Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez, Baku City Circuit, 2023

Ferrari has a Friday feel but knows racing is their “weak point” RaceFans

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For the primary time for the reason that Indianapolis 500 final competed within the Formulation 1 world championship in 1960, the beginning grid for a grand prix turns into official 24 hours earlier than the beginning of the race.

The closely compressed dash weekend schedule signifies that the grid for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix is ​​decided after a complete observe time of 105 minutes – no less than 20 minutes wasted in purple flag circumstances within the opening observe session. However there are Saturday dash race exhibits for all to get pleasure from first, earlier than the drivers head to the grid spots they gained on Friday on Sunday.

Going into the fourth spherical of the 2023 season, Purple Bull was virtually free to go to victory, they usually’re heading to a race weekend night after dropping in a aggressive session for the primary time this season. And it could be honest to say that the end result was sudden – no less than not by Ferrari.

“It is a actually massive shock for me – I believe for the entire workforce,” mentioned pole winner Charles Leclerc after the session. “We did not count on that after we got here right here, so it is nice to begin Sunday’s race on pole.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine, Baku City Track, 2023
Gallery: 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying day in photos

“We should not get carried away as a result of we all know that our weak spot is usually the race the place we seem behind the Purple Bulls.” However nonetheless being on pole is a large shock for us.”

However one one who wasn’t shocked to see Leclerc take his third straight pole place in Baku was the person who would begin with him on Sunday’s entrance row of the grid – championship chief Max Verstappen.

“not precisely [surprised] By Charles,” mentioned Verstappen. “We all know you are actually good right here. In any other case you will not get three posts in a row, proper?”

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The reality is that Leclerc has been in competition with the Purple Bulls from the opening observe session. Earlier than splitting each on the comfortable tyres on the finish of the session, the Purple Bulls matched them for early velocity on the exhausting tyres, though they set their early laps on the medium tyres.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2023
Verstappen not stunned by Leclerc’s tempo

What was placing was the place Leclerc managed to seek out lap time towards the Purple Bulls. In observe, Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez appeared to realize essentially the most time within the mid-speed, 90-degree corners within the opening sector, however Leclerc began to win again within the mid-sector from Flip 4 to slender aim. a sequence of corners eight to 12 adopted by a dash for Flip 15.

Ferrari labored exhausting over the winter to unlock extra straight-line speeds from their new vehicles for 2023 – they appeared to have achieved that aim early within the season once they had been a lot nearer to the Purple Bulls within the velocity traps. The low friction high quality of the brand new Ferrari was re-displayed in Baku.

In observe, Leclerc got here out of Flip 16 to enter the lengthy again straight on his quickest lap, a couple of tenth and a half behind Verstappen on the stopwatch. Throughout the straight, he blew that restrict and on the flip of Flip 19 he acquired forward of Verstappen at round 3 km/h quicker than Verstappen’s. However regardless of being behind Ferrari on the observe, Verstappen was capable of undo the ultimate kilometer time loss with the assistance of Purple Bull’s final weapon, the super-efficient Friction Discount System.

Within the 13 seasons DRS has been energetic in Formulation 1, the RB19 might have essentially the most highly effective model of the system ever designed. Each Leclerc and Verstappen accelerated to fifteen km/h by urgent the DRS button on the finish of the straight, however the larger acceleration Verstappen loved allowed him to cross the road sooner than Leclerc in observe.

This DRS benefit will assist Purple Bull’s aim so much on Sunday, regardless that the principle zone has been shortened by 100 metres. They may not even want it in tomorrow’s dash race, as a result of by then your entire subject can be reset and one other three-stage qualifying session can be held to find out how they are going to line up. And Verstappen, who misplaced pole at a very powerful begin, will probably take a unique strategy to prep his tires earlier than flying laps, as he did on the finish of Friday’s session.

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“I used to be attempting to provide them just a little extra heat,” he defined. “Generally I believe you do not fairly perceive what you wish to do in qualifying.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine, Baku City Track, 2023
Groups will re-qualify for Saturday’s race

“The primary race was good however it nonetheless wasn’t good. So we tried it and I imply, it may work after which it seems nice and that is what occurred in Australia. And I suppose it did not work this time.”

