Leclerc’s impressive first lap in Q3 put him over 0.2s clear of Lewis Hamilton, benefitting from a tow off the Mercedes driver.

Yuki Tsunoda and Carlos Sainz’s crashes at the end of Q3 resulted in another red flag and meant no one could improve, ensuring Leclerc secured the ninth pole of his career.

“It was quite a shit lap I thought,” Leclerc said after qualifying in Baku. “There were like two or three corners I did mistakes but then of course, I had the big tow from Lewis in the last sector which helped me a little bit but overall I think we would have been there or thereabouts for pole without the slipstream.

F1 Baku 2021 | FP3 - qualifying results | Azerbaijan Grand Prix

“It’s a good day! I didn’t expect to be as competitive as we were today. I think I was improving again with the red flag but it’s like this, another pole. I am happy anyway and hopefully, it’s all good for Carlos - I haven't seen the crash so I have no ideas. I hope all OK for the team.”

Leclerc expects Mercedes and Red Bull to have the advantage on race day after Ferrari struggled with tyre graining in FP2.

“It definitely feels very good,” Leclerc added. On the other hand, it’s with the red flag again so I wish we had it on a normal track but in the end, a pole is a pole.

“The car felt quite OK but I believe Mercedes and Red Bull have something more than we have in the race especially. We’ve seen that in FP2 so it’s going to be very difficult because here it’s not like Monaco, they can overtake. I will try to do the best job possible and hopefully, we can keep that first place but it’s going to be difficult.”