Max Verstappen will start the Azerbaijan Grand Prix from second after being narrowly beaten by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in a dramatic qualifying session. The Dutchman had looked on course to take top spot with both drivers setting identical lap times on their opening runs, only for Leclerc to break Red Bull’s early-season monopoly over F1 and complete a hat-trick of Baku poles. But the session was far from straightforward for two-time World Champion Verstappen, who was under the threat of an investigation from the FIA over a loose headrest. Verstappen had radioed his team during a red flag period in Q1 to complain that he felt like he was lying down, asking for his headrest to be checked. A note from race control followed to confirm Verstappen was under investigation for being released “in an unsafe condition”, though a follow-up message confirmed no punishment would go the Red Bull driver’s way. The sport’s governing body subsequently explained the process that saw Verstappen and his team cleared of wrongdoing, despite the headrest flapping around a lap of the Baku City Circuit. A review of footage determined that ‘it was evident’ the headrest was correctly fitted by the Red Bull mechanics before Verstappen made his way onto the track before being broken, with the FIA, therefore, deeming no investigation was necessary.

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