Leclerc admits pole was unexpected

Charles Leclerc put his Ferrari on pole position for the 2023 Azerbaijan GP

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After claiming a surprise pole position for the 2023 Azerbaijan GP, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc was under no illusions about beating the Red Bull cars, in fact the Monegasque did not expect to do so.

During the first runs in Q3, Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen put up identical lap times, before the Ferrari driver opened a gap of 0.188s to take pole position for Sunday’s race.

“It’s great to be back on pole,” Leclerc told the press after Azerbaijan GP qualifying. “Honestly, I did not expect it. 

“I think we came into the weekend, thinking that it will already be a great result if we were in front of Aston [Martin] and Mercedes. And we find ourselves on pole. So really, really happy with that. 

“One thing is for sure is that I think we made a step forward in in Australia.  I am absolutely sure that we did some steps in the right direction. Not sure whether it’s enough though.”

Leclerc loves Baku

Leclerc has put his Ferrari on pole position for the Azerbaijan GP in each of the last three F1 seasons, but is unable to explain why he drives the track so well. 

“I don’t know,” Leclerc said, when asked why he performs so well in Baku. “I mean, it works well for me here. 

“There’s also been years where it worked less well in qualifying also. 

“I don’t know, I love street tracks in general, not only here, but Singapore, Monaco. These are probably my three favourite tracks of the season. 

“I enjoy this challenge of pushing the limits, but you cannot go over it, obviously. Otherwise, you pay the price of it. So this is something I enjoy.

“It’s not like I do anything particular that I can pinpoint for being so quick in street trucks.”

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