Rosberg To Start From Pole in Russian Grand Prix

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.

Qualifying Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:35.417
2 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:36.536
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:36.663
4 Felipe Massa Williams 1:37.016
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:37.125
6 Sergio Perez Force India 1:37.212
7 Sebastian Vettel** Ferrari 1:36.123
8 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:37.458
9 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:37.583
10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
11 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:37.652
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1:37.701
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:37.771
14 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:37.807
15 Romain Grosjean Haas  1:38.005
16 Esteban Gutierrez Haas  1:38.115
17 Kevin Magnussen Renault   1:38.914
18 Jolyon Palmer Renault   1:39.009
19 Felipe Nasr Sauber   1:39.018
20 Pascal Wehrlein Manor   1:39.399
21 Rio Haryanto Manor   1:39.463
22 Marcus Ericsson Sauber   1:39.519

* Five place grid penalty for Sebastian Vettel (Gearbox change)

Image: Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team

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Growing up in a racing family, Steve Aibel was surrounded by Allards, Crosleys and Corvettes! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Steve was drawn to the automobile magazines strewn throughout the house and Formula 1 in particular. With go karts, motorcycles and vintage race cars in the garage, it was inevitable that the torch would be carried by Steve. Lime Rock Park was his own personal playground while still keeping an eye on the pinnacle of motorsports overseas called Formula 1. Now, in the shadows of Circuit of the Americas, Steve is able to not only follow F1, he makes it the object of this racing stories. This passion for Formula 1 is shared weekly writing original articles for both Tribute Racing and Drafting the Circuits. He also participates in two weekly radio shows. Drafting The Circuits, (http://whoobazoo.com/draftingthecircuits), which airs Tuesday evening at 7 pm CST and Formula 1 Racing Plus (https://www.facebook.com/Formula1RacingPLUS), which broadcasts throughout the week on Performance Motorsports Network. Steve's motorsports photography can be found at www.littleorcasports.com

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