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Hamilton takes 66th career pole in Azerbaijan

Hamilton takes 66th career pole in Azerbaijan

"It was do or die", Hamilton added.

Lewis Hamilton delivered the ideal lap at exactly the right time to leave his championship rival Sebastian Vettel firmly in the shade ahead of Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The pole is Hamilton's second in succession and puts him second on the all-time Formula One list behind Michael Schumacher on 68.

Hamilton is 12 points behind Vettel and will be confident of closing that gap on Sunday. Kimi Raikkonen will start third after a hard session for Ferrari, with the Scuderia likely to be concerned by the margin of 1.1s to pole position.

Lewis Hamilton takes pole position in the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with team-mate Bottas in second and Vellet in fourth place on the grid.

The Mercedes pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were quick to hit the track and snatch the pole early.

Daniel Ricciardo was responsible for the red flag after losing the back end of his Red Bull on the exit of turn six and qualifies 10th, while the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon went quicker than Williams duo Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa.

Be sure not to miss this race, because the war between Vettel and Hamilton is just heating up, and with the title at stake, neither driver will back out from it.

Hamilton made a mistake on his first lap in final qualifying and was anxious he would not be able to make amends when a crash halted the session.

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

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

"There was a lot of pressure with a minute left".

"I think it's one of the tracks where you need to have the auto in the window and tyres in the window, and then, if you feel confident, you extract a lot of lap time as well".

The times at the top quickly fell, as Kvyat and Sainz traded the top spot before Bottas took them both, with Mercedes team-mate Hamilton close behind.

"A lot of pressure because of getting temperature in the tyre but the lap just got better and better".

"I made a mistake on my [first] run, the red flag came out and I had two minutes to get my run".

His biggest rivals Sebastian Vettel will start from the fourth place because the Ferrari mechanics had a problem with hydraulics.

"The result is okay but I'm not entirely happy", the four-times Formula One champion said. "As I said other people were doing a better job and therefore their qualified in front of us".

The Spaniard, out of contract with McLaren at the end of the season, will start last. "Today was a good recovery and I thought I will not allow myself to do that again next qualifying but you learn from these things".

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