Rosberg claims pole for Russian GP in Sochi

Sebastian Vettel suffered from a 5-place grid penalty which converted his 2nd place qualifying run into a 7th place starting position for Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix. The drama didn’t end there as Lewis Hamilton, looking to open his account on the 2016 Driver’s Championship bid, suffered an engine failure that will see him start at the back of the grid on Sunday.

Lewis’ championship-leading teammate, Nico Rosberg, claimed pole position by qualifying seven tenths ahead of Vettel and keeping his momentum rolling for 2016 with three wins on the trot. Hamilton also had to visit the FIA race control to explain why he failed to follow the prescribed circuit re-entry procedure in turn 2 during Q2.

Many McLaren fans were hoping Sochi would be the circuit that would reward the team with a Q3 appearance, the first since 2014. That didn’t happen as both cars were eliminated in Q2 and in fairness to the team, Jenson Button felt this challenging circuit may not flatter their cars and we may not see what they have in hand until the series returns to Europe.

One of the surprises of the session was the Force India of Sergio Perez who split the Red Bull’s and made it to Q3 in his efforts to finally score points in 2016. Considering his teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, is languishing back in 13th, the Mexican did one heck of a job.

American team Haas F1 struggled in Q2 and will start from 15th and 16th and look to be struggling with grip and balance in the car.

Williams have quietly surged to the front with Valtteri Bottas starting in 2nd and Felipe Massa in 4th. Williams have been roughed up by Ferrari so far this year but the team have reclaimed their pace and position and the question is, can they hold off a charging Kimi Raikkonen in his Ferrari starting from 3rd.

 

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m35.417s
2 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m36.536s 1.119s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m36.663s 1.246s
4 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m37.016s 1.599s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/TAG Heuer 1m37.125s 1.708s
6 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m37.212s 1.795s
7 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m36.123s 0.706s
8 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/TAG Heuer 1m37.459s 2.042s
9 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m37.583s 2.166s
10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
11 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m37.652s
12 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m37.701s
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m37.771s
14 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m37.807s
15 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m38.055s
16 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m38.115s
17 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m38.914s
18 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m39.009s
19 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m39.018s
20 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m39.399s
21 Rio Haryanto Manor/Mercedes 1m39.463s
22 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m39.519s