Lewis Hamilton claims his 66th Pole Position and leads a Mercedes 1-2 for the Baku GP

24 June 2017

In qualifying at the Baku circuit on Saturday, Lewis Hamilton claimed his 66th Pole Position of his career for the Azerbaijan GP ahead of his team mate Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen in a session that the battle between Mercedes, Ferrari and even Red Bull entered into its next stage.

The weekend went from bad to worse for Renault driver Jolyon Palmer was classified last in the session, without a lap time to his name. He sat out qualifying after a high-pressure fuel leak caused his Renault to cook itself during the early stages of practice three.
Let’s not forget to mention the McLaren-Honda drivers of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne. Firstly Alonso is set to drop to the rear of the grid thanks to his 40-place grid penalty for various engine component changes, which will elevate Romain Grosjean’s Haas and the second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson.

The other McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne was slowest of those that ran in qualifying, 0.235s adrift of Ericsson (and will also cop a hefty grid penalty) which includes five places for an unscheduled gearbox change after final practice.

Throughout the session, Lewis Hamiton entered the session struggling slightly after his performances on Friday but he managed to make it count when it mattered today. He was the only driver to lap under 1m42s in Q1 and was comfortably fastest with a single run in Q2 as well.

Hamilton did let Bottas get briefly ahead during the initial runs in Q3, after locking up and running wide at Turn 16 near the end of his quickest lap, before Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull hit the wall at the Turn 6 right-hander. The incident then brought out the red flags and spoiling a potentially faster lap for Hamilton.

That incident turned the session into a one flying lap dash once the wreckage was cleared and Hamilton pulled out a stunning effort on his final run to claim pole by almost half a second from Bottas.

Both Ferraris struggled in qualifying, with Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel taking to the escape road at Turn 3 during their first runs.

But it was Lewis Hamilton who claimed Pole Position for the Azerbaijan GP with a lap time of 1:40.593 ahead of Valtteri Bottas in second place who was 0.434 seconds behind him and ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in third place who was 1.100 seconds behind Hamilton.

Sebastian Vettel qualified in fourth place ahead of Max Verstappen in fifth place, Sergio Perez in sixth place, Esteban Ocon in seventh place, Lance Stroll in eighth place, Felipe Massa in ninth place and Daniel Ricciardo who rounded off the top ten finishers.

Danill Kvyat ended the session by qualifying in eleventh place ahead of Kevin Magnussen in twelfth place, Nico Hulkenberg in thirteenth place, Pascal Wehrlein in fourteenth place and Carlos Sainz Jr in fifteenth place.

As we head into the latter stages of the grid, Romain Grosjean ended the session in sixteenth place ahead of Marcus Ericsson in seventeenth place, Fernando Alonso in eighteenth place, Stoffel Vandoorne in nineteenth place and Jolyon Palmer in twentieth place.

The classification of Qualifying for the Azerbaijan GP is as follows:-

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1.40.593
2. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 0.434s
3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1.100s
4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1.248s
5. Max Verstappen, Red-Bull-TAG Heuer, 1.286s
6. Sergio Perez, Force India-Mercedes, 1.518s
7. Esteban Ocon, Force India-Mercedes, 1.593s
8. Lance Stroll, Williams-Mercedes, 2.160s
9. Felipe Massa, Williams-Mercedes, 2.205s
10. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull-TAG Heuer, 2.821s
11. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1.43.186
12. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, 1.43.796
13. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1.44.267
14. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber-Ferrari, 1.44.603
15. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 1.43.347
16. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, 1.44.468
17. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber-Ferrari, 1.44.795
18. Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda, 1.44.334*
19. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren-Honda, 1.45.030**
20. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, No Time Set

[*- Fernando Alonso has to take a 40 place grid penalty, **- Stoffel Vandoorne has to take a 30 place grid penalty].

Driving for Pleasure will be covering the Baku GP weekend with our race report alongside the latest news.

Sarah Jones- @jonesy_laaa