Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton pulled all stops to produce a brilliant Azerbaijan GP Qualifying performance by claiming pole as Mercedes swept the first two positions with Valtteri Bottas finishing qualifying in the second spot. The Briton moved ahead of his idol Ayrton Senna with 66 poles and established his name in the F1 hall of fame. He is now only two behind legend Michael Schumacher's haul of 68 poles.
Hamilton's championship rival Sebastian Vettel failed to make any dramatic flashes in the entire qualifying and will now start fourth after he finished behind his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. The narrow turns of the Baku City Circuit proved to be a nightmare for drivers yet again, especially with Turn Eight - which measures a mere 7.8 metres in width - a site which led to two crashes.
It was a torrid day for Red Bull and especially Daniel Ricciardo, who crashed in Turn Six and was effectively ruled out of qualifying, but will now start in the tenth spot following his previous time. Max Verstappen managed to finish qualifying in fifth spot with a time of 1m 41.879s, edging sixth placed Sergio Perez, who jumped up with a time of 1m 42.111s as Esteban Ocon had to contend with seven after he failed to better his 1m 42.186s.
Meanwhile, Lance Stroll edged out his Williams teammate Felipe Massa, with 1m 42.753s to 1m 42.798s to finish eighth and ninth respectively. On the other hand, both McLarens will have to start from the back owing to multiple grid penalties for illegal use of additional Honda power unit elements
Where to watch live
The race starts at 2pm BST (Sunday) with Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports F1 HD providing live TV coverage. Real-time Internet updates are available on the Live Timing section of the sport's official website.
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – P1: "I made a mistake in the last corner. A lot of pressure because we have been struggling to get temperature in these tyres, we don't know if it's a one-lap tyre, so it was all or nothing. But the lap just got better and better throughout. I saw Valtteri ahead and I knew he was doing a good lap, but I came across... I remember coming down from the last corner and I was like "please be enough" and I'm ecstatic, I'm so happy.
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)– P2: "Yeah, disappointing obviously. I was going for the pole and just the lap in the end wasn't quite that perfect. I was struggling a lot with the front-left temperature. Yeah, Lewis had a good lap at that point and I didn't. Disappointing, but second place is not that bad."
Kimi Raikkonen(Ferrari) – P3: "Obviously it's better than where I was before, but it has been difficult with the tyres to switch them on and it's been a struggle every time. It either works a little bit better or not so good and luckily the last set was slightly more a better feeling, just on the warm-up side. Still not perfect but I think if you switch them on you can go a lot faster. Obviously we are close enough with Mercedes but I think it's a lot to do with how you switch on the tyres.
Top 10 results of qualifying session from Baku:
|5||MAX VERSTAPPEN||RED BULL RACING||1:41.879|
|6||SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA||1:42.111|
|7||ESTEBAN OCON||FORCE INDIA||1:42.186|
|10||DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING||1:43.414|