Azerbaijan GP: Red flags galore as Mercedes manage a lockout

Valtteri Bottas secured a surprising pole position ahead of Hamilton in Baku today as Leclerc crashed in Q2.

Despite coming into the qualifying session as a front row hopeful, Charles Leclerc only managed 10th after locking up at turn 8 and making contact with the wall. He called the accident ‘stupid’ and said he deserved what happened to him.

Bottas took the top spot ahead of Hamilton in an odd move by Mercedes. During their final run, they decided to pull over at the pit exit and let all of the other cars pass, with the idea being they both got tow. While this worked for the Finn, it hindered Lewis who did not improve enough to take pole and ended up second.

Vettel pushed through the traffic to make the most of clear air since he did not have a teammate to swap slipstream with at this point and took third.

Red Bull’s Verstappen only had one run in Q3 and ended up fourth, nearly three tenths behind Vettel.

Perez managed fifth, followed by Kvyat and Norris.

Giovinazzi beat Raikkonen in the inter-team battle at Alfa Romeo, but must serve a 10 place grid penalty for changing power unit control electronics earlier in the weekend.

Sainz starts 11th, ahead of Ricciardo and Albon, who clipped the wall late in Q2.

Magnussen took 14th after locking up and taking the escape road on his final run.

Gasly who was initially the fastest in Q1, albeit with huge tow from Stroll’s car on the final sector, will start from the pitlane after missing the weighbridge during FP2.

Stroll carried on a poor run of form and was eliminated in Q1 yet again, he is now the driver with the longest active Q1 elimination streak, not a stat to be proud of!

Haas’ Grosjean ended 17th with Hulkenberg and Russell behind, who missed a lot of running in practice due to a loose manhole cover and the ensuing debacle.

Kubica qualified last after hitting the wall straight on at turn 8.

After penalties, the results are as follows:


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