In a last minute attempt, Lewis Hamilton has grabbed pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix from teammate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
The Briton described it as “one of the most exciting laps I’ve had all year. A lot of pressure – it was all or nothing.” He was lying in second behind his teammate with three and a half minutes remaining when the red flag came out for Daniel Ricciardo who had smashed the rear right of his car coming out of corner six.
Once the session got back underway, it wasn’t expected that that many drivers would improve due to the lack of time remaining in the session, and how long it would take to heat the tyres up. Despite that all remaining nine drivers improved their times, to form the grid for tomorrow’s race.
Championship leader, Sebastian Vettel was in position six as the red flag came out and was down to ninth before he completed his final lap in the final part of qualifying. However, he recovered to fourth despite having a problem in FP3 which meant he had to re-use his first engine from the season.
Max Verstappen who had dominated Friday running could only manage fifth in the end, just ahead of the two Force Indias, with Ocon managing his best qualifying result of the saeson so far. Another man who had his best qualifying of the saeson so far is Lance Stroll who will line up in eighth, getting into Q3 and out qualifying his teammate for the first time this season.
Following his incident, Ricciardo will line up tenth, barring any penalties ahead of former teammate Daniil Kvyat. Carlos Sainz qualified in twelfth but will drop to 15th tomorrow after causing the accident with Romain Grosjean and Felipe Massa at the start of the Canadian Grand Prix two weeks ago. This will promote Magnussen, Hulkenberg and Wehrlein to 12th, 13th and 14th respectively.
Alonso was pushed out of Q1 right at the death as he ran wide before heading onto the 2.2km front straight, however wherever he and McLaren teammate would qualify wouldn’t matter as both drivers had 35 and 40 place penalties. This then promotes Grosjean to 16th, Ericsson to 17th and Palmer, who didn’t even start qualifying due to a fire early on in FP3, to 18th.
The 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix gets underway at 17:00 Local Time (13:00 UTC) tomorrow.