Baku, June 11: Charles Leclerc stormed to pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, surprising himself by getting the better of the Red Bulls.
Leclerc produced a sensational final lap in Baku to become the first Ferrari driver since Michael Schumacher in 2001 to record six pole positions in the first eight races of a season.
He was almost three tenths of a second faster than Sergio Perez, who pipped team-mate Max Verstappen to a place on the front row.
"It feels good. Obviously all poles feel good, but this one I did not expect because in Q1 and Q2 I really struggled to see that we could be faster," said Leclerc.
"In the last lap everything came together and I managed to do good, so I'm extremely happy.
"I'm really excited for [the race]. Tyre management is a big thing here. In Barcelona and Monaco we were managing it well but overall our race pace has gone a step up since we brought in the upgrades."
Championship leader Verstappen was disappointed to miss out on a place on the front row but is confident Red Bull will be able to challenge for the win on Sunday.
"I think the start was good, then it went away from me a little bit with tiny mistakes," said Verstappen.
"It's not ideal but in general I was just struggling to find balance over one lap. It's not what I want but being second and third the team has a good opportunity.
"We'll find out tomorrow, but we maybe seem to lack a bit of pace over one lap but in the long run we should be quite good."
Perez, who experienced an issue in the garage in Q3, said: "On the first run of Q3 is when you go all out. I hit the wall a couple of times – luckily we managed to survive, which is the key here.
"We had a problem with the engine at the end, we couldn't turn it on. We lost a few tenths, but I think Charles has done a very good job.
"It's a very long race ahead, so we just have to make sure we are there. You can make a mistake at any point and that's it."
Lewis Hamilton could only qualify seventh and was facing an investigation for driving unnecessarily slowly in Q2.
1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1:41.359 2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0.282s 3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.347s 4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +0.455s 5. George Russell (Mercedes) +1.353s 6. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +1.486s 7. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +1.565s 8. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) +1.697s 9. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +1.732s 10. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +1.814s