Vettel predicting 'intense' race after securing maiden Baku pole

F1: Sebastian Vettel claims pole in Baku, both Mercedes hot on his heels

F1: Sebastian Vettel claims pole in Baku, both Mercedes hot on his heels

This is a street circuit but not a traditional one. He was nearly one second slower than Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who topped the timesheets in FP1 on ultrasoft tires on Friday.

However, with Hamilton breathing down his neck - the Brit finished just 0.179 seconds behind Vettel in his Mercedes - the stage is set for a showdown between the top two in the overall standings.

It's the first time Ocon and Perez have started side-by-side this season, but even being separated on the grid didn't stop them coming close to contact on the opening lap in China.

The quadruple world champion has not won a race since the United States Grand Prix last October.

"I don't think about statistics and I am always one for wanting to defy the odds", said Hamilton.

"The only problem Ferrari have is that they haven't got Raikkonen to control it", said Di Resta.

"They were quickest all weekend and they obviously have a phenomenal vehicle this year. We are in the mix, so I will try to give Seb a hard time tomorrow".

"The good point is that our vehicle was really good this afternoon so it should be in a good place tomorrow", added the four times world champion after his 53rd career pole.

"The first lap I was quite happy but there were maybe two parts where it was not exactly flawless. I just got sideways, I managed to get it back but from that point I knew it was gone, because it's all straights and flat out".

"It will be an intense race. The important thing is the vehicle is in a good place".

Raikkonen lamented an error that cost him pole.

The Finn will start the race on ultrasoft tyres with the five in front of him on supersofts, having made mistakes on his supersoft run in Q2 and had to take on ultrasofts to get to Q3.

"Right now I'm disappointed with what happened today", he said when asked by Autosport how frustrating it was to have another imperfect final run in Q3. But his team, who also took third on the grid with Valtteri Bottas, know they have their work cut out to match their rivals.

His 20-year-old Dutch team mate Max Verstappen, whose season so far has been littered with spins and collisions, kept out of trouble and put in a late lap to finish fourth fastest.

Who will come out on top in round four of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull's battle for supremacy in F1 2018?

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