The pole was Leclerc’s second in a row and once again, it came as a result of the final session being stopped early by a red car banging into the barriers. At home in Monaco two weeks ago, it was Leclerc who set the fastest lap and then crashed.
In Baku, it was a smash involving teammate Carlos Sainz that ended the track action. Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton qualified alongside the Monegasque on the front row, with Red Bull’s championship leader Max Verstappen starting third.
The first phase of qualifying was twice stopped by crashes, with Lance Stroll smashing his Aston Martin into the barriers at turn 15 and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi following minutes later. Daniel Ricciardo then crashed his McLaren after locking up at turn 3 in the second phase.
The crash left Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel cursing his misfortune in 11th place after being denied the chance to go faster. The final crash involved Sainz and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda.