F1: Sebastian Vettel claims pole in Baku, both Mercedes hot on his heels | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 28.04.2018
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F1: Sebastian Vettel claims pole in Baku, both Mercedes hot on his heels

Sebastian Vettel tops the time sheets around the streets of Azerbaijan's capital, followed by the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen let his pole chance slip.

Sebastian Vettel will start Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix from the front, after putting down the fastest lap in Saturday's qualifying session in Baku. 

Ultimately, the first time Vettel set in the final session of qualifying was enough for pole, as he and other rivals made mistakes in their last-ditch attempts to improve their starting positions.

"The first lap I was really happy, maybe two tiny bits where it wasn't perfect," Vettel said. "Then I locked up, it caught me by surprise for Turn 3. I tried to hang on to it." 

Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen briefly appeared on course to snatch first place from the German before a slide on Turn 16 put him back in sixth. 

Read more: F1: Daniel Ricciardo wins Chinese Grand Prix with help from the safety car

Lewis Hamilton was the best of the rest in the session, meaning the two favorites for the title will share the front row on Sunday. 

"That was close. We did the best job we could," Hamilton said. "I think I lost a little bit in the final sector, but great lap from Sebastian. We're in the mix, and I'm going to try to give Sebastian a hard time tomorrow." 

Lewis Hamilton driving his Mercedes during final practice for the Azerbaijan Formula One Grand Prix at Baku City Circuit on April 28, 2018 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Getty Images/C. Mason)

The picturesque circuit in Baku is a relatively new addition to the calendar

Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas will start third, followed by the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. German driver Nico Hülkenberg again cracked the top 10 in his Renault, qualifying ninth.

Read more: F1: Sebastian Vettel wins in Bahrain as Valtteri Bottas takes it to the wire

Vettel currently leads the drivers champions standings with 54 points from three races; Hamilton trails on 45. 

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