Hamilton leads another Mercedes front-row F1 lockout as Ferrari falters in Azerbaijan qualifying
Posted By: Editor   |  24 Jun 2017   |  3:44 pm GMT  |  296 comments

Lewis Hamilton took his fifth pole of 2017 and his 66th of all-time as the 2015 champion swept away the rest of the field for Mercedes’ second one-two of the Formula 1 season. It was quite surprising given his difficulties on Friday in practice and also that his Mercedes was 1.1 seconds faster that the Ferrari. The field spread was large; Massa’s Williams in eighth was 2.2 seconds slower than pole.

Both Ferraris managed to get on the second row, with Raikkonen outqualifying Vettel for the second time in three races, while Max Verstappen had a gear sync issue and couldn’t carry his practice form to the final qualifying shoot-out and Daniel Ricciardo crashed out in Q3 to bring out the red-flags.

“It was do or die,” said Hamilton post-qualifying. “If ever there was a time for me to perfect, that was the time.

“In qualifying, sometimes you can’t extract it, but it was a perfect lap.”


Last year’s pole position time of 1m42.758s, set by Nico Rosberg, was instantly beaten by his former team-mate Hamilton, who led Q1 having clocked in at 1m41.983s on his second flying effort.

Verstappen filed in as runner-up, albeit 0.561s off Hamilton’s time. Team-mate Ricciardo finished fourth fastest, while Ferrari Finn Raikkonen split the pair of Red Bulls.

Hamilton’s counterpart Valtteri Bottas struggled, and finished more than one second down in seventh, behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

The two Force Indias were narrowly behind in eighth and ninth while Felipe Massa, tenth fastest, was just 0.003s slower than Sergio Perez.

Eliminated were both McLarens, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Haas’ Romain Grosjean – the Frenchman livid with his brake performance.

Jolyon Palmer did not take part in qualifying as an engine fire at the beginning of FP3 ruled him out of any further Saturday running.

Alonso will start at the rear on Sunday having introduced an upgraded MGU-H and turbo for Friday’s practice sessions. His gearbox failed in Friday’s FP2 but the MCL32 was running in qualifying.

“Qualifying was not very important today because of the penalties. Definitely I think we were not competitive anyway. The whole weekend we weren’t in the top-10 in any session,” said Alonso.

The penalties, added onto those handed to McLaren for changing engine parts after the Canadian GP, mean Alonso has been pushed back 40-places while team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne has been given a 30-place grid penalty.


Hamilton stormed to the summit of Q2, crossing the line at 1m41.275s, 0.227s quicker than Bottas, who was showing some signs of closing in to the Briton.

Title-rival Vettel was third, 0.636s off the top spot with Verstappen splitting the two Ferraris by finishing fourth fastest.

Lance Stroll beat Massa (ninth) with a continued show of confidence from his home race, having booked a place in the third session finishing seventh fastest in Q2, clocking in at 1m42.284s.

Stroll was just 0.069s behind Daniel Ricciardo and ahead of both Force Indias, of which Perez finished eight fastest and Esteban Ocon tenth, scraping into Q3 at 1m42.735s.

Both Toro Rossos were out of the running for pole position as Kvyat finished 11th fastest for the fourth time in the last six qualifying sessions.

Carlos Sainz Jr was behind in 12th, though a three-place grid penalty from Canada drops him down, while Dane Kevin Magnussen and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg will start 13th and 14th, respectively. With Sauber using the 2016-spec Ferrari engine, Pascal Wehrlein was slowest in Q2, 3.328s away from Hamilton’s time.


Hamilton took pole in a final qualifying session which was red-flagged with three and a half minutes remaining, with only Bottas within a second of Hamilton’s pole-lap.

Ricciardo slid through the exit of Turn 6 and slapped the outside barriers with the left side of his car, relegating him to tenth on the grid for the race as his left-rear tyre slumped unceremoniously off its tethers.

The clock was paused with Bottas provisionally on pole but just enough time for the field to produce another qualifying time; the session restarted after a seven minute clean-up.

Another sensational qualifying performance was produced by Hamilton on his final run, with a time of 1m40.593s enough to put him 0.434s ahead of Bottas.

His efforts to overcome the 12-point gap behind Vettel in the drivers’ championship will be further boosted as Raikkonen starts third, and Vettel fourth on Sunday.

