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F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE: Race build-up, Leclerc starts on pole, Hamilton and Verstappen behind


Charles Leclerc is on pole position for today’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix after yesterday’s fascinating qualifying session in Baku.

There were FIVE crashes and a joint-record four red flags, as Lewis Hamilton profited from the smashes and stops to clinch an unlikely second-spot on the grid.

The Brit, who had been struggling for pace all weekend and was only NINTH quickest on Friday night, pipped Red Bull’s unhappy Dutchman, Max Verstappen, who will start in third in what promises to be an explosive race.

Hamilton could not hide his delight at snatching second on the grid thanks to receiving a tow down the huge straight from his team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton also lucked-in after Carlos Sainz and Yuki Tsunoda both crashed late on to bring an early end to qualifying, scuppering Verstappen’s flying lap.

Hamilton said: “We definitely weren’t expecting that and this is such a monumental result for us because we’ve been struggling like you couldn’t believe all weekend.

“We kept our composure. We’ve continued to have difficult discussions in the background and challenging one another, and just never taking no for an answer.

“To be up there and so close to these guys is a great start. It has been the biggest challenge in a long time. It has been a bit of a disaster.”

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