Charles Leclerc revealed his Azerbaijan Grand Prix Sprint Shootout crash came as a result of pushing on overheating tyres. The Ferrari driver’s mistake did not cost him Pole Position for the 100km sprint with Leclerc finishing the shortened version of qualifying on a 1:41.697, 0.153secs faster than second-placed Sergio Perez. The result means that Leclerc will start from the front for the sprint and grand prix, having earned his 19th career pole position on Friday. But Leclerc caused concern when losing the rear of his Ferrari at Turn 5 on his final run of SQ3, correcting the slide only to hit the barriers head-on. The Monegasque was able to return to the pits, however, with damage only to his front wing. “With the soft it was a little bit tricky because you get to SQ3 and we haven’t driven on these tyres since yesterday, it is not a long time ago but the conditions are different so it was behaving much differently,” explained Leclerc. “The rear overheated on the second lap, I tried to push a bit more to gain some lap time as I was behind my first best lap time and I lost it in Turn 5. “In the end it doesn’t have any consequence on qualifying – I don’t know about Carlos behind me, it is a shame if he was improving. “Happy with the first lap and now we have to confirm that in the race.” Ferrari needs to be on top Ferrari has struggled for performance in the opening three races but has roared back to life this weekend, with Leclerc targeting a sustained fight with Red Bull. Assessing his chances for the sprint, Leclerc said: “We will go for it but we need to be realistic and until now, we have been on the back foot in the race, Red Bull has been a step ahead. “Let’s see how it is, hopefully we have a good surprise. We have improved the car quite a bit but we will have more of an answer in the race and see where we are compared to them. “I will do everything for it, Ferrari needs to be on top and I will do everything to win.”

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