years that having a clear number 1 and a support driver is a very effective way to go racing. Some teams do it, others don’t. In this case, it worked perfectly.

      I think Mercedes have taken a bit of wing off which obviously helps with 1-lap pace but I wonder how the tyres will last tomorrow compared to Red Bull. We know the Ferrari is going to struggle to keep it’s tyres alive.

  4. It seems the ranking is more about who got a slipstream and who didn’t…
    As is testified by Leclerc saying his lap was pretty bad with several mistakes in the corners.

    1. @js I don’t know why he said it was a bad lap, he was purple in sector two, where a tow doesn’t help. Hamilton had a tow as well and got nowhere near that lap.

    2. @js
      How about Leclerc’s time in sector 2 ?

      1. @wsrgo @tifoso1989 Well, I believe HAM managed 2nd thanks to BOT’s tow, and LEC explicitly said he made several of mistakes in the corners (so in Sector 2). It seems most drivers made lots of mistakes in their first run, and some were helped by a tow more than others (GAS underlined LEC had a pretty good tow).
        In particular, I think that had HAM not passed LEC in his warm-up lap, he might be in pole now (because then he would not have given a tow to LEC), and could still have benefited one.
        Note that several drivers made a worst time than in Q2, I don’t think the track had improved much more than a tenth or so.

        Do you have a place to get the sector times now? I can’t seem to find them online! Thanks!

        1. @js
          Judging by Leclerc’s onboard lap footage, he has two moments of understeer and oversteer in turn 4 and 6 respectively in sector 1. He had a slight correction in turn 7 but he was pushing though as he was mighty quick in sector 2.
          Sector times for the qualifying session can be found under Best Sector Times section (PDF file) in the below link (FIA website) :
          https://www.fia.com/events/fia-formula-one-world-championship/season-2021/azerbaijan-grand-prix/eventtiming-information

          1. @tifoso1989
            Thanks a lot (didn’t seem to be friend with the FIA search tool yesterday!).
            I had added another answer which does not appear, to say I was indeed expecting (after Monaco) a solid sector 2 from FER (and its drivers!): they seem to be pretty solid this year in such configurations, but I still think the splistream helped quite a lot. I may be underestimating FER’s V6, but the top speeds (344 during quali for SAI) and the times in sector 3 seem to tell splistream was key.
            Note also that VER (in Q2 I guess) had a better sector 2 than LEC (in Q3): maybe the drivers misjudged how the track would change between Q2 & Q3 and pushed too much in Q3… explaining the many errors we’ve seen in the Q3 first (and unique) runs. On the other hand we’ve seen so many mistakes since FP1.

            Let’s see how it unfold today! Enjoy the race!

          2. @js
            Thanks, you too enjoy the race !

  5. Both Verstappen and Hamilton have worse tyres for race start than Leclerc or Perez so yeah its going to be very interesting one tomorrow.

    1. I feel Perez may be starting too far back to to effect the start of the race, let’s see if he can pull something out in the later stages though

      1. Lando will be getting penalty for what he did in Q1 which will be bring Perez 1 more place up.

  6. Hamilton lands on his feet yet again. I’m sure Toto will be on Sky later claiming it was the hardest quali they’ve ever experienced.

    1. Let me correct your statement – “Hamilton delivers again”. No need to thank me :-)

      1. No point arguing with these types. Just enjoy the saltiness 😂🇬🇧🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆

      2. Yup, thanks to BOT being forced by the team to offer a tow!!! Greatest no.2 EVER, Barrichello is POS compared to BOT.

    2. lexusreliabilty?
      5th June 2021, 14:31

      @inininin

      If you were actually watching the sessions, following Monaco, you would realise how daft your comment is.

      1. Brackley thanks you for your support.

        1. lexusreliabilty?
          5th June 2021, 14:35

          @inininin

          I am sure Brackley are avid followers of our “expert” views on this F1 blog.

        2. Brackley is Merc, not RB. Surely you mean Max thanking RB for repairing his car after crashing into the wall in P3?

  7. lexusreliabilty?
    5th June 2021, 14:28

    Mental, dramatic qualifying. Red Bull will be cursing themselves for not making the most of this- but this track is like entering a minefield. Tomorrow will most probably bring more crazy results. Back to back pole positions for LeClerc- in my view he is the one to watch for the future amongst his generation of drivers.

    1. It seems like the Red Bull drivers were trying very hard to avoid getting a tow…

    2. yeah new gen drivers are very impressive

    3. Wow Verstappen was vex in that top 3 interview. I mean I would be pretty annoyed too. You have Hamilton on the ropes, then you bin the car in last practice and he beats you in q3. Hard to take.

