Grand Prix of Azerbaijan – Qualifying

Despite HAM not having won a race yet this season, VET is only 9 points ahead of him in the current standings (updated after the race in China) and Mercedes is actually 1 point ahead of Ferrari.

Free Practice sessions:

  1. FP1: BOT (1:44.242), RIC, PER, HAM, OCO
    VER lost the tail going into Turn 5, tried to save it but ended up side-on in the tyre wall
  2. FP2: RIC (1:42.795), RAI, VER, BOT, HAM
    ERI lost gearbox pressure
  3. FP3: VET (1:43.091), HAM, RAI, VER, BOT
    BOT was one of many who went off, but it was SIR’s off into the tyre wall that caused red flags almost at the end of the session

HUL will have a 5 grid spot penalty for a gearbox change [FIA]

Air temperature 22°C; track 26°C; wind 5km/h but it’s gusting to 80km/hr in Turn 1!
Tyre compounds for this weekend = soft, supersoft, and ultrasoft

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Green lights, and a lot of cars head for the track – only RIC, VER and PER stay in the pits
GRO takes to the escape road at Turn 3
ERI 1:47.044
MAG 1:45.178
GRO in the escape road again
Radio from GRO – can’t select gear – told to turn off
SIR 1:45.138
HUL 1:44.694
Yellow flags cleared
OCO 1:43.929
VER 1:43.607
RIC 1:43.259 thanks to a tow from VER
VET 1:43.129
RAI 1:42.985
(HAM P4)
(OCO P2 after a tow from RIC)
PER locks up, takes to the escape road
RAI 1:42.538
(HAM P2)
Official FIA timing screen shows “No Time” for most people! 🙁
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are STR, ERI, ALO, HAR, GRO
ALO P10, relegating PER
MAG runs wide in T4
(VER P2)
PER P10, VAN to P16
GAS in the escape road; he’s doing a slow turn around
Replay shows GAS nearly ploughed into the rear of teammate HAR – that would have been a huge crash!
VAN goes P15, bumping GAS to P16
1min left; bottom 5 are GAS, STR, ERI, HAR, GRO
Bodywork flies off MAG’s Haas on the main straight
Chequered flag
STR P15, so VAN is P16
Back of the grid: VAN, GAS, ERI, HAR, GRO
Incident involving SIR blocking ERI under investigation

Qualifying session 2
HAM locks up on his out lap, cuts the corner
Top 6 cars are all on supersofts; rest are on ultrasofts
OCO 1:43.174
RAI runs wide – brief yellow flag
BOT 1:42.679
STR follows RAI’s example – runs wide too
RAI in the escape road again; tried to spin the Ferrari around but got it wrong
HAM 1:42.676
RAI called on to the weighbridge as he returns to the pits
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are SAI, MAG, RAI, LEC, STR
SIR hanging the tail out on his Williams
2mins left; bottom 6 are LEC, PER, SAI, MAG, RAI
Everyone on track
Chequered flag
RAI 1:42.510
Middle of the grid: STR, SIR, ALO, LEC, MAG

So for the race, RAI will start on ultrasoft tyres with the next few on supersofts

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between RAI, HAM, BOT, VER, OCO, VET, HUL, PER, SAI and RIC
Green lights; everyone except SAI head out of the pits … oh, and there goes SAI
VER 1:42.017
RIC P2
OCO P3
BOT 1:41.943
HAM 1:41.840
HUL P7
VET 1:41.498
Order after 1 lap: VET, HAM, BOT, VER, RIC, RAI, OCO, PER, HUL, SAI
Radio from RIC – “I tagged the wall”
Everyone back in the pits
2mins to go; everyone on track for final runs
Chequered flag
BOT P2
HAM P2
PER P8
HUL P9
SAI P10
Big moment for RAI – put the power down too soon and the tail stepped out
RAI P6
RIC P4
VER P5
Front of the grid: VET, HAM, BOT, RIC, VER, RAI, OCO, PER, HUL*, SAI
*HUL has a 5 spot penalty for a gearbox change

3rd consecutive pole for VET

Provisional grid: VET, HAM, BOT, RIC, VER, RAI, OCO, PER, HUL*, SAI, STR, SIR, ALO, LEC, MAG, VAN, GAS, ERI, HAR, GRO
*HUL will drop from P9 to P14

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