Hamilton snatches Baku pole from Bottas

Updated: 

Lewis Hamilton snatched pole from under the nose of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in a dramatic conclusion to qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

A red flag with little more than three minutes of Q3 remaining interrupted the session with Bottas topping the timesheets ahead of his colleague.

The drivers soon re-emerged in a desperate bid to improve on their laps in the time that remained and, moments after Bottas had crossed the line to take the chequered flag that signalled the end of the session, Hamilton appeared in his wing mirrors to complete a stunning quick lap that earned him a 66th pole, moving beyond Ayrton Senna and within two of record-holder Michael Schumacher on the all-time list.

An added bonus for Hamilton will be that Ferrari struggled to match the pace of the two Silver Arrows and championship leader Sebastian Vettel had to settle for fourth, behind team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Max Verstappen failed to reproduce the kind of performance that saw him top both practice sessions on Friday and the Red Bull man will start fifth.

Daniel Ricciardo was responsible for the red flag after losing the back end of his Red Bull on the exit of turn six and qualifies 10th, while the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon went quicker than Williams duo Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa.

For Stroll, it is the first time he has outqualified team-mate Massa.

Both McLarens were eliminated in Q1 but will start from the back of the grid due to engine penalties, while Jolyon Palmer is likely to start from the pit lane after an engine fire in FP3 scuppered his hopes of taking part in qualifying.

 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:40.593s
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:41.027s
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:41.693s
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:41.841s
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:41.879s
6. Sergio Perez (Force India) 1:42.111s
7. Esteban Ocon (Force India) 1:42.186s
8. Lance Stroll (Williams) 1:42.753s
9. Felipe Massa (Williams) 1:42.798s
10. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:43.414s