Verstappen will not be the one Purple Bull driver searching for a greater end result within the weekend’s second qualifying rounds. Teammate Perez is in a powerful place within the opening sector of the final Q3 lap, however will sit up for making up for it on Saturday morning after dropping three-tenths of a second to Leclerc within the midfield.

“I believe I misplaced greater than a tenth in third place,” Perez later mentioned. “I went actually deep. Simply typically, not doing a clear lap with a variety of corners round.

“There’s all the time a mix if you aren’t getting a nook proper – like Flip 6, then Flip 7 can all the time be a little bit of a problem. I believe I used to be positively quicker than I confirmed at the moment. However I am nonetheless struggling. I believe we now have little or no time to organize for these powerful qualifying and qualifying rounds. It was vital to verify we had been in a great place for Sunday.”

Primarily based on what Purple Bull has proven on Friday and all the first three weekends of the season, there’s a likelihood to renew regular service on Saturday as Verstappen and Perez lock the entrance row for the dash earlier than retreating for a straightforward win. . However even when that is the end result, it could be sufficient reward for Ferrari to begin the race once more on Sunday from the entrance.

“It feels good,” mentioned Leclerc of Scuderia’s return to pole after a weekend amid questions on his future and the departure of one other key workers member. “I believe the entire workforce wanted that.

“It is a part of our job in groups in Formulation 1, it’s a must to take care of rumors and strain, however it’s typically just a little more durable to carry out underneath these circumstances and we did a extremely good job.” So I believe it is good for the entire workforce.”

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desk id=’Sector occasions are applicable’ class=’brandedtable’>

Location Quantity driver sector one sector two sector three ultimate spherical Closing spherical deficit one 16 Charles Leclerc 35,224 (2) 40,191 (one) 24,788 (6) 1’40,203 – 2 one Max Verstappen 35,277 (3) 40,335 (2) 24,667 (one) 1’40.279 0.112 3 eleventh Sergio Perez 35,177 (one) 40.365 (3) 24,764 (2) 1’40.306 0.189 4 14 Fernando Alonso 35,526 (6) 40,645 (4) 24,769 (4) 1’40,940 0.313 5 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. 35,512 (5) 40,689 (6) 24,789 (7) 1’40.990 0.026 6 44 Lewis Hamilton 35,702 (9) 40,678 (5) 24,767 (3) 1’41.147 0.030 7 4 Lando Norris 35.461 (4) 40.71 (7) 25,006 (16) 1’41.177 0.104 8 18 Spear Stroll 35,813 (12) 40.77 (8) 24,778 (5) 1’41.361 0.215 9 22 Yuki Tsunoda 35,717 (10) 40,835 (9) 24,883 (9) 1’41.435 0.134 10 81 Oscar Piastri 35,636 (7) 40,903 (10) 24,925 (12) 1’41.464 0.147 eleventh 63 George Russell 35,731 (eleventh) 40,933 (eleventh) 24,927 (13) 1’41.591 0.063 12 31 Esteban Ocon 35.7 (8) 41,037 (13) 24,893 (10) 1’41.630 0.168 13 23 Alexander Albon 35.84 (14) 40,976 (12) 24,988 (14) 1’41.804 0.014 14 2 Logan Sergeant 35,858 (15) 41.47 (16) 24,825 (8) 1’42,153 0.089 15 77 Valteri Bottas 35.825 (13) 41,257 (15) 25,079 (17) 1’42,161 0.098 16 27 Nico Hulkenberg 36,249 (17) 41,152 (14) 24,908 (eleventh) 1’42,309 0.446 17 24 Zhou Guanyu 36,052 (16) 41,578 (18) 25,002 (15) 1’42,632 0.010 18 20 Kevin Magnussen 36.39 (18) 41,541 (17) 25,178 (19) 1’43.109 0.308 19 10 Pierre Gasly 36,504 (19) 42,427 (19) 25,115 (18) 1’44,046 0.807 20 21 Nyck de Vries 41.203 (20) 47,497 (20) 26,582 (20) 1’55,282 –

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2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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