Charles Leclerc steered clear of the Baku walls to give Ferrari its second straight Formula 1 pole position in a wild Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying.
The session was disrupted by the most ever red flags – four – including one in Q3 that meant no one could have a second run.
Leclerc benefited from the tow of Lewis Hamilton along the long main straight on his pole-clinching lap.
Hamilton will join Leclerc on the front row despite Mercedes struggling for pace all weekend.
“I did not expect to be as competitive as we were today,” Leclerc said. “I think I was improving again with the red flag, but it’s like this. I’m on pole. I’m happy.”
Max Verstappen was one of the favourites for pole but will instead start third.
The Red Bull driver’s second opportunity at snaring pole was then halted when Yuki Tsunoda and Carlos Sainz crashed at turn three in different accidents.
The consequent red flag sealed Leclerc pole as Verstappen had inadequate time left to start a new lap.
Pierre Gasly joins Verstappen on the second, ahead of Sainz and Sergio Perez.
Lando Norris had qualified sixth but will start ninth after incurring a three-place grid penalty for a red flag infringement.
Valtteri Bottas starts from a disappointing tenth, his worst F1 qualifying since the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2019.
Daniel Ricciardo crashed at turn three in the final stages of Q2, much to the dismay of Sebastian Vettel, who lost his opportunity to sneak into the top ten.
Instead, Vettel will start 11th and on the same row as Esteban Ocon.
Kimi Raikkonen was an impressive 14th, and George Russell made another Q3 appearance despite his Williams have a mechanical drama in Q1.
Crashes for Lance Stroll and Antonio Giovinazzi in Q1 meant the session was largely truncated.
Though it was the usual trio of Nicholas Latifi, Mick Schumacher, and Nikita Mazepin eliminated in the session.
|5||Carlos Sainz Jr.||1m41.576s|