Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel said his confidence around Baku’s tight city circuit grew as Saturday progressed, helping him claim pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku. The four-time Formula 1 world champion, who finished 11th in Friday’s second practice session, completely reversed his form ahead of FP3, where he finished quickest. He carried that form into qualifying, with no-one able to match his first attempt in Q3, which ending up beating Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton by 0.179s.
Speaking about how he rediscovered his pace, Seb explained: “Lacking confidence in the car [on Friday] leading into lack of confidence around the track. I think around this place you need to have the trust, otherwise you don’t dare go as quick as you might be able to. At the end of the session yesterday I was quite confident, so today I was able to carry that into the day. The car was amazing; it just kept getting better. The track picked up quite a lot throughout qualifying. Q3, run one, I was really happy. There was maybe a tiny bit in the middle sector — Turn 6, Turn 11 — where I was a bit greedy and went a bit wider than I should, but the rest of the lap was just really good. I also had a good exit of the last corner, which has been incredibly difficult today with the wind playing tricks on all of us, I guess, and even a little bit of a tow with a car five, six, seven seconds ahead, so I was really happy with how that lap came together.” – he added.
Sebastian Vettel made a mistake at Turn 3 on his final attempt in Q3, preventing him from improving on his time, but he is sure he could have extended the advantage: “Then for the second run I knew there was a little bit more in those places I just mentioned, and the car was on fire straight away, but then I think I got a bit too excited for turn three and tried to brake later, quite a bit later, than the laps before. I must’ve hit a bump as well and locked the front, and from then onwards the front-left was flat-spotted and obviously I was quite upset at the time in the car because I burnt my shot at an improvement. I didn’t know what was going on around me, so when I then aborted the lap, came in and was told pole position, obviously I was quite happy — no, really happy. I think the team’s done well. We’ve changed the car again overnight and found even more performance.” – Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel concluded, as reported by ESPN.