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REPORT: Lewis and Valtteri lockout the front-row

REPORT: Lewis and Valtteri lockout the front-row

Lewis stormed to his 66th Formula One in on Saturday, as Valtteri completed an all-Silver Arrows front row for the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Lewis: The team did a fantastic job

Lewis topped Q1 and Q2, en route to a 1:40.593s in the final shootout - securing his fifth pole of the season and his seventh in 10 races.

"My pole lap in Montreal was pretty special, but I think this one here tops that," said Lewis. "My first run in Q3 was actually really good, but I was a bit greedy into the last corner, locked up and cost myself time.

"After the red flag, there was a lot of pressure on that final lap. All weekend we've struggled to switch the car on over a single lap, but it was an all or nothing moment so I just gave it everything I had. Valtteri was on a great lap as well, so when I came across the line and saw that I had pole, it was such a good feeling. Even if that time had only been enough for P2 it was a lap to be proud of.

"We were struggling yesterday but we made a lot of changes overnight. A big thank you to the team who stayed late last night to get the car to where it is today - they did a fantastic job."

Valtteri: I'm expecting a good fight with Lewis

Valtteri had to settle for second on the grid, after losing out to Lewis on the final run in Q3. The Finn had looked set for pole after the initial round of laps in the final shootout, before Daniel Ricciardo crashed, prompting a red flag.

"It's disappointing to lose pole as that was the target today," said Valtteri. "It was looking good before the late red flag, but Lewis produced a great lap and mine just wasn't good enough. That final run in Q3 was the first time we had tried to do a flying lap on the first lap, because of the temperatures, and I couldn't get them to work as well as Lewis did - I just couldn't find that grip out there.

"What I'm most proud of today is the huge effort the team put in overnight to switch on the car. We were quite lost on Friday but we made some changes and turned the weekend around. Going into the race we have a fantastic starting position and I'm expecting a good fight with Lewis."

Toto: This is a fantastic qualifying performance

After a hard night of work and reflection on Friday, Toto Wolff praised the effort of the entire team - including the drivers - for the turnaround in performance in qualifying.

"This is a fantastic qualifying performance after a tricky start to the weekend yesterday," said the Mercedes team boss. "The team did some great work overnight to put the car right in the sweet spot - and both drivers put in a strong performance.

"We had planned to do one long run in Q3, because that looked like the best way to get the maximum from the tyres, so the pressure was really on after the red flag with just one timed lap possible. That was the big pressure moment and both guys delivered - Valtteri found a quarter of a second then Lewis produced one of those hammer laps to take pole.

"Tomorrow, though, is another story again. The race pace is a bit of an unknown after some scrappy sessions yesterday, but we are in the best starting positions. Now we need to make a clean getaway then make the most of our opportunities in the race."

James: This was a pretty impressive performance with both cars

After locking out the front row on Saturday, Silver Arrows Technical Director James Allison is hoping to build on that performance come race day in Baku.

"A diva our car might be but the engineering team and drivers are gradually learning how to talk to her," said James.

"This was a pretty impressive performance with both cars, and especially the performance on the last run, when we were able to set a competitive time on the first lap using tyres which have been tricky to warm up sufficiently during the rest of the weekend. This is not an easy track, and it has not been an easy weekend so far, but today's result is a good indication of the steady progress we have made through each session. We will be aiming to build on that tomorrow."

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