Hamilton flies to pole in Baku
Lewis Hamilton won the pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at Baku City Circuit what is his 5th pole position this year and 66th in his career. The Mercedes driver dominated over the qualifying but had to put a lot of effort in the last minutes of the session.
Hamilton was the fastest in the first qualifying round – 1:41.983 – what was more than 0.5s better than the result of his nearest rival Max Verstappen. Jolyon Palmer missed out the qualifying session after his Renault went on fire during the third Free Practice while four drivers who failed to qualify for Q2 were Stoffel Vandoorne, Marcus Ericsson, Romain Grosjean, and Fernando Alonso.
The Mercedes driver continued to impress in Q2. With lap time 1:41.275 Hamilton again was the fastest on the track, leaving his teammate Valtteri Bottas 0.227s behind. On the other side, Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz Jr, Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg, and Pascal Wehrlein were eliminated from the last qualifying round at Baku City Circuit.
In the Top 10 Shootout, Bottas was fastest until the very last second. The Finn topped the standings in the moment when Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull stopped on the track with 3.33 minutes to go. The session was red-flagged and when it was drivers had time just for one flying lap. At the end, Hamilton was able to set the new fastest lap – 1:40.593 – and won the pole position ahead of his teammate.
Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel will start from the second row on Sunday but Ferrari was significantly slower than Mercedes. Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez will occupy the third row while Esteban Ocon, Lance Stroll, Felipe Massa, and Daniel Ricciardo will be on starting positions from 7 to 10.
The start of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix is on Sunday, 15:00 CET.