Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Lewis Hamilton snatches pole from Valtteri Bottas in Baku

Turn 8 is proving a little too narrow for some at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton snatches pole from Valtteri Bottas in Baku
Damon Campbell | 26 June, 2017, 01:40

The qualifying session of the 2017 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku has ended, Trend news agency reports.

Despite improving on Friday's underwhelming performance, the British driver will be desperate to translate his improving form into qualifying after enjoying a practice sweep in Baku past year only to clip the barriers in qualifying and subsequently starting 10th on the grid.

Sebastian Vettel says he is "not worried" by the gap to Formula One rivals Mercedes in qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, despite finishing over a second off the pace.

Red Bull dominated Friday practice, with Max Verstappen topping both timesheets and Ricciardo finishing both in the top three, but they did not feature in the battle for pole with Verstappen fifth and Ricciardo 10th.

Force India took sixth and seventh with Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon respectively, with Williams directly behind as Lance Stroll, fresh from his first F1 points in Montreal, outpaced veteran team-mate Felipe Massa for the first time.

"In the end I'm disappointed to lose the pole position, as that was definitively the target for me today, but I'm really proud".

The quickest lap of Hamilton, which read 1min 40.593sec, came in the final seconds of the session following a red-flagged stoppage which turned the finale into a 3min 30sec showdown.

The British driver's 66th pole moved him one ahead of Ayrton Senna and just two behind Michael Schumacher's record of 68.

Bottas improved his time to post a 1:41.027, crossing the line just as the clock ticked down to zero, but Hamilton behind smashed that time by 0.434 seconds to go P1. It was a lot of pressure.

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"It was disappointing - I was going for the pole", Bottas said in parc ferme after qualifying. We've been struggling to get temperature into these tires, we don't know if it's a one-lap tire, so it was all or nothing, but the lap just got better and better throughout.

"The first lap I easily had the time, but I made a mistake in the last corner".

Toro Rosso failed to get either vehicle into the top ten for a second race running, while Renault and McLaren also endured a miserable session.

"Tomorrow is going to be a long hard race, but we are in the best position to start it". I was like, please be enough.

"The result is Ok but I'm not entirely happy", he said.

The chequered flag flew and Alonso, Grosjean, Ericsson, Vandoorne and Palmer were eliminated in Q1.

OUT: Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso), Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso), Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Nico Hulkenberg (Renault), Pascal Wehrlein (Sauber).

Both McLarens will start from the rear of the field on Sunday thanks to multiple grid penalties for use of additional Honda power unit elements, while Sainz will lose three grid spots for causing a collision last time out in Canada.

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