Mercedes Lewis Hamilton takes pole position ahead of teammate Valterri Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen as Williams Lance Stroll out-qualifies teammate Felipe Massa for the first time this season.
Q1 starts and Nico Hulkenberg is the first driver out on track. His first time of a 1:47:341 is not accounted for as the lap times tumble as Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso both go faster. The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are next on a 1:43:750 and a 1:44:480. Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are next on a 1:43:419, 1:42:384 and a 1:43:123. Like other qualifying sessions this year, Mercedes and Ferrari look to be taking one extra lap to warm up their tyres to an optimal range unlike Red Bull and Williams
The times still tumble as Max Verstappen goes 2nd on a 1:142:544 with Lewis Hamilton going even quicker and is the only driver in the 1 minute 41s. With 5 minutes to go, Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen, Stoffel Vandoorne and Marcus Ericsson are in the drop-zone. Magnussen is the only driver able to get himself out of the drop-zone but by doing that has pushed Fernando Alonso into the drop-zone and out. Lewis Hamilton ends Q1 quickest ahead of Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen.
Out: Vandoorne – 19th, Ericsson – 18th, Grosjean – 17th and Alonso – 16th.
Q2 starts and Valterri Bottas emerges first. Bottas and Lewis Hamilton set their first lap times of a 1:47:119 and a 1:48:805. Meanwhile, Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen set their first times. Bottas goes to a 1:42:032 and Hamilton to a 1:41:992. Hamilton improves once again to go seven tenths quicker on a 1:41:275.
With 5 minutes to go, Carlos Sainz, Daniil Kvyat, Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg and Pascal Wehrlein are in the drop-zone. Kvyat is the only one to improve replacing his teammate of 11th place. Lewis Hamilton ends Q2 quickest ahead of Valterri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel.
Out: Wehrlein – 15th, Hulkenberg – 14th, Magnussen – 13th, Sainz – 12th and Kvyat – 11th.
Q3 starts and Daniel Ricciardo is the first driver out on track. Valterri Bottas crosses the line on a 1:41:274 with Lewis Hamilton matching Bottas in the first two sectors. Hamilton crosses the line and has lost two tenths to Bottas in the 3rd sector. Hamilton’s time of a 1:41:428 is a result of the Brit running wide at the exit of turn 16. Sebastian Vettel takes advantage of Baku’s run-off areas as he slightly locks-up going into turn 2. He spins the car around and carries on.
With 5 minutes to go, Valterri Bottas leads ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. Yellow flags are being shown and it’s a Red Bull with damage to it’s left-rear tyre. It’s Daniel Ricciardo. The session is red flagged and the replay shows Ricciardo losing the back end of the exit of turn 6 with the tyre making contact with barrier.
The session resumes with only 3 minutes and 33 seconds to go. Valterri Bottas is the first to cross the line and he goes quicker on a 1:41:027. There are now mistakes for Lewis Hamilton and he crosses the line to take provisional pole position on a 1:40:593. Kimi Raikkonen improves to a 1:41:693 beating Sebastian Vettel on a 1:41:841. Lance Stroll out-qualifies Williams teammate Felipe Massa for the first time this season.
Top 10: Ricciardo – 10th, Massa – 9th, Stroll – 8th, Ocon – 7th, Perez – 6th, Verstappen – 5th, Vettel – 4th, Raikkonen – 3rd, Bottas – 2nd and Hamilton – 1st.
1.Hamilton 2.Bottas 3.Raikkonen 4.Vettel 5.Verstappen 6.Perez 7.Ocon 8.Stroll 9.Massa 10.Ricciardo 11.Kvyat 12.Magnussen 13.Hulkenberg 14.Wehrlein 15.Sainz* 16.Grosjean 17.Ericsson 18.Vandoorne* 19.Alonso* 20.Palmer**
*Penalties applied to both McLaren cars of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne for changing various engine components and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz. Alonso took a 40 grid place penalty with Vandoorne taking a 35 grid place penalty. Sainz was given a 3 place grid penalty for the lap 1 crash at the Canadian GP.
**Not Time set in Q1 due to an hydraulic leak which lead to a fire during FP3 for Renault’s Jolyon Palmer.