Ricciardo fourth, Vettel on pole in Azerbaijan
Last year’s winner Daniel Ricciardo will start from fourth in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after championship leader Sebastian Vettel took pole position.
Australian Ricciardo, who was victorious in Shanghai two weeks ago, was less than half a second off the qualifying pace in Baku.
Sebastian Vettel qualified in pole position.
The German Vettel will be at the front of the grid for Sunday’s street race after setting a best lap of 1min 41.498sec and edging world champion Lewis Hamilton into second in his Mercedes.
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas qualified third on the banks of the Caspian Sea.
Ricciardo out-qualified Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, who qualified fifth, while Kimi Raikkonen had to be content with sixth place.
Vettel, who won the first two races of the season, leads Hamilton by nine points after three grands prix this year.
‘‘It will be an intense race, safety cars are very likely. Our car was really good this afternoon,’’ Vettel said.
‘‘Yesterday I struggled with confidence and trust in the car, which is important. We got pole so I can’t be much more happy.’’
Vettel had been fastest in final practice as wind caused problems earlier on Saturday.
Ricciardo was quickest in second practice on Friday after Bottas had the best of the first session.Hamilton, who has won three of the past four championships, said his team had a job on their hands on Sunday.
‘‘Sebastian did a good job, they were quickest,’’ he said.
‘‘They have a phenomenal car this year but we are in the mix and I’ll try to give Sebastian a hard time tomorrow.’’
Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez from Force India were seventh and eighth fastest on the twisting street circuit, which passes the city’s varied medieval and 21st-century architecture.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg qualified ninth but will be hit with a five-place grid penalty for switching his gearbox.
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