Ferrari’s Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel completed a pole position hat-trick on Saturday (April 28) by beating title rival Lewis Hamilton to the top slot at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The German, nine points ahead of Mercedes’s reigning champion, will be hoping to convert his third pole in a row into a third victory in four races on Sunday.

Vettel pulled out a fastest lap of one minute 41.498 seconds, compared to the Briton’s 1:41.677, on the quick street circuit along the shores of the Caspian Sea and around the walled old town.

Hamilton’s Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas was third with Australian Daniel Ricciardo, winner of a chaotic race in Baku last year and in China two weekends ago, qualifying fourth for Red Bull on an overcast and gusty evening.

Hamilton, also a four times champion but yet to win a race this season, lost time in the final sector and said it had been hard to keep the car straight in the crosswinds.

Second on the grid was still his best start position since pole in the Australian season-opener, with Ferrari sweeping the front row at the last two.