By Steve Aibel, Senior F1 Writer
Nico Rosberg added the Russian Grand Prix pole position to his impressive set of credentials as we wind up the first set of flyaway races. Rosberg showed the dominance of the Mercedes package as both cars were comfortably ahead of the field during the qualifying session.
This is Rosbergs second pole of the season.
Hamilton again suffered disaster, experiencing the same MGU-H power issue as he did in China. This left him out of the final qualifying session and again will see him fighting from the rear of the field rather than from the front.
For Hamilton, frankly, he just is not getting a break.
Sebastian Vettel was second fastest in Q3, however a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change will set him back at the start. This penalty places Williams driver Valtteri Bottas on the front row alongside Rosberg. Felipe Massa qualified 5th but will start on the second row due to the Vettel penalty. Solid positions for Williams.
Kimi Raikkonen qualified 4th fastest for Ferrari. The Scuderia still appear to be behind the Mercedes duo in terms of pure speed even though they have brought an upgraded engine to the Sochi party.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Force India’s Sergio Perez will grid up in the third row followed by Sebastian Vettel and hometown favorite Daniil Kvyat.
Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen out qualified teammate Carlos Sainz and will line up next to Lewis Hamilton in places 9 and 10. Sainz qualified in position 11.
The McLaren’s of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso were aiming for Q3 after showing the improved pace in practice of the Honda power unit. Both drivers came up short, however with Button coming home in 12th and Alonso 14th.
The Haas duo of Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez slotted in 15th and 16th easily 2.5 seconds off the pole setting pace of Nico Rosberg.
Renault, Manor and Sauber again brought up the rear of the field with none of their cars making it out of Q1.
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:37.125|
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:37.212|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||1:37.458|
|9||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:37.583|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:37.652|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:37.771|
* Five place grid penalty for Sebastian Vettel (Gearbox change)
Image: Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team