“The lap, in the end, wasn’t perfect. I was struggling with the front-left temperature.

“Disappointing, but second place is not bad,” said Bottas.

Raikkonen’s time of 1m41.693s was enough to keep Vettel 0.148s away, but neither Ferrari could get within a second of the leading Mercedes, nor could anybody else apart from Bottas.

“It’s been difficult with the tyres to switch them on, it’s been a struggle every time,” said Raikkonen.

“Luckily the last set had a slightly better feeling on the warm-up side. If you switch them on, you can go a lot faster.”

Verstappen’s early qualifying form and hopes of a coup were dashed by the leading two teams and a mistake in Sector 2. He will start fifth as his time of 1m.41.879s was enough only to beat Force India and Williams.

Stroll’s momentum wasn’t interrupted by the red flag and the 18-year-old managed to out-qualify his team-mate for the first time this season, by 0.045s. Both Williams will start eighth and ninth, behind the Force India duo led by Perez, who starts sixth.

Have your say in the comment section below


Grid, Azerbaijan GP:







Lewis Hamilton




Valtteri Bottas





Kimi Raikkonen





Sebastian Vettel





Max Verstappen

Red Bull




Sergio Perez

Force India




Esteban Ocon

Force India




Lance Stroll





Felipe Massa





Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull




Daniil Kvyat

Toro Rosso



Kevin Magnussen




Nico Hulkenberg




Pascal Wehrlein




Carlos Sainz

Toro Rosso



Romain Grosjean




Marcus Ericsson




Fernando Alonso




Stoffel Vandoorne




Jolyon Palmer



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HI James, tell me how can teams use their simulator at home plant during the weekend GP. It’s not like having a 3 cars for the weekend instead of 2. If wasn’t for Anthony Davidson on the Mercedes simulator. How much is the Lewis pole, if some other driver helped him, when he said sharing set-ups is not good.


Vettel acting more like a diva ramming Hamilton than Mariah carey.😂


It’s funny how the FIA announce they are again looking into oil burn and some teams using this to boost power. And ferrari suddenly have a bad qualifying . I wonder if they have taken something off the car on advice of the FIA.


Could the ‘old’ engine that Vettel changed to, be one that isn’t designed to use a lot of oil?


It’s petty but maybe Vettel should focus more on car setup and not Enzo Ferrari’s biography. Splitting one’s focus can be detrimental to his championship – as seen by the numerous lock up, donuts down escape roads. Won’t win the championship driving like that.

On a serious note, how do haters do this? Every driver has poor weekends and this could be vettel’s, or is hamilton the only one not allowed to be perfect.


Lets see the Red car’s race pace this weekend and over the next few. The gap during qualy was big so I hope this oil burn ban doesn’t let the Mercs get away in the championship.

If they do pull away from Ferrari then only another Lewis melt down (snapchat) will stop Merc from winning this year.


Congrats LH, VB & KR! Imagine if they had to start from back… SV drive last GP was brilliant… as fans, we need more racing, more passing… VivaF1


Interesting Ted’ qualy notebook
1> Mercedes will only discuss engines with McLaren after it parted ways w/ Honda, as a matter of respect.
2> There is a Team Boss license in F1 – didn’t know that. Team Bosses hv to be present in all races.
3> Colin Kolles was vetoed to go Sauber by some “F1’s senior personnel”.
4> A new team was incorporated as China F1 Racing Team Limited.
5> Ross Brawn confirmed there are 2~3 team spots left and people are interested in them, under the new administration.


China F1 Racing is not a new company – it dates back to 2003 as a business services business and has a French lawyer as a director. It was a name change that was recorded in May’17 and carries forward a substantial debt


2 and 3 are related

You cannot be a team principal if you are not licensed, same with tech directors etc

This came in after Crashgate, Singapore 2008, so the FIA had some sanction over executives as well as drivers

It’s an excellent plan

Kolles would have been Bernie’s man on the inside of all the meetings etc

They blocked that

Will Bernie’s next move be to try to buy a team?


@James Allen – Bernie’s treatment of Colin Seeley and Gordon Murray when they were working at Brabham is well known, who would be daft enough to work for Bernie in a new team? If I were only the gatekeeper, I’d be off like a shot.