      1. I thought he got himself back impressively quickly @dmw, yes surely they will feel like they again didn’t get the best they could have, but equally he was soon reminding the viewer, and himself, that looking at the championship, consistency is also important and he’s in the fight tomorrow.

  8. I guess the chatter around penalizing drivers for causing red and yellow flags intensifying!

    Stroll, Giovanaazi, Ricciardo, Tsunoda, Sainz, And Leclerc in Monaco! These are the top tier drivers they say!

    1. Not really. By crashing they are damaging their own cars and that is a big punishment as it is.

  9. Interesting Merc strategy that they managed to switch their tires on after two or three laps. Overcut will work against that, I’d imagine. RB take note.

    1. And for same reason expect to see verstappen past Hamilton in early laps. But Hamilton fighting back strongly. With leclerc potentially keeping either from running away at the start. Should be a great race.

      1. Hamilton, with the lower downforce wing, will have a good chance of getting Verstappen back (and also Leclerc, unless it takes until there’s back markers to get a tow from ;), but looking at the starting phase and previous races it seems a solid possibility @dmw

  10. Well that was a pretty crazy session! The top 5 was covered by less than 5 hundredths of a second at the end of Q2! It’ll be interesting to see if Sergio sees any benefit of running fewer laps on his Q2 set of tyres. I have no idea who’ll take the win tomorrow. Plenty of possibilities.

  11. Too close to being a farcical session.
    That slipstream appears way too much powerful this time than it was in 2019.
    May be recency bias but it wasnt thoroughly enjoyable to be honest.

    1. Are these really the best drivers the world has to offer? It’s getting hard to keep saying F1 is the pinnacle of motorsports when more than half of the tracks are garbage and half of the drivers of some rich guys kid

      1. You do know that throughout history motorsport drivers have almost consistently been “rich kids”. you just can’t get the experience and career without being rich, with exceptionally few cases having risen from less.

      2. No they’re clearly not, but when an also-ran goes to Indy and almost wins, you know they aren’t that bad. Tsunoda is just overrated, and yes Stroll and Mazepin shouldn’t be there. @paeschli

        1. @john-h huh. I haven’t noticed F1 discards like Ericcson or Rossi kicking butt in Indy at all. What I do see is someone who managed to outdrive his Lotus years ago, a typically speedy and talented driver, managed to take pole and lead in one single race so far.

          But.. go on.

          1. @neiana, don’t forget Sato and Bourdais.

          2. @paulk Sato won two 500s but wasn’t he actually halfway decent at Formula 1?

            Sebastian Bourdais went from CART at it’s lowest, absolute worst (2004), to the Red Bull program (which we are all very well aware of their tendencies), then went back to the IRL while it was still a pithy. Note how now that the talent pool in Indycar has risen, Bourdais has sunk?

            Oh, and Juan Pablo Montoya went from CART at it’s peak (a whole different beast, admittedly) to F1 and was not exactly trounced throughout his career.

        2. @john-h As a matter of fact, I barely see F1 discards kicking butt in Formula E, very often so…

          Keep going on. :)

          1. Outdrive his Lotus!? Lol people have such rose tinted glasses over Grosjean recently. Sure he was quick at times but very inconsistent and erratic, that was his problem.

            Please tell me, when was the last time a driver got dropped from Indycar or Formula-e and got picked up by an F1 team?

            But sure, keep going on @neiana

          2. @john-h You haven’t mentioned how any F1 driver has gone to any other discipline and immediately been the best, or even been the best within a reasonable time frame. You did attempt to make such claims, but those claims fell so flat I could make bread on it.

          3. @neiana

            I don’t understand what you’re saying, apologies. Vandoorne and Vergne have been pretty decent in FE though.

            No one thinks Mazepin and Stroll are the best drivers in the world, but overall F1 has the best field of drivers… but of course that’s just my opinion, keep convincing yourself.

  12. What a crazy qualifying session! It has the ingredients for a special race, hopefully it really delivers! Great to see 3 different cars in the top 3

  13. Where did that laptime come from? And Leclerc said it was a bad lap, but he was purple Sector 2 which you don’t get from a tow, if that was s**t as he said, then I shudder to think what the ultimate lap today was.

    Reply moderated
  14. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    5th June 2021, 14:36

    Oh yes. Struggling. Struggling all the way to 2nd.

    1. One day will come when they will actually struggle and that day no one would believe them anymore.

      1. Nah. When that day comes people will just clown the team as underperforming with their budget and mock Hamilton for not winning without the best car.

      2. When that day comes they’ll just exit F1, having taken everything they could from it. Just like Audi has done in WEC.
        Red Bull is more of a pure racing team than Mercedes is at this point.

        1. A pure racing team? Yeah, car manufacturer with a hundred years of history, vs an energy drink brand. I can see your point.

