Leclerc crash opens door for Bottas to take Baku pole

Valtteri Bottas stormed to pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after Charles Leclerc’s crash in Q2 denied the Monegasque, who had been the quickest man on-track all weekend until he ploughed into the barriers at the castle section of the Baku circuit.

A bonkers Saturday in Baku ended with Bottas leading Lewis Hamilton in an all-Mercedes front row, despite the team’s pessimism ahead of the session.

The Finn will have a chance at redemption after losing out in last year’s race due to a puncture a few laps from the end while leading.

Leclerc will also be out to make good, however, having dominated the weekend right up to the middle of Q2 when he went into the barriers at the castle, matching an incident suffered by Robert Kubica at the same spot in Q1.

With the door open, Hamilton looked like he would be the one to benefit after the first runs of Q3, but Bottas picked up a tow down Baku’s monster straight and pipped his team-mate by 0.059 seconds with an outright lap record time of 1:40.495.