Three in a row for Vettel, Hamilton shares front row

29 April, 2018, 01:57 | Author: Greg Lawrence

German, Vettel who is nine points clear of Hamilton in the drivers' championship, was just 0.179 seconds clear of his rival around the demanding Baku street circuit.

Max Verstappen's all-or-nothing approach cost him dearly in the first practice session of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix yesterday.

"I felt the auto was good in Q1 and Q2 but in the last segment in qualifying I had the vehicle which does what I want, not have it as in pole position but I could put a good lap together", Vettel said.

Hamilton finished comfortably ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, while Daniel Ricciardo, who won the inaugural race at the Baku City Circuit a year ago, claimed fourth, an impressive result considering he only made it through to Q3 by a tenth of a second.

Kimi Raikkonen was on course to snatch pole from his teammate only to make a mistake at the final corner of his lap.

Hamilton, who has yet to win this season, was sandwiched between the Italian team's cars with Vettel's Finnish team mate Kimi Raikkonen third fastest on an overcast afternoon on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

"I was able to carry [confidence] into the day and the vehicle was fantastic", said Vettel.

The tense qualifying session also saw a scary incident between the Toro Rosso drivers Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly as the two almost collided when Gasly came upon a very slow moving Hartley who was right on the racing line in a tight section of the circuit.

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"We didn't have any problems", he said afterwards in the paddock.

The 2007 world champion has arguably been the faster of the two Ferrari drivers in 2018, regularly featuring ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel.

"In the end, I knew I had the auto I wanted and it did what I wanted".

Asked how he felt about his inability to produce the flawless lap so far this year, he added: "I've been a few times disappointed". Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin impressed in 11th and 12th for Williams, who also produced their best performance of the season.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo topped the timesheets in practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

On their first flying runs, Vettel outpaced Hamilton by three-tenths ahead of Bottas and the Red Bulls with Raikkonen sixth, following a scary off-road excursion at Turn 16.

Actually, there were plenty of cars veering off as they endeavoured to slice hundredths off their times, with Pierre Gasly struggling to get his Toro Rosso turned round and back on track after an incident alongside team-mate Brendon Hartley, stricken with a puncture.

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