Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE: Charles Leclerc faces Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen battle

5 mins read


12.15pm: There were four red flags in a hectic qualifying session and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso has urged his Formula One rivals to “calm down a little bit”.

“I think the people need to calm down a little bit and drive 98 per cent in a street circuit because if you crash and you start last in the race, maybe you don’t drive over your possibilities,” the two-time world champion told Sky Sports F1.

“Today we saw many people driving over the possibilities of their car or their abilities.”

The Spaniard starts eighth in Baku today and said: “We have a good car; it has been good all weekend. We have always been in the top 10 in every session and we felt comfortable.

“Here you can overtake if you have the pace, so we need to take care of the tyres – that will be the hot topic for the race, I guess – but we are reasonably confident to take good points.”

12.05pm: As a result of Norris’ three-place grid penalty, the top 10 for today’s race start is as follows…

1) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
5) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
6) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
7) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
8) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
9) Lando Norris, McLaren
10) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes

12pm: Further down the grid, Lando Norris will start ninth for McLaren, having been pushed down three spots because of a red-flag infringement.

The Briton did not pit at the first opportunity during a red flag as is mandatory, although his punishment has been reduced from the usual five-place penalty.

The stewards said: “During the hearing the driver admitted that he lifted the throttle, braked and was committed to and able to enter the pitlane.

“At that moment he was not sure what to do and asked his team over the radio. Although the team ordered him immediately to enter the pits, it was too late and NOR crossed the finish line one more time.

“The stewards assume that if a red flag is not respected during qualifying, a drop of 5 grid positions is appropriate.

“However, if you consider that the driver only had a very short time to react due to his position on the track, a drop of three grid positions is sufficient as an exception.”

11.45pm: Good afternoon and welcome to Express Sport’s live coverage of the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix!

Charles Leclerc starts on pole for Ferrari having been denied the chance to front the pack in Monaco a fortnight ago by a pre-race mechanical issue.

The Monegasque, bidding to secure the Prancing Horse’s first race win in two years, is joined by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on the front row after Q3 was cut short by a red flag yesterday.

Yuki Tsunoda in the AlphaTauri crashed at Turn 3 and was followed by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who locked up and went into the run-off area just seconds later as the session came to a premature end.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the Drivers’ Championship leader, was denied the chance to beat his time and starts third with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly fourth.



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