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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel on pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Championship leader beats Mercedes-GP pair Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to top spot in Baku

Sebastian Vettel will start the Azerbaijan Grand Prix from pole position. Zurab Kurtsikidze / EPA/
Sebastian Vettel will start the Azerbaijan Grand Prix from pole position. Zurab Kurtsikidze / EPA/

Sebastian Vettel took his third successive pole position as he and Ferrari maintained their impressive form in the 2018 Formula One season at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The German, who leads the drivers' championship by nine points, topped the times in Baku on Saturday as his lap of 1 minute, 41.498 seconds gave him top spot on the grid for Sunday's race.

It had looked in the final seconds of the session as if his teammate Kimi Raikkonen would beat his time, but he had a slide towards the end of his lap and lost valuable time, and the 2007 world champion starts sixth.

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Four-time world champion Vettel, who won the opening two races in Australia and Bahrain, will have championship rival Lewis Hamilton alongside him on the front row after the Briton set a lap of 1.41.677 in his Mercedes-GP.

Valtteri Bottas was third in the second Mercedes, ahead of the two Red Bull Racing cars of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

Further back, the Williams drivers had their best qualifying session of the season as Lance Stroll and Sergei Sirotkin were 11th and 12th.

But the Haas team's good start to the year came to a resounding end as they struggled in qualifying with Kevin Magnussen 15th and a gearbox problem leaving Romain Grosjean 20th and last on the grid.

Sunday's race begins at 4.10pm UAE time.