Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has beaten his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by .05 of a second to take the first non-Mercedes pole position at the Russian Grand Prix. It was a tight fight between the top two teams, with less than a second between the top two teams.
It was a very close fight giving a chance for a real fight between the two teams, but Vettel held it together and improved in his time on his last run. But Valtteri Bottas was unable to find enough to split the Ferrari’s allowing them to take their first front row lockout, since the 2008 French Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas out-qualified Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the second race in a row. The Mercedes drivers just didn’t appear as if they had quite enough to challenge the prancing horse. It looked like as Hamilton was just making silly mistakes on track.
Vettel said “We had a good start to the season. In qualifying, Mercedes have been very strong. We are in front here. We managed to improve the car for this race. I am sure it will be close tomorrow. They had good pace on the long run but for now we are very pleased we are back.”
Hamilton told Sky Sports “I just wasn’t quick enough today, it was all in the last sector – half a second was in the last sector – so there’s some work to do. Ferrari are quickest in qualifying and generally in race trim.”
Ferrari has been in strong form all weekend and looked strong in Q3, from the start of the session the team appeared to be close to the Mercedes on pace.
Hamilton looked like he was able to match that on his last run, but he lost time and tyre performance in the final sector.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was best of the rest taking fifth, but the car appears to have slipped further behind the front-runners with the Australian over a second behind Hamilton.
But, the Red Bull’s appear as if they are stuck being ahead of the rest of the field, however, not being close enough to fight with the leading teams. Williams’s Felipe Massa slipped in between Ricciardo and his team-mate Max Verstappen.
It was another good qualifying for Nico Hulkenberg, he got his Renault into Q3 for the second race in a row getting ahead of both the Force India’s of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon completed the top 10.
Carlos Sainz was eleventh, the Spaniard heading a group which was just as tight as the battle for the front. Sainz was narrowly ahead of Williams Lance Stroll, that was despite the Canadian making a mistake on his last lap of the session.
Kevin Magnussen was not far of either with the Haas driver being less half a tenth off. The Dane was, however, was clearly faster than Fernando Alonso. While Alonso’s team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne couldn’t get out of Q1 and starts last.
Pascal Wehrlein was 18th in the best of the Saubers, lucky to survive a spin unscathed at Turn 13 at the end of Q1. But, Haas’s Romain Grosjean continued to struggle with his breaks and because of Palmer’s crash he was unable to improve his time.
- NOTEBOOK – Russian Practice
- RUSSIAN GP – Vettel fastest in second practice by a quarter of a second from Raikkonen and Bottas
- RUSSIAN GP – Raikkonen fastest in first practice edging out Bottas by four hundredths of a second
- TFTV – 2014 Russian Grand Prix
- Data Profile – Russian Grand Prix
- Preview – Russian Grand Prix