  15. It was crashtastic to be honest. But you’ve got to feel for Bottas this time.

    1. Not at all – he’s paid very well to be a support driver and that’s his job. If Mercedes wanted two equal drivers, Bottas wouldn’t be anywhere near the seat.

      1. From a constructors perspective what good does it do when one car starts second and another at ten?

        1. They obviously hoped there wouldn’t be a red flag and Bottas would get a better lap in (interestingly, without a tow from Hamilton) but ultimately, if they are going to win the Constructors, they need a happy & motivated Lewis Hamilton to lead the charge.

          1. @petebaldwin Bottas slowed in the lap before so he’d be able to get a tow (was he behind Sainz? yeah, that didn’t work did it), but indeed, w/o the red flag surely he’d have been higher up.

            Still not likely in HAM territory bc he had kept the bigger wing which seems to have been the lesser choice, so I do think they sacrificed him to have any chance of a car near the top (not sure they’d do it the other way, but BOT did of course get the better position last time around).

      2. Yes you are right. That’s why RB only employ rookies or drivers who no other team wants as the No2 to Max. And why Merc will bring in Russell next year.

        1. So you’re saying Bottas is in an equal position in the team to Hamilton? Fair enough. Any idea why Hamilton didn’t return the favour to Bottas on the 2nd run? Perhaps Bottas just didn’t want a tow?

          1. @petebaldwin Likely because there are agreements within the teams as to who gets preference about when to go, usually alternating from race to race. Teams do it differently: some swap the order of who goes out first, others swap who gets to choose which order they go out in. And this weekend it was Hamilton’s turn/choice to go behind Bottas.

          2. Mercedes have had a policy of alternating driver choosing to go out first or second. It was Hamilton’s turn at Baku and he chose to go second. Why all these theories about Bottas being sacrificed to suit some narrative….dammed if they do, dammed if they don’t.

          3. No. I’m saying its Hams turn to pick when he goes out, as it will be Bottas turn next week; until they give up on him for the season. Why did you forget?
            And given your reasons for a Merc No 2; and the likelihood that George will be in the team next year with Ham, I assume you consider George will only be going there on the clear understanding he will act as Hams No 2?

        2. Red Bull had two equal drivers but Ricciardo chose to run away…

          1. Because he wasn’t being treated equally

    2. A little. It’s the reverse of Monaco. The team made major set up changes after practice. This time it worked out for Hamilton but not bottas. And If bottas didn’t want to be the sacrifice he would have been faster in fp3 and the earlier parts of qualifying.

  16. Well that’s more like it. But for Leclerc’s tow its very likely Hamilton would have had pole. If only Mercedes had one of their B-teams behind Hamilton. That said anyone ahead of Leclerc would have been to his advantage. Once again Bottas sacrifices himself for the team. Great efforts all round.

    The start tomorrow should be legendary. Hamilton vs Leclerc , Verstappen vs Hamilton. I wonder who’ll gets the best tow?

    1. There’s no tow into T1 since the starting grid is just a few metres before the braking zone. If I remember correctly it’s the shortest run to the first corner in the entire calendar. The tow effect is more evident in the run up to the line, kinda like Interlagos.

    2. I wonder who’ll gets the best tow?

      It’s too short a run to T1 for anybody to get a tow & it’s also not as effective on the runs to T2 or T3.

      The tow is only as powerful as it is on the main straight because of how long it is as it starts to make the most difference at the higher speeds.

      It’s the same in Indycar. You get these massive tow’s on the superspeedway ovals like Indy & Texas but when you get to the smaller ovals where the speeds are lower the tow becomes significantly less effective even though the cars themselves produce a bit more drag with the shorter oval aero package.

      1. @roger-ayles the big difference is Indycars are more capable of following. The tires get hurt a bit, but they don’t hurt the aero as much in the corners.

  17. As usual Lando gets no penalty.

    1. The stewards haven’t yet reached a decision as far as I can tell. This site usually has updates on these kind of decisions as soon as they’re announced, and the other good place to check is the FIA’s official documents site, although it does sometimes take a while to be updated.

      In terms of the penalty, I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes either way. Under the strictest interpretation of the rules, he probably should have pitted. But it’s the same as going through a red light on the road because you were going too fast to be able to slow down safely. Although, he probably shouldn’t have sped up after not going into the pits, but this may depend on the red flag delta that I believe the drivers get on their dash.

      1. He has now been given a penalty. 3 places.

  18. I wouldn’t worry too much about starting on poor tires. Should be an opportunity to pit within two laps, if the crashes in quali are any judge!😆

    1. @waptraveler That probably means pitting right to the back of the field though (however large that field may actually be after 2 laps). The ideal point is a safety car 10+ laps in.

  19. And nobody taking about Gasly. This guy is quietly becoming driver of the season. Back to his usual job beating the second rbr car.

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