On the same theme, I’m shocked to see Tonto and Lauda were in discussions with Flavio Briatore. If team owners have black balled Kolles, there should be a black boulder on Briatore even getting into the F1 paddock.


DeWeberis and JA, thanks for these comments, the most meaningful for today’s article.


Given the MERCS Q3 oil burning boost, the achievements seem a bit artificial to me. HAM may have 2nd all time poles but the last few years definitely have a question mark hanging overhead. Like overtaking using DRS…


Interesting that Vet was ahead of the nearest Forceindia by just 0.3s. Clearly that Ferrari should be further ahead…


Mercedes has more top end power, while Ferrari is better in the mid-range.
Also Ferrari has better suspension, but no zebras to attack and gain time in Azerbaijan.


DeWeberis, this link is gold, thanks for it. This comment and the one below makes your contribution really valuable reading. Great mate!

Tornillo Amarillo

Both Force Indias were 0.6 faster than both Williams in Q3, amazing difference with the same upgraded engine (the “rocket”).

If Kid Lance continue matching Massa, Williams will really need to replace the Brazilian for 2018, but who is in contention for that seat ?
I have no clue…


I just want to know how much SR. Stroll has paid Sky media to make his name seem good. cause when Massa get p5 there is barely even a mention but when lance gets p8 its hailed like a pole position.. i mean put two good drivers in that Williams and they would be fighting thse Force India’s . Just sad to see media trying to spread nice “FAKE ” reviews about stroll..


Judging from today’s podium, I would recommend a huge slice of humble pie.


Lol u gotta be kidding. Let’s see . Rai, max , Massa and hulk out of the race. All of whom we’re ahead of him. Vettel and Hamilton who were ahead got penalties and a loose something causing them to go back and the 2 people who were behind stroll overtake him to take 1st and second respectively. Well done indeed. Bravo stroll. He just crusied arroynd in that Williams doing nothing


Would someone please explain why the tyres were able to get into the correct operating window with 3 mins 30 secs left after the red flag when it seemed as though it had until that point been taking several teams several laps to do ?


Looks like Merc are on maximum point scoring levels again. Feels like Ferrari managed to create the illusion during 6 races this time instead of one or two like in the past couple of years. Oh, well…


Confused end to quali on c4 sort of ruined it dunno who is to blame but f1 needs to develop a minimum standard for the broadcasts.we saw cars from about 2 miles away crossing a line you couldn’t even see.


Can anyone shed any light on the ‘opening’ of turn 8? Seems in the face of it that it would be in the long Mercedes favour – was this the one area Red Bull could make up some ground now neutralised?


The f2 race was red flagged when second place man rammed the wall and blocked off the circuit. Thts a possibility but more likely that toto rubbed shoulders with Charlie


Alonso was funny…

We’re building up and they think we’re on a warm up lap because we’re so slow so they pass and get in our way 😉

What happened with the new Honda PU update that was removed again for the old PU?

Why swap back? How can it be any worse in speed, reliability or thirst? I can only assume it would explode with such ferocity it would take the drivers with it!


@Clarks, Funny yes, but at the expense of his employer paying him 40m $. He is being allowed to be sarcastical on a consistent basis now it seems.


The excuse is that, why waste the new engine by adding mileage here when they have virtually no chance from the back? Apparently this upgrade didn’t have any issues, and adds between 15-30bhp to the power. Having said this they believe they are about 100bhp down. By this logic then at the next race this upgrade should be there, offering an extra 30bhp. My opinion is this is crap and they should have used it here because most of the time they never finish the race anyway, put it on here, test it in race, and then they have good data for the next race onwards.


Just watched Lewis’ on board camera pole lap. Especially impressive are his cornering (unspectacular but very precise and secure) and lightning fast gear shifting on corner exits. The Merc qualimode boost does the rest.
Must mention Stroll too. Smartly not too aggressive in the tight corners and relying on the Merc bhp on the straights. Canada was decent, this was even a bit better.
Perez and Ocon are there to stay as the best of the rest.
Ricciardo is sitting pretty on his 3-time podium points cushion but needs to improve his quali performance, if only for the Force Indias getting close. Not to Max but to him.


Maybe unlike other street tracks, Baku requires an element of finesse over raw aggression. The old, the slower it looks the faster it is vibe.

