Charles Leclerc has picked up a second successive pole position for Ferrari to get fans dreaming again after almost two years without a win.
Since Sebastian Vettel last won a race for Ferrari in Singapore in September 2019, the side have struggled, with Leclerc now their best shot at victory.
With two victories under his belt, but both dating back to 2019, Leclerc secured pole for the Azerbaijan GP to indicate that his strong recent form could continue.
It came in somewhat controversial circumstances, with some accusing Leclerc of “stealing” pole, given that a red flag meant that Lewis Hamilton only had one flying lap.
“I mean, it looked positive anyway. I think without the tow we would have been thereabouts, but this helped us a little bit,” Leclerc confessed after the qualifying session.
“I saw that Lewis [Hamilton] was having a prep lap so I tried to anticipate a little bit, more or less, the gap that I would need for him to give me the tow when he would start his lap.
“And I got it right. A little bit of luck, a little bit of thinking behind it, but probably a bit more luck.”
What will really make the difference is when the Monaco-born driver can start to turn pole positions into victories.
“It’s going to be very difficult to keep the first place,” Leclerc predicted ahead of Sunday’s Azerbaijan GP.
“Here in Baku it’s very easy to overtake, so yeah, it’s going to be tricky.”
Leclerc is currently sixth in the Drivers’ Championship for this year, two points ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz Jr, while Ferrari sit fourth in the Constructors Standings.
That is a significant improvement for the Italian team, who dropped as low as sixth in 2020, with McLaren and Renault climbing above them.