Rosberg cruises to Russian GP pole, more trouble for Hamilton

Nico Rosberg claimed pole position for the Russian Grand Prix comfortably, as engine failure sidelined Lewis Hamilton from the qualifying battle for the second Formula 1 race in succession

Rosberg cruises to Russian GP pole, more trouble for Hamilton

Hamilton had a narrow edge over his Mercedes F1 team-mate in the first part of qualifying at Sochi, but was trailing by nearly half a second in Q2 when he suffered a recurrence of the MGU-H failure that ruined his efforts at Shanghai last time out.

That left Hamilton 10th and without a time in Q3, while Rosberg enjoyed a clear path to pole, beating Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari to top spot by more than seven tenths of a second.

Compounding Hamilton's misery, he faces a trip to the stewards to explain why he failed to follow the proper procedure for rejoining from the Turn 2 run-off area after a Q1 mistake.

Rosberg was able to lap comfortably in the 1m35s in Q2 and Q3. He was on for a better lap at the end of Q3 before locking up his brakes and running off track at the end of the long back straight.

Vettel chipped his way into the low 1m36s, but Ferrari and its updated combustion engine had no answer for Mercedes' impressive pace.

Vettel will start seventh on account of a penalty for changing his gearbox after Friday practice.

That means Williams driver Valtteri Bottas will enjoy his first front row start since the 2014 German GP, after outpacing the second Ferrari of fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen by 0.127s.

The second Williams of Felipe Massa was fifth fastest, almost half a second adrift of Bottas, while Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull rounded out the top six.

Sergio Perez impressively split Ricciardo from Red Bull team-mate Daniil Kvyat by going seventh fastest.

Max Verstappen's Toro Rosso lapped 0.124s slower than Kvyat to end up ninth.

A late improvement from Kvyat in the dying moments of Q2 relegated the second Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr to 11th place.

Sainz failed to improve on his final run but remained half a tenth clear of Jenson Button in the better of the two McLaren-Hondas.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg was 13th fastest, reckoning a lap that was nearly half a second adrift of Perez in Q2 to be "as good as it gets".

The second McLaren-Honda of Fernando Alonso was 0.036s slower in 14th, ahead of Haas pairing Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez, who were separated by less than a tenth as Grosjean continued to complain about the unpredictability of his car.

The works Renaults of Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer were more than two tenths away from making the Q2 cut, but separated by less than a tenth in 17th and 18th.

Sauber's Felipe Nasr lay above the cut-off after his first run in Q1, but he went off at the start of his second and failed to improve his time.

The Brazilian wound up just 0.009s shy of Palmer's time but well clear of Pascal Wehrlein in the best of the Manor-Mercedes.

The second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson seemed set to avoid a back-of-the-grid start after a last-gasp improvement, but Rio Haryanto hit back with a late show of his own to return the struggling Ericsson to the bottom of the pile.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

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/Renault 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/Renault 1m37.459s 2.042s
9 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m37.583s 2.166s
10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes - -
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. 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 -

Vettel has five-place grid penalty

shares
comments
Hamilton narrowly pips Rosberg in final Russian GP F1 practice

Previous article

Hamilton narrowly pips Rosberg in final Russian GP F1 practice

Next article

Raikkonen blames errors for missing Russian Grand Prix front row

Raikkonen blames errors for missing Russian Grand Prix front row
Load comments
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021