The Grape Unwashed

Stunning lap from Hamilton. Everyone was heading into the unknown following the red flag, but particularly the Mercedes drivers who struggle so much to warm up their tyres. On a track where there is so little margin for error, this was a scenario where the cream rises to the top: and to be almost 1/2 second ahead of his teammate was simply brilliant.

Tornillo Amarillo

All my best favorite drivers there, Lewis on Pole again, rookies Ocon in P7 and Lance P8 !

Kid Lance didn’t know the circuit and beat Massa, extraordinary, so proud, why nobody saw this Canadian come through from the beginning of the season to this point, except you know… me 😊


PS: JV eat your words about Lance now please, you are the worst ever pretending F1 journalist in history!!


If I may, what about Stroll makes you a fan of his?

Tornillo Amarillo

I saw something on him, same with Ocon and Ham, I’ve never understood doubters (why to say “haters”).
And most importantly, he is Montrealer, my city by choice, so I support the kid himself before the driver, it’s like a son.


An exciting qualifying session.

The clock stopped at 3:33 in Q3 — and Lewis Hamilton took his his 66th pole of all-time.

Numerologists out there?


You either hate him or love him but you cannot say that Lewis Hamilton is not up there with the legends of this sport!


Records speak for themselves. Of course they were all gifted after he threw away his career


On his day he’s one of the best ever, no doubt! He’s just had so many of those days in his career where it’s like his head is somewhere else.


@Deano some will never accept it no matter what the lad achieves, but as as was acknowledged not so long ago by someone who I superset is much more knowledgeable of these matters than you or I (most likely) that, eventually the sheer weight of the numbers lead you to one inevitable conclusion.

Tornillo Amarillo

HAM is a living legend, enjoy it ! (buy tickets!!) :))


OMG he is just so you know awesome and excellent,the son i wished i had


Great lap under pressure from Lewis, Ferrari on the back foot due to the late engine swap, Ricciardo bins it, and Kimi ahead of Seb! What will Ferrari do about that tomorrow? Impressive stuff from Stroll on a weekend when everyone seems to be making a mistake every other lap, he has been the most error free guy out there! Ahead of (a ragged looking) Felipe on the grid, and with a good chance of points tomorrow, I do hope he proves the doubters (including me) wrong.



Yes Stroll was surprising on a relatively new track for all drivers, in its second year. I wonder where @TORNILLO AMARILLO is today? He is the self confessed Number 1 Lance Stroll Fan on this site 😀

Tornillo Amarillo

In a Paradise…


What pressure?

Hamilton has by far the fastest F1 car in history for the 4th year especially in Qualifying, a massive advantage on this track, even though he managed to crash last year (when the real pressure was on and he lost the Championship..), a 3rd rated driver as a team mate and gets the team order in his favor since race one.

So what pressure exactly are you talking about?


Vettel never had a teammate as good as Rosberg,who I believe wiill consistently beat Vettel. 2013 proved Vettel cant handle pressure. Webber wanted to finish his career with a couple of wins,hence he lifted himself from his doormat stupor. And when Vettel sensed that Webber was threatening in a couple of the qually sessions, Vettel became ragged and was outqualified. That is why I regularly say that Webber ,by choice relegated himself to the position of the doormat. He couldn’t care to find the energy(mental/physical) to be consistently competitive. Vettel will be a very wobbly guy when he finally has a very competitive teammate he will have to put away. He has been dodging them so far.


Spot on. Thanks for having your own opinion 🙂


Verstappen told he had a gear sync problem in sector 2 and it has cost him 2 tenths at least. How is it possible Redbull being this fast on a track like Baku?


Leaner aero and great mechanical grip.


Good DNA I imagine.


What a pole by the Hammerboy!Congrats
Well done,Mercedes!
Stroll has began flexing some lean mean muscles.
Special mention should be also made of Ferrari for packing up so early for vacation which is a month away!Upon resumption,they will have to be wary of Red Bull,as the Mercs have began pulling away.
And oh,Max at 5th slot……well,Ferrari drivers,be warned of a potential crash.
McLaren and Honda,this is a real incubo still with the Spec3 engine.An engine for every race shows they are still not finding their way out of a wet paper bag!
“Monisha’s boy” again proved it was on merit and not on anything else.


Is it fuel burning restriction or just a track specific issue for Ferrari?


I was thinking the same! Hope it’s not the case of oil burning.

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