Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

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    (Image supplied by AMG Petronas Motorsport).

    With three wins apiece now following the race in Canada a fortnight ago, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton get set to square off at the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Join The Roar for a live blog of the race from 11pm AEST.

    The eighth round of the Formula One championship sees the two title protagonists separated by a mere 12 points, at a circuit which last year was made famous for Hamilton’s miserable weekend.

    Azeri capital city Baku lends its streets to a gruelling 6km concrete jungle, blending long straights with narrow 90-degree corners – including the treacherous Turn 8.

    Despite its overwhelming nature, the inaugural 2016 race saw very little carnage across the 51 laps, with no Safety Car appearance surprisingly.

    2017’s wider cars however, may present a more daunting task for the drivers, especially in that mid-field gaggle, where chasing points will be vital in a race of attrition.

    Mercedes AMG have locked out the front-row of the grid, with Hamilton claiming pole position ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas.

    Having been in a position of being in arrears like last year, the Briton pulled ‘the rabbit out of the hat’ for pole, whilst Kimi Räikkönen headed up an all-Ferrari second row.

    Red Bull showed promising pace on Friday, having been able to switch on its tyres better than the championship contenders in the ultra-low grip conditions – however ended up fifth and tenth on the grid, with Daniel Ricciardo in the latter having clipped the wall in Q3.

    The power of the Mercedes-Benz powered customer teams in Force India and Williams also came to the fore in qualifying, with all four of their cars occupying places inside the top ten.

    Force India were strong in 2016, having finished on the podium with Sergio Perez. A fiery race in Canada, where both cars claimed top six finishes – there is an outside podium shot for the team in pink.

    The final row of the grid will be reserved for McLaren, with both cars accumulating a total of 75 places in penalties for the race. This is once again due to mass component changes on the vastly unreliable Honda power units.

    With Hamilton finding form on a circuit he’s struggled at; the stage is set for an exciting race on the low-grip streets of Baku. Who will be on top come Lap 51?

    Tune in from 11pm AEST for The Roar’s live blog coverage of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, as we await the latest twist in the 2017 title tale.