Azerbaijan GP: Vettel beats Mercedes duo to pole

Azerbaijan GP: Vettel beats Mercedes duo to pole
Edd Straw
By: Edd Straw
Apr 28, 2018, 2:08 PM

Sebastian Vettel claimed his third consecutive Formula 1 pole position in qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso STR13 Honda
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14 Tag Heuer
Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso STR13 Honda
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-18 Ferrari
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C37 Ferrari
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL33
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team VF-18 Ferrari
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team R.S. 18
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL33 Renault

The Ferrari driver's first run in the Q3 top 10 shootout was good enough to secure pole position by 0.179s from Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton after a lock-up spoiled his second attempt.

But in the dying seconds of the session, it seemed the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen was set for pole position having set the fastest times of all in the first two sectors.

He threw away that time by being too aggressive on the throttle out of the Turn 16 left-hander, which led to him losing enough time that he did not improve on his first run time.

This put Raikkonen down in sixth place, behind Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas and the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

Five of the top six will start on the supersoft Pirellis, having used them to set their times in Q2, the exception being Raikkonen who locked up on his flying lap and set his time on his second run using ultrasofts.

Ricciardo appeared to benefit from a tow from Raikkonen to pip his teammate by less than a tenth of a second.

Esteban Ocon performed strongly throughout qualifying to end up as best of the rest in seventh, a second off the pace, and just ahead of Force India teammate Sergio Perez.

Nico Hulkenberg was ninth fastest, although has to serve a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change and will hand the position to Renault teammate Carlos Sainz.

Lance Stroll came close to knocking Ricciardo out in Q2 with his late lap, which was just 0.103s slower than the Red Bull driver's supersoft pace and good enough for 11th.

That put him three tenths clear of Williams teammate Sergey Sirotkin, who survived an investigation into impeding Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson in Q1 without any action being taken.

Fernando Alonso was 13th for McLaren, having been shuffled down from ninth place after the first runs despite improving on his second set of ultrasofts.


Sauber's Charles Leclerc was 14th, while Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was just under seven tenths down in 15th place after lapping over a second slower than he had in Q1.

Stoffel Vandoorne was the quickest driver to be eliminated in Q1 thanks to Stroll's late lap of 1m44.359s, which was 0.130s quicker than the McLaren driver.

That also relegated Pierre Gasly to 17th after the Frenchman's second run was ruined by an incident with Toro Rosso teammate Brendon Hartley.

Hartley was circulating slowly with a puncture at Turn 14 when Gasly happened upon him at the fast left-hand kink while on a lap that looked quick enough to get him into Q2.

Gasly just managed to swerve around the right side of Hartley and narrowly avoid contact, but he mounted the outside kerb and ended up in the Turn 15 escape road before returning to the pits – labelling what happened "unacceptable" over the radio.

"I was trying to get out of the way of Gasly but it was too late," said Hartley over the radio. "I feel pretty stupid about Gasly."

Hartley had to abandon his quick lap from the first run, and did not have time to have another run after his puncture so ended up down in 19th behind Ericsson having not set a serious lap time.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean was 20th having not set a time thanks to stopping with a gearbox problem early in Q1.

1 germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 1'41.498  
2 united_kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 1'41.677 0.179
3 finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 1'41.837 0.339
4 australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 1'41.911 0.413
5 netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 1'41.994 0.496
6 finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 1'42.490 0.992
7 france Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 1'42.523 1.025
8 mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 1'42.547 1.049
9 germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 1'43.066 1.568
10 spain Carlos Sainz  Renault Renault 1'43.351 1.853
11 canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 1'43.585 2.087
12 russia Sergey Sirotkin  Williams Mercedes 1'43.886 2.388
13 spain Fernando Alonso  McLaren Renault 1'44.019 2.521
14 monaco Charles Leclerc  Sauber Ferrari 1'44.074 2.576
15 denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 1'44.759 3.261
16 belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Renault 1'44.489 2.991
17 france Pierre Gasly  Toro Rosso Honda 1'44.496 2.998
18 sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 1'45.541 4.043
19 new_zealand Brendon Hartley  Toro Rosso Honda 1'57.354 15.856
20 france Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari    
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Azerbaijan GP
Location Baku City Circuit
Author Edd Straw
Article type Qualifying report