Max Verstappen warns Charles Leclerc at Azerbaijan GP after Ferrari take brilliant pole

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Max Verstappen has fired a warning to Charles Leclerc despote Ferrari taking pole at the Azerbaijan Grand prix. The Dutchman claimed Red Bull have a ‘good opportunity’ for tomorrow and stressed his car was ‘quite good’ despite lacking pace over a flying lap.

He said: “I think the start of the lap was good then it went away from me a little bit.Tiny mistakes but in generally just struggling a bit to find front to rear balance over one lap so not of course what I want but still as a team in second and third we have a good opportunity for tomorrow.

“I think, overall, we seem to lack a tiny bit over one lap but clearly our car should normally be quite good.” Team principal Christian Horner was also confident the team could give Ferrari a ‘hard time’ come race day tomorrow. 

Leclerc secured pole as he set a time two-tenths faster than Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. Verstappen was quick enough for third, a further tenth of a second behind. 

The reigning champion has appeared to lack the space of his team-mate all weekend with Perez topping him across all the free practice sessions this weekend. Leclerc admitted he is aware of the Red Bull threat, claiming he thought Perez and Verastappen would be ‘stronger’ heading into qualifying. 

However, he has not written off Ferrari’s chances of securing victory in tomorrow’s race.

He explained: “It feels good! This one, obviously all pole positions feel good, but this one I probably did not expect it. I thought Red Bull were stronger, especially in Q1 and Q2 I really struggled to see that we were faster.

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“Then in the last lap everything came together and I managed to do a good lap so I’m extremely happy. I’m really excited for tomorrow. Tyre management is a big thing here. In Barcelona and Monaco we managed it well even though Monaco was difficult to see anything. 

“Overall our race pace has done a step-up since we brought the upgrades so tomorrow will be very interesting to see if it’s the case here too.”

Perez was frustrated he did not emjoy the benefit of a tow after his car suffered some issues ahead of the session, but stressed he was looking foirward to seeing what the team could do in the race tomorrow.

He said: “It was not an ideal qualifying because at the end we had a problem with the engine and we couldn’t turn it on. So, I was basically on my own and that’s very powerful around here.

“Tomorrow it’s a very long race, we just have to make sure that we’re there. At any point you can make a mistake, so that’s it.”

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