Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying: Hamilton grabs historic pole at the last

Turn 8 is proving a little too narrow for some at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

In a terrific last gasp lap in Q3, Lewis Hamilton set a scorching time to take pole position at the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, beating his team mate, Valtteri Bottas, by 0.434 seconds and pushing the Ferraris of Raikkonen and Vettel in to third and fourth on the grid.

Red Bull dominated Friday practice, with Max Verstappen topping both timesheets and Ricciardo finishing both in the top three, but they did not feature in the battle for pole with Verstappen fifth and Ricciardo 10th.

It wasn't all plain sailing for the Brit though, as his first attempt at pole before the session-stopping accident of Daniel Ricciardo did not go exactly to plan.

A late red flag, 3:33 from the conclusion of the session, seemed to have aided Bottas' chances of a second career pole as it limited him and his rivals to one final flying lap late in the session, rather than two to properly warm the tyres.

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

"That was one of the most exciting laps I have had all year", said an ecstatic Hamilton.

"After the red flag, there was a lot of pressure on that final lap".

"That created a lot of pressure because we've been struggling to get heat into the tyres and we don't know if it's a one-lap tyre, so it was all or nothing".

"The first lap I had the time but I made a mistake", he added. "We need to get on top of that because it shouldn't happen".

"I think we, as a team, probably prefer not to talk so much and just get on with it".

"We would have loved to have had more laps this morning.

With the place, with the feeling that we had, I'll happily take it and I'm not surprised with the time difference". The Spaniard won't be too anxious though, as he will start from the pit lane anyway with a 40 place grid penalty.

"Obviously it's better than where I was before".

The Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz weren't fast enough to challenge the Williams and Force Indias, but comfortably quick enough to outpace Kevin Magnussen's Haas, Nico Hulkenberg's Renault, and Pascal Wehrlein's Sauber, which the Mercedes junior driver heroically dragged into the top 15.

Romain Grosjean was 17th for Haas, struggling to find a balance, while Sauber's Marcus Ericsson was 18th.

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 vehicle during Saturday morning's practice.

Meanwhile, already knowing they would be starting at the back of the field with 40 and 35-place grid penalties respectively for a myriad of engine and gearbox penalties, McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne dropped out in Q1.

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