Hamilton's Baku pole is his 66th, passing Senna

  • Hamilton's Baku pole is his 66th, passing Senna

Hamilton's Baku pole is his 66th, passing Senna

In topping the timesheets, Hamilton has moved to within two pole positions of Michael Schumacher's record of 68, by claiming the 66th pole of his career, surpassing his hero Ayrton Senna's mark of 65.

Fellow Formula One title rival Sebastian Vettel was only 12th fastest and did not partake in the final 25 minutes of running after a hydraulic issue, but Ferrari expects Vettel's auto to be ready for this afternoon's qualifying session.

Just as in Canada a fortnight previously, Hamilton made it count when it mattered the most to finish almost half-a-second clear of his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in qualifying, with Vettel a distant fourth.

Bottas led qualifying and set an even quicker time on his final lap, only for Hamilton to beat him by almost half a second.

Valtteri Bottas has identified an inability to find grip from his tyres to the same degree as team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the difference in pace between the Mercedes pair in qualifying.

"Tomorrow is another day, it's going to be a long race so who knows".

With the Finn seemingly getting a better grasp of the hard tyres than Hamilton during free practice - where it took two build up laps before the flying attempt -, he was a quiet favourite to secure his second pole position of the year. I think Red Bull is very fast, not just for one lap but both sessions. Valtteri Bottas had a bit of a nightmare, loitering in 19th place up until five minutes to go when he made a decision to put in a proper lap and secure himself a place in Q2.

Hamilton went wide at Turn 16 as he failed to top it, but the session was quickly brought to a halt when Daniel Ricciardo hit a wall exiting Turn 6. "Just didn't get them to work as well as Lewis".

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was second, 0.095 seconds behind the leader.

Fernando Alonso is due to start last after serving a mammoth 40-place penalty following a raft of changes to his hapless Honda engine.

Force India are a comfortable fourth in the team standings with 71 points, ahead of Toro Rosso (29) and Williams (22).

Canadian teenager Lance Stroll of Montreal qualified eighth.

While Haas got one auto through to Q2 after a late lap from Magnussen, teammate Romain Grosjean's struggles under braking continued as he ailed to P17 ahead of Sauber's Marcus Ericsson.

Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson also were eliminated in the first part of qualifying, with the Haas driver struggling with brake problems throughout the weekend and being eliminated in 17th ahead of the Sauber.

Hamilton dominated Q1 with a superb showing, as he set the fastest lap ever at the Baku City Circuit before improving on it shortly after.