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Azerbaijan GP: Bottas beats Hamilton to pole, Leclerc crashes

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Azerbaijan GP: Bottas beats Hamilton to pole, Leclerc crashes
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Apr 27, 2019, 3:04 PM

Valtteri Bottas claimed a surprise pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after pre-qualifying favourite Charles Leclerc crashed out in Q2.

The Finn lapped 0.059s faster than teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was in the tow behind him, on the final runs in Q3 to grab top spot, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel three tenths down in third place.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen only had one run in Q3 and ended up fourth, almost three tenths behind Vettel and well clear of fifth fastest Sergio Perez.

Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat ended up sixth ahead of McLaren driver Lando Norris.

Antonio Giovinazzi headed Alfa Romeo teammate Kimi Raikkonen in the battle for eighth place, although the Italian must serve a 10-place grid penalty for taking his third power unit control electronics of the season earlier in the weekend.

Leclerc was classified 10th in Q3 as his pace on medium-compound Pirellis before he crashed meant he made the top 10 – but he was unable to run.

Leclerc was the faster Ferrari driver in free practice and Q1, but hit the wall at the narrow Turn 8 after locking up the front-left on entry during Q2 –calling the error "stupid" over the radio.

Carlos Sainz was 11th fastest after being pushed into the drop zone by teammate Norris at the end of Q2 – missing out on a place in Q3 after lapping just 0.017s than Giovinazzi.

That put him ahead of Renault's Daniel Ricciardo, with Alex Albon 13th after clipping the wall with the right-rear of Toro Rosso late on in a Q2 session interrupted by the red flag that followed Leclerc's crash.

Kevin Magnussen was 14th after locking up and heading up the Turn 3 escape road on his final lap.

Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly, who must start from the pitlane after missing the weighbridge during FP2, was 15th after not running in Q2 – but he did set the fastest time in Q1 with the help of a mighty tow from Lance Stroll's Racing Point.

Stroll was eliminated in Q1 for the fourth time this season after being relegated to 16th by Ricciardo at the end of the session.

Ricciardo positioned himself behind Stroll for his final lap, benefitting from the tow both in the first and last sectors to take the position by a tenth and a half.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean was 17th after not improving by enough on his final lap, although it was enough to beat Nico Hulkenberg, who had briefly jumped ahead of him, by 0.02s.

George Russell was 19th after missing almost all of Friday's running as a result of hitting a manhole cover early in FP1, forcing the Williams team to rebuild his car around the spare monocoque.

Robert Kubica was slowest after crashing at the Turn 8 left-hander on his final push lap as a result of tagging the inside wall behind the apex.

This brought out the red flag, although little time was lost as the chequered flag had already been thrown.

Cla Driver Chassis Time Gap
1 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 1'40.495
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 1'40.554 0.059
3 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari 1'40.797 0.302
4 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 1'41.069 0.574
5 Mexico Sergio Perez
Racing Point 1'41.593 1.098
6 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
Toro Rosso 1'41.681 1.186
7 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 1'41.886 1.391
8 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 1'43.068 2.573
9 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari
10 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
McLaren 1'42.398 1.903
11 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
Renault 1'42.477 1.982
12 Thailand Alex Albon
Toro Rosso 1'42.494 1.999
13 Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Haas 1'42.699 2.204
14 Canada Lance Stroll
Racing Point 1'42.630 2.135
15 France Romain Grosjean
Haas 1'43.407 2.912
16 Germany Nico Hulkenberg
Renault 1'43.427 2.932
17 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 1'45.062 4.567
18 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 1'42.424 1.929
19 Poland Robert Kubica
Williams 1'45.455 4.960
20 France Pierre Gasly
Red Bull
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Azerbaijan GP
Author Edd Straw