Charles Leclerc has completed the primary half: After turning within the quickest lap in qualifying, he’ll begin the Azerbaijan Grand Prix from pole place on Sunday.

Now he has to do the half that has proved problematic for him this season: End the race.

In three begins this 12 months, Leclerc’s Ferrari has been operating on the finish solely as soon as. He was the sufferer of an engine drawback in Bahrain and a first-lap crash in Australia. For the second, although, Leclerc has his place excellent.

He’ll begin simply forward of the season chief, Max Verstappen of Purple Bull, on Sunday, and one row in entrance of his Ferrari teammate, Carlos Sainz, and the opposite Purple Bull, pushed by Sergio Pérez. Qualifying forward of them was heartening. Staying forward of all of them on Sunday — on the tight corners of a Baku circuit famed for inflicting chaos — can be way more troublesome.

Time: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday begins at 7 a.m. Japanese, which is 3 p.m. native time on the Baku Metropolis Circuit.

TV: The race will air on ESPN in the USA, beginning with prerace protection at 5:30 a.m. Japanese. Not in America? A full record of System 1 broadcasters, for wherever you might be, will be discovered right here.

Ferrari and Purple Bull have been the quickest vehicles in qualifying. (Sure, that sounds acquainted.) Lewis Hamilton will begin fifth in his all of a sudden resurgent Mercedes.

Hamilton’s workforce can be much less comfortable about seeing his accomplice, George Russell, means down the grid in eleventh after a disappointing qualifying session. Verstappen would moderately not see Russell in any respect on Sunday after he and the Mercedes driver collided within the dash race on Saturday.

Can anybody sustain with Purple Bull? Sure, that’s a narrative line each week. No, nobody has completed it but.

Are their pursuers beginning to shut the hole? Ferrari is in pole place and can line up first and third. Lewis Hamilton, sounding recharged after a month off, adopted a podium end in Australia with a stable qualifying run in his Mercedes. Aston Martin’s ageless Fernando Alonso was proper close to the chief once more. Purple Bull’s dominance — three races, three victories — has been the story of the System 1 season, however did its pursuers put their break day to good use within the storage? Not so quick, stated Leclerc: “We’ll go for it, however we want additionally to be real looking, and till now we now have been on the again foot within the race. Particularly the Purple Bull appears to be a step forward, so let’s see how it’s.”

Look ahead to some ring rust. Pierre Gasly and Nyck De Vries each crashed in qualifying on Friday, and Yuki Tsunoda and Logan Sargeant did the identical on Saturday — a day when the actual sparks got here after Verstappen and Russell collided collectively in the course of the dash race. Was {that a} reflection of the tight angles on Baku’s avenue course, or the truth that that is the primary race in 4 weeks? It’s price watching Sunday for these form of split-second moments, which might spoil a day — or change a race — right away.

The largest speaking level of the weekend was the contact between George Russell and Max Verstappen on the primary lap of Saturday’s dash race, the place Russell put a gap within the aspect of Verstappen’s Purple Bull and Verstappen sounded as if he wished to do the identical to Russell.

Cameras caught their transient trade afterward, which started with Russell showing to shrug off the accident on account of chilly tires and ended with Verstappen issuing a warning that he would possibly return the favor in the future.

The verbal sparring continued within the drivers’ postrace interviews:

  • Verstappen: “I respect all of the drivers lots, and it’s a little bit of frequent sense as effectively what you do on the primary lap. They’re off the tempo and to danger that a lot in Lap 1 is just not very rewarding, as a result of I’ll get him anyway inside a couple of laps.”

  • Russell: “He’s received sufficient expertise to know that in case you’re attempting to overhaul a man on the skin there’s a danger the man on the within goes to run large into you.”

  • Verstappen: “He tells me, ‘Yeah, I received chilly tires.’ All of us have chilly tires. That’s not an excuse.”

  • Russell: “I’m right here to combat. I’m right here to win. I’m not simply going to wave him by as a result of he’s Max Verstappen in a Purple Bull.”

Outcomes of the third race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix on April 2:

Sergio Pérez received the 17-lap dash race on Saturday, selecting up factors that lower his deficit behind Verstappen, the chief within the season standings. Leclerc completed second, a consequence that greater than doubled his season factors complete. “One factor for certain,” he stated of his efficiency on Saturday. “It reveals how unhealthy the primary three races have been.”