It's pole position number six for Charles Leclerc this season at the Azerbaijan GP. In a session that had surprisingly just one stoppage, we ended up with an action-packed hour, with the Ferrari driver having the fastest time at the of Q3.
While there are some that would be extremely happy with how the qualifying session went, there are others that might not be too ecstatic with how things turned out. Just like everything else in life, there are winners and losers in the Azerbaijan GP qualifying session. In this piece, we will take a look at a few of them.
Who won and who lost at the Azerbaijan GP Qualifying?
Charles Leclerc bagged his sixth pole position of the season and it could not have come at a better time. Ferrari is on a four-race losing streak to Red Bull and so is Charles Leclerc. Leclerc has started to show that he is arguably the best qualifier on the grid and the talent that he possesses is something special.
After his win at the Spanish GP, it appeared as though Max Verstappen might just run away with the championship. As it turns out, his teammate Sergio Perez seems to be getting the better of him these days.
The Mexican won the race in Monaco and closed down the gap to Verstappen to just 15 points. At the Azerbaijan GP, Sergio Perez became the first teammate to outqualify Max Verstappen for two races in a row since the 2018 Monaco GP.
It will be interesting to see how the reigning world champion will deal with this new challenge from his teammate.
Sergio Perez was not happy with the treatment he received at the Spanish GP. There was one clear explanation as to what happened to him there, according to many. It was just the fate of the 'second driver.'
Ever since the race in Barcelona, Perez has completely flipped the script. He's more comfortable in the car, he's faster than Verstappen and he is in contention for the championship. The Red Bull driver is ramping up the pressure and will be one of the favorites to win the Azerbaijan GP.
Mercedes might have kissed any championship contention hopes they had goodbye this weekend. The car looked horrible on the track and suffered from severe porpoising.
This is disappointing as Mercedes was expected to have shown improvements at Baku after its upgrades in Barcelona. However, after today's session, it's hard to see the team offering anything but an occasional challenge to the frontrunners.
After watching teams like Haas, Alfa Romeo, Alpine, and McLaren have specific track layouts that worked for them, AlphaTauri too would have hoped to have a race where everything aligned perfectly for it. Lo and behold, AlphaTauri is the class of the midfield.
With the kind of speed that the car has shown and the chaotic nature of the race, we could see an AlphaTauri on the podium.
While McLaren also suffered an early elimination, its times were still in the ballpark of the midfield teams'. In the case of Alfa Romeo, the car just did not have the speed to compete, especially Valtteri Bottas who was around six-tenths slower than his teammate. Alfa Romeo has been unable to get on top of the challenges posed by the Azerbaijan GP track layout and has lost out significantly.
Catch the drivers in Baku on Sunday, June 12, 2022.
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