Rosberg eases to Russian GP pole as Hamilton hits trouble

ChTIQYnW4AAN_FCNico Rosberg will start Sunday’s 2016 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix from pole position, after topping Sochi qualifying by 0.706s from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton finished tenth as a power unit failure ruled him out of Q3.

With Vettel carrying a five-place grid penalty due to an unscheduled gearbox change, the German will start seventh behind – in qualifying order – Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, Williams’ Felipe Massa, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, and Force India’s Sergio Perez.

Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen and the luckless Hamilton completed the top ten.

Hamilton was downbeat but philosophical after his technical problems, a recurrence of the same issue his car suffered last time out in China. They mean he now faces the possibility of again starting from the back of the grid.

“There’s nothing I can do… I never give up,” said the world champion, who also has to visit the stewards to explain why he did not rejoin the track in the manner required by the race director after running slightly wide at Turn 2 during Q1.

The opening phase saw Hamilton edge out Rosberg with 1m 36.006s to 1m 36.119s – both comfortably faster than they had been in FP3. Vettel was close, but not close enough, with 1m 36.555s.

As Esteban Gutierrez joined Haas team mate Romain Grosjean in progressing to Q2, Kevin Magnussen narrowly beat Renault team mate Jolyon Palmer but both failed to get through. Behind them, Felipe Nasr took 19th for Sauber, as Pascal Wehrlein just headed Manor partner Rio Haryanto. Marcus Ericsson brought up the rear in the second Sauber.

Rosberg owned Q2 with a lap of 1m 35.337s, half a second up on Hamilton and a whole 1.3s up on Vettel.

Further back, Daniil Kvyat delighted the crowd when his final effort lifted him to 10th, and Q3, in the dying seconds. That bumped Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz by 0.046s. There was no joy for McLaren either; Jenson Button was left 12th, two places ahead of team mate Fernando Alonso. They sandwiched Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India, as the two Haas cars of Grosjean and Gutierrez finished 15th and 16th.

As Hamilton’s latest ERS drama unfolded and precluded him from running, Rosberg owned Q3 too. His first run yielded 1m 35.417s to Vettel’s 1m 36.259s and Raikkonen’s 1m 36.695s.

Rosberg’s next try saw him faster in the first two sectors before the lap was ruined by an off in Turn 13, but by then the job was long done.

Vettel improved from 1m 36.259s to 1m 36.123s, but drops to seventh after his penalty, which means that with the third fastest time of 1m 36.536s Bottas will make Williams’ first front-row start since Germany two years ago.

Russian Grand Prix Qualifying Results
Pos. Car # Driver Q1 Q2 Q3 Gap Laps
1 6 Nico Roseberg 1:36.199 1:35.337 1:35.417 Leader 16
2 5 Sebastian Vettel 1:36.555 1:36.623 1:36.123 -0.706 16
3 77 Valtteri Bottas 1:37.746 1:37.140 1:36.536 -0.413 17
4 7 Kimi Raikkonen 1:36.979 1:36.741 1:36.663 -0.127 17
5 19 Felipe Massa 1:37.753 1:37.230 1:37.016 -0.353 16
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo 1:38.091 1:37.569 1:37.125 -0.109 22
7 11 Sergio Perez 1:38.006 1:37.282 1:37.212 -0.087 20
8 26 Daniil Kvyat 1:38.265 1:37.606 1:37.459 -0.247 22
9 33 Max Verstappen 1:38.123 1:37.510 1:37.583 -0.124 20
10 44 Lewis Hamiton 1:36.006 1:35.820 0:00.000 1.763 13
11 55 Carlos Sainz Jr 1:37.784 1:37.652 Eliminated -1.832 14
12 22 Jenson Button 1:38.332 1:37.701 Eliminated -0.049 14
13 27 Nico Hulkenberg 1:38.562 1:37.771 Eliminated -0.070 17
14 14 Fernando Alonso 1:37.971 1:37.807 Eliminated -0.036 14
15 8 Romain Grojean 1:38.383 1:38.055 Eliminated -0.248 16
16 21 Esteban Gutierrez 1:38.678 1:38.115 Eliminated -0.060 18
17 20 Kevin Magnussen 1:38.914 Eliminated -0.799 10
18 30 Jolyon Palmer 1:39.009 Eliminated -0.095 9
19 12 Felipe Nasr 1:39.018 Eliminated -0.009 10
20 94 Pascal Wehrlein 1:39.399 Eliminated -0.381 10
21 88 Rio Haryanto 1:39.463 Eliminated -0.064 10
22 9 Marcus Ericsson 1:39.519 Eliminated -0.056 10

 

 

 

 

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