Very special! Leclerc becomes first Ferrari driver since Schumacher to earn four straight poles

Getty Images

Charles Leclerc described his fourth consecutive Formula One pole position as a "very special" accomplishment after becoming the first Ferrari driver since Michael Schumacher to achieve the feat.

Schumacher's streak of seven straight poles across the 2000 and 2001 seasons was the last time a driver for the Italian team started four or more successive races at the front of the grid.

Leclerc will now look to finish the job at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday as Ferrari eye a fourth straight victory.

However, a dominant Leclerc – who was over four-tenths of a second clear of the competition in Sochi despite making a mistake in the final sector - knows there is much work to be done at a circuit where Mercedes have never been beaten before.

"It definitely feels very, very special," Leclerc said of his qualifying achievement. "It feels great to be back on pole.

"But I don't really want to think about those stats for now. I just want to focus on the job. It's looking good at the moment but there's a long way to go on Sunday.

"The car felt amazing but I don't know if it's the best track to start on pole, the straight is very long after the start.

"The start is always very important but here it is arguably even more so than anywhere else because of the straight length."

Lewis Hamilton will also be on the front row of the grid after pipping Sebastian Vettel to second place by just 0.023 seconds with his last flying lap in Q3. Mercedes are poised to start on the medium tyres with Ferrari on the softs.

It was the ninth consecutive race Vettel - the winner after a controversial team strategy call in Singapore last time out - has been out-qualified by his team-mate Leclerc.

"Obviously I'm not entirely happy. I couldn't extract the maximum out of the car," said Vettel.

"It was a bit disruptive in Q1 but by the time we got to Q3 I thought it was OK. It's a long way to turn one and we're on a different tyre strategy to the Mercs so the race will be decided on Sunday.

"The speed is there so let's keep it up. Here, first you need a good start then you worry about the rest. There is potentially an advantage if you start from behind but let's see what happens."

Ferrari have not won four consecutive F1 races since 2008, while Mercedes have never gone as many races without winning in the hybrid era.