Nico Rosberg on pole in Baku as Lewis Hamilton crashes out of qualifying
Nico Rosberg claimed the first ever Formula 1 pole position at the Baku street circuit as his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton crashed out of the f...
Nico Rosberg claimed the first ever Formula 1 pole position at the Baku street circuit as his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton crashed out of the final segment of qualifying.
Both Mercedes drivers were under pressure to put in a representative times late on in Q3 and Hamilton, who had already taken to the escape road at Turn 15 in both of the previous parts of the session, clipped the wall at Turn 9, which broke his Mercedes front right suspension and he pulled over a few corners later.
Rosberg crossed the line to set a best time of 1m42.758s just moments before the red flags were brought out so the marshals could recover Hamilton’s stricken car.
The session restarted with just over two minutes remaining on the clock and as the other eight Q3 participants rushed to get out, Rosberg opted to remain in his pit garage and his third pole of 2016 was confirmed a few minutes later.
Speaking after the session, Rosberg said: “It was great. It was one of the more challenging sessions out there, but yeah everything worked out well.
“There was a bit of reorganising because, for example, in quali three, Lewis had an off in front of me so I had to abort that lap and then I just had one more attempt at the end, but that worked out fine. I’m very, very happy. It was great.
“I’m really pleased with that because all weekend we’ve been building towards it and in qualifying [the car] was really optimum. It felt good.”
Sergio Perez qualified second fastest but the Force India driver will lose five places on the grid tomorrow as he needed a gearbox change before qualifying after crashing heavily at Turn 15 at the end of FP3.
Daniel Ricciardo finished third on a 1m43.966s, exactly the same time as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, but the Red Bull driver will start ahead as he set the time first in the final moments of Q3.
Kimi Raikkonen was fifth fastest in the second Ferrari, with Felipe Massa sixth for Williams and Daniil Kvyat seventh for Toro Rosso.
Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen twice came to close to touching in Q3 and they ended up qualifying eighth and ninth for Williams and Red Bull respectively.
Hamilton’s crash meant he did not set a full flying lap in Q3 and he therefore finished tenth, but the superiority of his Mercedes’ power unit performance means he should be able to make progress in the race tomorrow.
Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean ended up 11th fastest, just one tenth away from making it through Q3, with Nico Hulkenberg 12th for Force India. The German driver had been rapid throughout practice but he spun early in Q2 and failed to improve late on, with his engineer telling him there was “no fuel and no time” to do another run when he came on the radio in the dying seconds of the mini-session.
Carlos Sainz qualified 13th for Toro Rosso, just ahead of his compatriot Fernando Alonso, who complained about traffic over his team radio after qualifying 14th for McLaren.
Esteban Gutierrez finished 15th in the second Haas, just ahead of Felipe Nasr, who made it through to Q2 for Sauber for the first time since the Chinese Grand Prix back in April.
Manor drivers Rio Haryanto and Pascal Wehrlein finished 17th and 18th and were the top placed drivers to be knocked out in Q1 as they enjoyed the full benefit of their Mercedes engines on Baku’s 1.4-mile main straight.
Jenson Button bailed out of his final lap, angrily telling his McLaren team “it’s not happening”. The British driver failed to make it out of the first segment of qualifying for the first time in 2016 and he will start 19th.
Marcus Ericsson, who encountered traffic early in Q1 and then slapped the barriers later on without sustaining damage, improved to 20th with his final lap for Sauber, which relegated the Renault’s Kevin Magnussen and his teammate Jolyon Palmer to the back row in 21st and 22nd.
European Grand Prix qualifying results:
1 Nico Rosberg, Mercedes 1m42.758s
2 Sergio Perez, Force India 1m43.515s +0.757s
3 Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull 1m43.966s +1.208s
4 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari 1m43.966s +1.208s
5 Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 1m44.269s +1.511s
6 Felipe Massa, Williams 1m44.483s +1.725s
7 Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso 1m44.717s +1.959s
8 Valtteri Bottas, Williams 1m45.246s +2.488s
9 Max Verstappen, Red Bull 1m45.570s +2.812s
10 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 2m01.954s +19.196s
11 Romain Grosjean, Haas 1m44.755s
12 Nico Hulkenberg, Force India 1m44.824s
13 Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso 1m45.000s
14 Fernando Alonso, McLaren 1m45.270s
15 Esteban Gutierrez, Haas 1m45.349s
16 Felipe Nasr, Sauber 1m46.048s
17 Rio Haryanto, Manor 1m45.665s
18 Pascal Wehrlein, Manor 1m45.750s
19 Jenson Button, McLaren 1m45.804s
20 Marcus Ericsson, Sauber 1m46.231s
21 Kevin Magnussen, Renault 1m46.348s
22 Jolyon Palmer, Renault 1m46.394sWhat did you make of qualifying for the European Grand Prix? Are you expecting an exiting race tomorrow? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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