A thrilling qualifying session full of incidents and interruptions ended up with all four Honda-powered cars in the top seven on the grid in Azerbaijan.
Following a small off in FP3 that saw him miss the second half of the final practice session, Max was straight back down to business as he set the fastest time early on when qualifying started. Sergio joined him at the top of the times as the session was interrupted by two red flags, with Q1 restarting with just nine minutes remaining when half of the grid - including the Scuderia AlphaTauri pair - had yet to set a lap time.
Despite Q1 eventually stretching to a full 40 minutes, both Pierre and Yuki put in good laps after the red flag delays to ensure they progressed into the second part of qualifying.
There was to be more drama in Q2 but both Honda-powered teams had prepared well for it, with Max and Sergio sitting first and second for Red Bull Racing in an extremely tight session and Pierre also inside the top ten, Yuki went early for his second run and got a clean lap in, securing fourth place and within 0.029s of the fastest time.
That proved crucial, as a crash for Daniel Ricciardo saw the session ended early due to another red flag, preventing any more improvements and seeing all four advance into Q3 for the first time this season. It also marked the first time a Japanese driver has made it through to Q3 since Kamui Kobayashi at Suzuka back in 2012.
Into the final part of qualifying and the battle was on for pole position with a number of teams, with slipstreaming crucial to quick times. After the first runs, Max was third and Sergio seventh after giving his team-mate a tow, and then AlphaTauri again ran out of sequence. With Yuki running ahead on track, Pierre picked up the tow and went fourth, with Yuki eighth.
Unfortunately that’s how the session ended as Yuki then crashed at Turn 3 on his final attempt trying to improve, bringing out the red flag and preventing any further improvements.
Post-session, Lando Norris was handed a three-place grid penalty for a Red Flag infringement. His penalty means Sergio and Yuki move forward one place on the grid tomorrow, starting 6th and 7th.