Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel scores 53rd career pole ahead of Baku Grand Prix
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News April 28, 2018 Updated: 4:25 AM PT
BAKU, Azerbaijan — Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel grabs pole position number 53 ahead of Lewis Hamilton The stage is set for another battle between the two world champions after both men failed to make the podium two weeks ago in China.
As many struggled for grip on the streets of Baku, Vettel appeared to have found some pace despite making a small mistake during his final run in Q3 finishing 0.179s ahead of Hamilton in second and teammate Valtteri Bottas in third.
“I think it will be an intense race. Here, anything can happen, safety cars are very likely. The good point is that our car was really good this afternoon, so we should be in a good place tomorrow,” Vettel said.
Daniel Ricciardo who won last years Baku Grand Prix took fourth. Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen finished fifth after having a rough start to the weekend with a small crash in Friday’s practice. Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen was on a strong flying lap for a possible pole but a mistake at Turn 16 in the closing minutes of Q3 lead him to finish sixth.
Force India drivers Esteban Ocon and teammate Sergio Perez will occupy the fourth row in seventh and eighth followed by the Renault’s of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz in ninth and tenth.
However, Hulkenberg will move down five places after receiving a penalty for a gearbox change and will start from 14th.
With Hulkenberg’s penalty shifting those outside the top time, this will now promote Lance Stroll and teammate Sergey Sirotkin to tenth and 11th. The team did an amazing job repairing Sirotkin’s FW41 after he crashed during the final practice session.
Fernando Alonso will enjoy a bump up the grid from 13th to 12th. Sauber rookie Charles Leclerc, who already an impressive run and qualified 14th, will move to 13th for tomorrow's race.
While thing’s looked promising for Haas at the start of the weekend, the American team were unable carry that momentum into qualifying with Kevin Magnussen finishing 15th and teammate Romain Grosjean starting from the back of the grid after suffering a gearbox failure during his run in Q1. Alonso’s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne will start tomorrow’s race 16th in the second McLaren.
Toro Rosso drivers Pierre Gasly and Brendon Harley had a dicey moment when the two drivers made light contact on the way down to Turn 15.
Gasley, who was on a fast lap run, was caught off guard on the run down to Turn 15 by his teammate who was nursing his car back to the pits after suffering a puncture. After the near miss, Gasly would go one to finish 17th.
Leclerc’s teammate Marcus Ericsson will start 18th with Brendon Hartley, who after near colliding with his teammate and dealing with his puncture was only able to score 19th on the grid.