Nico Rosberg has taken pole position for the Russian Grand Prix after his team-mate Lewis Hamilton once again was hit by reliability problems. The world champion once again suffered an engine problem at the end of Q2 meaning he will need a new power unit to be fitted overnight ahead of Sunday’s race.
This allowed Rosberg to set the fastest lap from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by .7 of a second. But Vettel will start seventh because of a unscheduled gearbox change which promotes the Williams of Valtteri Bottas to second. The Fin will start ahead of Kimi Raikkonen which may cause drama.
Rosberg said “I was just focused on myself and really going for it and feeling great from Q2 onwards. Of course the others have been unfortunate and that makes my race a little easier tomorrow but an F1 race is never easy.”
Vettel said “I would have liked the gap to be smaller but in Q2 we saw Rosberg was very strong. We benefited from what happened to Lewis so we are now a bit closer. We can have a good race. We are pushing very hard to try and catch up.”
Hamilton would have been hoping for a turn in fortune and to get his season back on track this weekend and the power unit failure could mean a ten place penalty for breaking parc ferme rules if it needs changing.
During last Octobers race in Sochi, Raikkonen and Bottas collided on the final lap of the grand prix. Felipe Massa qualified just behind the two fins giving Williams a good starting place to take some much needed points in the championship.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was sixth which based on practice puts him into a good place for the race tomorrow. The Red Bulls have been sepuarted by the Force India of Sergio Perez ahead of Russian Daniil Kyvat. Kyvat just made it through to Q3 after pushing out Carlos Sainz in the last seconds of Q2.
Jenson Button out qualified McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso for the first time this season. The two former world champions were slightly off the cut off time at the end of Q2 and will be spilt by the Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
The two Haas’s failed to also get into Q3 with Romain Grosjean out qualifying Estban Gutierrez. Renault also dropped out with Kevin Magnuseen ahead of Jolyon Palmyer.
There was some good progress from Sauber as Felipe Nasr was half a second faster than team-mate Marcus Ericcson. But both are still at the back with the Manors of Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto