Russian GP: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton to F1 pole position

Nico Rosberg claimed his second consecutive pole position in Formula 1, as Mercedes comfortably set the pace in qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix

Russian GP: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton to F1 pole position

The German was faster than Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton throughout the session at Sochi, and he was able to deny the world championship leader a 50th career pole for the second race running.

Cool track conditions meant the drivers had to complete more than one timed lap on a set of tyres to get them up to temperature, and both Mercedes drivers only attempted one run in Q3.

Rosberg lapped 0.320 seconds faster than Hamilton on his first flying lap, before Hamilton made a mistake and went off at Turn 13 on his second flier, so headed for the pits.

Rosberg was 0.160s slower than his best on his second flying lap, but that mattered not, as his earlier time was enough to secure his third pole of the season.

Valtteri Bottas was again best-of-the-rest, fractionally clear of Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari, which improved by nearly two tenths on its second Q3 run but fell 0.053s short of toppling the Williams.

Vettel's Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen made a mistake on his second Q3 effort at the same spot as Hamilton and wound up fifth fastest, ahead of Force India pair Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, who were separated by less than half a tenth of a second.

Romain Grosjean's Lotus, Max Verstappen's Toro Rosso, and the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top 10.

Russian home hero Daniil Kvyat failed to make the top-10 shootout by just under a tenth of a second, setting the 11th fastest time in Q2 and complaining: "the tyres were not ready" temperature-wise.

Felipe Nasr put in a strong performance for Sauber to set the 12th fastest time, just 0.111s slower than Kvyat's Red Bull.

Jenson Button was over half a second further back in 14th, but faster than the second Lotus of Pastor Maldonado.

Felipe Massa made a mess of his first run in Q2 then failed to make the cut on his final run, complaining of traffic.

The Braziian was only 15th fastest, a full 1.701s slower than Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who was third quickest in Q2.

Fernando Alonso was the highest-profile driver to fail to make it through the first part of qualifying.

Last-gasp improvements from McLaren team-mate Button and Nasr put the double world champion out in Q1.

RUSSIAN GP GRID

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.113s -
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m37.433s 0.320s
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m37.912s 0.799s
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m37.965s 0.852s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m38.348s 1.235s
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m38.659s 1.546s
7 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m38.691s 1.578s
8 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1m38.787s 1.674s
9 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m38.924s 1.811s
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m39.728s 2.615s
11 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m39.214s 2.101s
12 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m39.323s 2.210s
13 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m39.763s 2.650s
14 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m39.811s 2.698s
15 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m39.895s 2.782s
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m40.660s 3.547s
17 Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 1m43.693s 6.580s
18 Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari 1m43.804s 6.691s
19 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m40.144s 3.031s
20 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault - -

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