Vettel: 'No doubt Hamilton brake-checked me'

Lewis Hamilton drives his Mercedes AMG on the Azerbaijan Formula One Grand Prix circuit in Baku.

The British driver's 66th pole moved him one ahead of Formula One great Ayrton Senna and just two behind Michael Schumacher's all-time record of 68.

The tires have been a talking point across the weekend after Pirelli elected not to bring the softest-option tires.

Vettel emerged from his penalty just ahead of Hamilton, and the German fought his way back up to fourth to finish one place in front of his rival in the race of the season and stretch his lead to 14 points.

The drivers had just 3.33s to scramble out of pit lane, warm their tyres and start their flying lap.

"I don't really care about (what happened)", Hamilton responded.

Checkout the highlights from the qualifying session of the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

"It's disappointing", Bottas said.

"They've seen today how a four-time champion behaves and I think, hopefully, that doesn't ripple into the younger categories".

"It was a lot of pressure", Hamilton agreed.

Chasing his second career pole, Bottas was also disappointed.

Brazilian Felipe Massa had a scare as he also almost crashed going through Turn 8, while Russian driver Daniil Kvyat, Canadian teen Lance Stroll and Frenchman Romain Grosjean all went off track.

"It's been hard with the tires to switch them on, it's been a struggle", Räikkönen said, who was more than a second behind Hamilton's pole time. If we were going fast it could have been a lot worse.

"I have no doubt he brake-checked me", Vettel said.

Vettel will probably not have too many problems in passing his teammate, but will have to be at the top of his game if he is hoping to challenge for victory. "I'm so pumped, that's how qualifying should be". But I don't like excuses.

Ricciardo's teammate, Max Verstappen, qualified fifth ahead of Perez.

The race was then red-flagged with debris on the track after the Force India drivers of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez were involved in a collision and Kimi Raikkonen suffered a rear puncture.

He outpaced team-mate Valtteri Botas by half a second and was more than a second clear of third-placed Raikkonen with Vetterl 1.25 seconds adrift in fourth.

Fernando Alonso, already hit with a 40-point grid penalty, failed to advance past Q1 for the first time this season, while Jolyon Palmer did not take part in qualifying after a fire in his auto during Saturday morning's practice. After the qualifying Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has hailed Hamilton's pole lap in Azerbaijan, saying it was a performance that typified the Briton's unique talents.

  • Julie Sanders