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Bottas beats Hamilton to pole position in Baku qualifying shoot-out!

Bottas beats Hamilton to pole position in Baku qualifying shoot-out!

27-04-2019 15:56
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Nicolás Quarles van Ufford

Valtteri Bottas has taken pole position ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday for Mercedes, beating his teammate Lewis Hamilton to it in the Q3 shoot-out as Sebastian Vettel completed the top three.

Ferrari were tipped to lock out the front row at the Baku City Circuit, but with Leclerc's massive shunt, Mercedes have found themselves in a good position to steal a win during the Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton qualified in second for the Silver Arrows, with the Brit holding off rival Vettel and Red Bull's Max Verstappen for third and fourth respectively. Verstappen's teammate Pierre Gasly had the quickest time in Q1 but has to start the race from the pitlane after not weighing in after FP2.

Apart from Leclerc's shunt, Q1 was also highlighted by a big hit for Robert Kubica at the end, with the Pole causing a red flag by barrelling into the wall at turn 8.

Q1

The first of the three qualifying sessions saw multiple lock-ups and temporary yellow flags, as has been the theme in the Free Practice sessions. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hülkenberg locked up at turn three and needed to use the run-off area to save their cars, while Daniel Ricciardo also had a big lock-up at turn 15 on his hot lap.

Pierre Gasly, who will start tomorrow's race from the pitlane after ignoring a weigh-in, topped the timesheet with a neat 1:41.335. Leclerc closely followed, with both Mercedes cars, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel several tenths behind. A big confidence booster for Gasly, even if it doesn't matter.

At the very end of the session, a red flag was waved, with Robert Kubica hitting the wall hard at turn 8. The Pole rode the kerb on the inside too hard, making him lose control of his FW42 and ramming into the wall. He was out of Q2 anyway, as he set the slowest lap of the session, but it will mean a lot of overnight work for the Williams mechanics.

Joining the two FW42's in elimination are Hülkenberg, who was a full second slower than teammate Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean and Lance Stroll, who again failed to get out of Q1 for Racing Point.

Q2

The second session of the three was on the halfway mark when it all went wrong for Leclerc. At the same turn where Kubica binned it in Q1, the Monegasque locked up and missed the corner, slamming into the same barrier where the Pole totalled his FW42. Leclerc was the absolute favourite for pole position in Baku, making the blow for him and for Ferrari even bigger.

When the session got going again, the track had cooled down even more, making the conditions very tricky.

Gasly didn't bother setting a time as he'll start from the pitlane anyway, while his teammate Verstappen was the quickest driver this time, beating Vettel and the Mercedes cars to it.

At the bottom, Lando Norris and Daniil Kvyat did very well to make it into Q3, while their teammates Carlos Sainz and Alexander Albon couldn't make the cut, nor could Kevin Magnussen and Ricciardo. No Haas cars in Q3 for the first time this season.

Q3

This Q3 felt like anyone's for the taking, more than any other Saturday. With track conditions all over the place, it felt like whoever nailed that final lap would get the spoils.

Hamilton drew first blood with a rapid 1:40.703, three-tenths quicker than the rest. Verstappen was second, Vettel third, Bottas fourth.

The second and final run was a spectacular one. Verstappen and Perez stayed in, but the rest were all going for it.

Vettel improved but not enough, but Bottas did. He pipped Hamilton and snatched pole position right in front of him, his second pole position of the season and the eighth of his career. With Leclerc and Gasly starting further back, it should make for an excellent race.

Sergio Pérez, the only man to have stood on the Baku podium twice, qualified fifth for Racing Point, beating the midfield.

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