Vettel shrugs off Mercedes' Baku lockout

Sebastian Vettel has taken the lead. Picture: Lars Baron / Getty Images
Sebastian Vettel has taken the lead. Picture: Lars Baron / Getty Images

Baku - Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was anything but downbeat after his Ferrari team were swept aside by a Mercedes front row lockout in Saturday's qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Despite being beaten by his main rivals and outpaced by his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, the four-time champion growled with defiance as he licked his wounds after the session.

"It's one of those tracks where you need to have the car in the window, the tyres in the window and if you feel confident, you extract a lot of lap time," he said.

"I'm not too bothered by the gap. It's not nice, but equally I'm not worried. The car was very good on Friday. In the long run, we looked very competitive so it should be fine.

"Third was probably the maximum. As a team, we got what we could today. Tomorrow can be a different story and I think the race pace should be a lot closer."

Three-time champion Lewis Hamilton, who is 12 points adrift of him in the drivers' title race, took pole for Mercedes with a blistering lap in a dramatic finale.

He outpaced team-mate Valtteri Botass by half a second and was more than a second clear of third-placed Raikkonen with Vettel 1.25 seconds adrift in fourth.

It was Hamilton's 66th pole lifting him one clear of his hero three-time champion Ayrton Senna's record of 65 and within two of equalling the record of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher.

Vettel struggled with problems including a hydraulics leak that forced Ferrari to revert to an older engine on his car before qualifying.

"I don't like excuses, so I think it was a good effort by the whole team to get the car out in time without losing anything of the first part of qualifying," said Vettel.

Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
44% - 5846 votes
Cricket
11% - 1449 votes
Football
19% - 2465 votes
Athletics
2% - 303 votes
Boxing
1% - 123 votes
Cycling
2% - 302 votes
Golf
5% - 646 votes
Motorsport
8% - 1073 votes
Tennis
3% - 415 votes
Water sports
1% - 118 votes
American sports
1% - 128 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 378 votes
Vote