Sebastian Vettel suffered from a 5-place grid penalty which converted his 2nd place qualifying run into a 7th place starting position for Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix. The drama didn’t end there as Lewis Hamilton, looking to open his account on the 2016 Driver’s Championship bid, suffered an engine failure that will see him start at the back of the grid on Sunday.
Lewis’ championship-leading teammate, Nico Rosberg, claimed pole position by qualifying seven tenths ahead of Vettel and keeping his momentum rolling for 2016 with three wins on the trot. Hamilton also had to visit the FIA race control to explain why he failed to follow the prescribed circuit re-entry procedure in turn 2 during Q2.
Many McLaren fans were hoping Sochi would be the circuit that would reward the team with a Q3 appearance, the first since 2014. That didn’t happen as both cars were eliminated in Q2 and in fairness to the team, Jenson Button felt this challenging circuit may not flatter their cars and we may not see what they have in hand until the series returns to Europe.
One of the surprises of the session was the Force India of Sergio Perez who split the Red Bull’s and made it to Q3 in his efforts to finally score points in 2016. Considering his teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, is languishing back in 13th, the Mexican did one heck of a job.
American team Haas F1 struggled in Q2 and will start from 15th and 16th and look to be struggling with grip and balance in the car.
Williams have quietly surged to the front with Valtteri Bottas starting in 2nd and Felipe Massa in 4th. Williams have been roughed up by Ferrari so far this year but the team have reclaimed their pace and position and the question is, can they hold off a charging Kimi Raikkonen in his Ferrari starting from 3rd.
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1m37.125s||1.708s|
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.212s||1.795s|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1m37.459s||2.042s|
|9||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m37.583s||2.166s|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m37.652s||–|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.771s||–|