Hamilton faces uphill F1 task in Baku

"That was one of the most exciting laps that I've had all year", Hamilton said.

After his impressive pole at the Canadian GP two weeks ago, it was another commanding performance from Hamilton as he took his fifth pole in seven races this season.

Shortly before that, Hamilton and Vettel were involved in an incident that threatens to sour their good relations. Bottas was on provisional pole when the session was red flagged with three and half minutes left to go. Vettel was consequently struck with a ten second penalty. His Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was third. A Mercedes mechanic, armed with a screwdriver and pliers patched up the bodywork on the rear of his auto, and Hamilton was good to go for the re-start. Behind him, team-mate Bottas was back up to eighth and Vettel was closing.

Ricciardo's teammate, Max Verstappen, qualified fifth ahead of Perez.

Ocon and Haas driver Magnussen had both run in a podium position after the red flag, but had to do with sixth and seventh in the end.

After 23 minutes, the race re-started at 6:15 p.m. local time behind a safety auto - and Raikkonen and Perez were back in, albeit at the back of the grid.

Moments later, Massa retired, as did Renault's Nico Hulkenberg after clipping the barriers. The German, who heads Hamilton by 12 points, failed to trouble the time sheets on Friday before missing most of final practice with a hydraulic issue. The rear was coming round and I tried to drive out of it but it kept going. The McLaren/Honda driver qualified 16th but will start Round 8 of 20 at the rear of the field after having to replace the turbocharger on his No. 14 vehicle for the seventh time this season while also introducing a new engine.

Earlier, in an eventful P3, Bottas was fastest.

Later, Hamilton was forced into an unscheduled pit-stop amid safety concerns over a malfunctioning headrest.

But Rosberg's sudden retirement - just five days after winning his maiden championship - coupled with Valtteri Bottas' arrival at Mercedes and this year's title battle against Vettel has changed the Briton. Raikkonen also picked up some damage, and Raikkonen, Perez and Ocon were all forced to pit as the safety auto was deployed for a third time.

They all face 51 laps and 190 miles of the Baku City track, staging only its second-ever grand prix.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, celebrates his pole position following the qualification at the Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan, Saturday, June 24, 2017.

Fernando Alonso was another driver to benefit from the race of attrition, crossing the line ninth to take McLaren's first points of the season and end its point-less run.

Sun, July 24, 2016 As the Formula 1 Grand Prix revs up for action, Haynes has delved into its extensive archive of imagery which has appeared in its numerous F1 Owner's Workshop Manuals to give us 16 fascinating F1 Facts.

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