Sebastian Vettel put his Ferrari on the pole for the third consecutive time on Saturday afternoon, recording a 1:41:498 best time ahead of both Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix at Baku.
Vettel afterward speaking to Sky sports made it very simple about his third front row start.
“Fortunately that was enough,” he said.
Vettel himself set the time right in the middle of the final session, and not even the two Mercedes rivers could get close to him. But Vettel’s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, was just the opposite. The Finn had already been quickest in the first two sessions and was on course for an opportunity to not just be on the front row with Vettel but overtake him and win his first pole in a very long time.
Raikkonen was very quick in the first two sections, but when he approached the 15th turn, he ran too quickly and slid his back end coming out of the corner, losing a second. The slide ruined his run and he’ll line up sixth on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
The American Haas F1 team did not fare well in Baku, as Romain Grosjean encountered a gearbox failure and ran off the road at Turn 5. His teammate, Kevin Magnussen, ended up better, but could not advance any farther than 15th. The two Toro Rossos of Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley nearly collided at turn 15 in the opening session, but luckily the Frenchman just swerved Hartley, who was slowing down on the narrow straight after suffering a puncture. Both drivers did not advance into session two. McLaren did not have a great session in Baku either, as both Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso exited in the first and second sessions, respectively.
The two Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen took fourth and fifth, while Esteban Ocon and his teammate, Sergio Perez, finished seventh and eighth. The two Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. continued the two by two trend by taking ninth and 10th, but Hulkenberg will be penalized five grid positions on race day due to a gearbox change.