It’s been a long wait and it may have taken a public criticism of Kimi Raikkonen from Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne but the Scuderia have locked out the front row for the Russian Grand Prix for the first time since 2008 denying Mercedes their 100% record in Sochi.
Ferrari looked dominant in all three practice sessions and I had even ascribed Sochi’s cooler temperatures and smoother track surface as advantage Mercedes but the weekend wasn’t shaping in to that scenario.
Come qualifying, Mercedes did seem to turn the wick up and ran a strong Q2 session but it was Q3 that saw a resurgent Ferrari find the time with Kimi Raikkonen leading provisional pole on their first runs.
On the final runs of the session, Raikkonen ran wide on the final turn allowing teammate Sebastian Vettel to nip pole from him and lead a Ferrari 1, 2 locking out the front row for Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix. Valtteri Bottas was third while Lewis Hamilton was adrift in fourth.
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1.711s|
|7||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1.967s|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||2.143s|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||2.236s|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||2.774s|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||2.754s|
“I think it’s just great”, said Sebastian. “We had had a very good run also yesterday and this morning, and the car was phenomenal. So there’s no real secret to today’s result, it’s just the fact that if you get along with the car you find the rhythm and know what to expect. We knew it would be very tight against the Mercedes, it could have gone the other way, but I am very happy that we locked out the front row for the team. I had a good start to Qualifying , then in Q2 I lost a bit the rhythm. My first run in Q3 was not very tidy, so I left it to the last run. For us it’s so important as Mercedes had done an impeccable job in the last few years, so it’s great for the team and for me that we managed to break that. But now we’ll see what tomorrow brings. It’s a long race and we’ll try to confirm this result”.