Lewis Hamilton stormed to pole position at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after topping all preliminary qualifying rounds on Saturday. The triple world champion qualified 0.434 secs ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
The second row has been claimed by both Ferrari drivers; Kimi Raikkonen got the third spot while Vettel came in 4th.
Ahead of qualifying, the German had his engine changed with a used unit, which lacked in horsepower compared to Raikkonen’s power unit.
The session was brought to a halt due to Daniel Ricciardo’s incident in turn 2. The Australian driver lost the rear and hit the wall, which caused him to stall on track.
After his car was recovered, the remaining drivers were left with just 3m33s to improve their laptimes.
Max Verstappen will start fifth next to Sergio Perez, who maximised Force India’s potential to beat both Williams. Esteban Ocon opens the fourth row alongside Lance Stroll, the Canadian impressing throughout the session and outshining teammate Felipe Massa, who will start 9th.
Hamilton utterly dominated Q2 and was 0.2 secs clear of teammate Bottas, who improved in the closing minute. The Ferrari-Red Bull contention got tight as Vettel finished third ahead of Verstappen and Raikkonen in fifth preceded Ricciardo. Stroll impressed in P7, while Massa stood ninth.
oth Force Indias passed through Q3 and outqualified the Toro Rosso drivers. Daniil Kvyat lost power in the final stages, which prevented him from setting a top 10-worthy lap and was eliminated ahead of Carlos Sainz, Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg and Pascal Wehrlein.
The first segment was conquered by Hamilton setting a 1.41.983. Verstappen stood second, confirming the strong showing from Red Bull in Baku. Raikkonen ended in P3 ahead of Ricciardo and Kvyat.
Vettel, due to the horsepower lack of his engine, set the 6th best laptime followed by Bottas and the Force India drivers. Williams showed promise, whereas McLaren-Honda faced a double debacle.
Alonso, who has been handed a 40-place-penalty, aborted his last attempt to get through after being held up by Daniel Ricciardo. The Spaniard was eliminated alongside Romain Grosjean, Marcus Ericsson, Stoffel Vandoorne and Jolyon Palmer. The Renault driver was unable to take part in the qualifying session due to the engine failure experienced in FP3.
Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein qualified to Q2 taking advantage from Alonso’s lap interruption.
by Beatrice Zamuner