Mercedes Nico Rosberg has claimed a comfortable pole position for the European Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan, as Mercedes’s teammate Lewis Hamilton crashed out in Q3.
The 36-year-old German driver has made a 1m 42.758 s in the final few minutes of the race session to move up to first place. Rosberg glanced the wall during his final qualifying run at Baku circuit, but still did enough to claim the top spot by nearly eight-tenths of a second.
Teammate Lewis Hamilton had earlier set the fastest time of all in the first sector but went off at Turn 15.
Force India’s Sergio Perez has finished the session second fastest, but he will start seventh thanks to having to change the gearbox following a crash at the end of final practice.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa of Williams rounded out the top six, ahead of Daniil Kvyat, Williams F1’s Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who almost collided with Bottas while battling for track position in Q3.
Haas F1’ Romain Grosjean has missed out on Q3 and was the first to be eliminated in the second session of the race. Grosjean has come within a tenth but ended the session 11th fastest just ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, who spun on his first run in Q2 and was only 12th fastest in his second.
Hulkenberg, who made a complaint about radio communication with his team, has suffered a spin during the 15-minute segment and was a surprise addition to the drop-zone, having finished high up the order in practice.
Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr was on 13th, just ahead of McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso and Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez, who went off at Turn 7 on his final flying lap.
Completing the drop-zone were Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, and Renault duo Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer.
Picture Courtesy: Leo Hidalgo/Wikimedia Commons