Valtteri Bottas secures Azerbaijan GP pole as Charles Leclerc suffers huge crash

Valtteri Bottas secured a shock pole for the Azerbaijan [Courtesy]

Valtteri Bottas secured a shock pole for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton as Ferrari's Charles Leclerc suffered a huge shunt in a chaotic qualifying session.

Leclerc, a favourite for pole having been dominant in Baku, crashed into the barriers during the second phase of qualifying, potentially ruining his hopes of winning this weekend.

He played no part in the top-ten shootout for pole on Saturday, which saw Bottas put his Mercedes on the very front of the grid despite his car seemingly lacking pace prior to qualifying.

Hamilton, who leads Bottas by six points in the title standings also looked set to have his work cut out to challenge Ferrari but delivered an impressive lap to seal second ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Following a farcical day in practice on Friday, it was another chaotic day of action that saw the opening two segments of qualifying red-flagged.

Williams' Robert Kubica was the first to fall, victim of the, tricky castle section in Baku, smashing into the barriers during the final stages of Q1.

Then Leclerc's hopes of putting his Ferrari on pole position ended in the barriers after he crashed out of the second segment off qualifying.

The 21-year-old clipped the kerb at the left-handed entry to the narrow castle section, and went head-on into the barrier on the opposing side of the track.

"I am stupid, I am stupid," a furious Leclerc said over the radio before hitting his car with both hands as he emerged from his cockpit.

Elsewhere Max Verstappen will start fourth for Red Bull while Racing Point's Sergio Perez, a two-time podium finisher in Baku, will start fifth ahead of Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat.

It was another impressive showing from McLaren youngster Lando Norris too, the British youngster put his car seventh on the grid.


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