Mercedes showed their strength when needed and took advantage of Ferrari’s problems to secure the front row.
In a troubled session, interrupted by two long red flags, Valtteri Bottas surprised by securing pole position for the Azerbaijan GP, 59 thousandths ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes duo did not appear at the front in any of the free practice or first qualifying sessions, but in Q3 they took advantage of the vacuum of other cars to dominate the front row of the grid.
The disappointment of Qualifying was Charles Leclerc who, after leading every free practice session in Baku, crashed heavily in Q2 and will have to start only in 10th place. Ferrari was left to fight with Sebastian Vettel for pole, but 3rd was the maximum for the German.
As well as on Friday, the middle pack saw surprises at the top. Sergio Perez will start in 5th place, followed by Daniil Kvyat and Lando Norris. The two teams that dominated the group, Renault and Haas, disappointed. Ricciardo, Magnussen and Grosjean were no more than Q2, while Hulkenberg left the session in Q1.
Grid to start the Azerbaijan Grand Prix
|1) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1:40.495|
|2) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:40.554|
|3) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||1:40.797|
|4) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:41.069|
|5) Sergio Perez||Racing Point||1:41.593|
|6) Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:41.681|
|7) Lando Norris||McLaren||1:41.886|
|8) Antonio Giovinazzi*||Alfa Romeo||1:42.424|
|9) Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1:43.068|
|10) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||No time|
|Out in Q2|
|11) Carlos Sainz||McLaren||1:42.398|
|12) Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||1:42.477|
|13) Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso||1:42.494|
|14) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||1:42.699|
|15) Pierre Gasly**||Red Bull||No time|
|Out in Q1|
|16) Lance Stroll||Racing Point||1:42.630|
|17) Romain Grosjean||Haas||1:43.407|
|18) Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||1:43.427|
|19) George Russell||Williams||1:45.062|
|20) Robert Kubica||Williams||1:45.455|
|*10 place grid penalty|
Source: Sky Sports F1