F1: Ferrari's (NYSE:RACE) Vettel Lesson Learned at Baku 2017

Lewis Hamilton Daniel ricciardo Valtteri Bottas

On their first flying runs, Vettel outpaced Hamilton by three-tenths ahead of Bottas and the Red Bulls with Raikkonen sixth, following a scary off-road excursion at Turn 16.

Saturday was bad enough, but on race day teams have been preparing themselves for gusts as high as 50mph. "I got it back, but I knew already it was all gone because it's flat out and a long straight after that".

"He did a great job today and Ferrari have been so dominant in the last few races, pace-wise".

The Force India pair of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, who tangled in Baku previous year in a clash that cost the team a likely podium, will line up together on the fourth row. So you'd expect team management will not be sleeping soundly tonight despite a very impressive qualifying session, with the pair lining up next to each other on row four.

Mercedes are still searching for their first victory of the season.

Lewis Hamilton, occupying second spot on the grid, will hope he can break his duck in 2018, while Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas sits nicely placed in third. I think it is very important to be able to fight for the pole in order to have a good chance during the race.

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It was the most exciting race of a year ago. "But past year they took each other out, which was helpful, so we'll see..."

Mr. Vettel says he has learned from the lessons of Baku a year ago. There have been signs of recovery since an underwhelming pre-season, and qualifying in Baku resulted in their best Saturday so far as Lance Stroll finished 11th and Sergey Sirotkin 12th.

Force India drivers were best of the rest, Esteban Ocon edging Sergio Perez by 0.024 seconds and more than 0.5 seconds quicker than Renault's Nico Hulkenberg. It's a shame because I think I could have been faster, but I am happy anyway.

"I felt the auto was good Q1 and Q2 so I knew in the final session I knew I have the vehicle to do what I want", Vettel said. We worked hard to get the vehicle in a better place, so we need to maximise the result now tomorrow.

"We haven't collectively performed on the level we would have wanted to".

Translation: Williams won't be this quick everywhere, so now is the time to cash in. He has not won more than one race in a season since 2014, and is publicly considering whether to move to Mercedes or Ferrari for next season in search of a auto capable of winning the championship.

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