Rosberg claims pole, Sainz clouts wall in Russia

Lewis Hamilton may have muscled teammate Nico Rosberg out at turn on in the Japanese Grand Prix spoiling Nico’s pole position but the German is giving it another go in Russia after claiming the top spot for Sunday’s grand prix.

While in attendance, American Alexander Rossi was not in the Manor/Marussia racing seat this weekend as Roberto Mehri took the wheel for the weekend leaving Rossi to compete in the GP2 race.

The qualifying session was a bit of a crap shoot as all three practice session leading up to it were scuttled by incidents and rain. The teams were left to get their critical setup data and performance metrics in a compressed FP3 and during quali.

Free Practice 3 was spoiled by a scary crash from Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz who thankfully is ok and gunning to race on Sunday but was taken to hospital for observation.

One of the issues of his crash was with the outstanding Tecpro barriers with respect to how they performed. Sainz submarined them and trapped under the protecting material which made it hard to extricate him and had he been seriously injured, that could have been a very serious issue. So much so that Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel said:

“First of all it’s important to know he is fine,” said Vettel.

“But it was shocking to see he was so deep in the barriers, and he was covered by the barriers.

“If you look at the accident of Max in Monaco and compare that to Carlos’s accident today, it was very different the way the barriers worked.

“That’s something we need to understand because it took longer [to recover him] because of that.

“I don’t know if there was anything wrong with the way they installed the barriers, or if it was just a coincidence with the way he crashed.

“But that’s something that needs to be avoided.”

Watching Sainz’s teammate, Max Verstappen, it did seem the STR’s were experiencing similar issues in the particular turn with the front left wheel locking up.

Coming in to the weekend, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was tipped for a good result but he finished Saturday’s qualifying eight tenths off of Nico Rosberg’s pole.

There was also some concern over Pirelli’s decision to bring the softest tires on offer in the soft and super soft compounds. This didn’t bode well for Mercedes in Singapore but it seem the team have gotten on top of those issues taking the front row for Sunday’s race.

Williams quietly walked forward to claim third for Sunday’s grid just ahead of the two Ferrari’s. Valtteri Bottas looked very determined to get Williams back up front and looks to convert his qualifying into a podium on Sunday.

For me, the quiet over-achievers of the qualifying session were Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez who finished 6th and 7th respectively.

1Nico RosbergMercedes1m37.113s
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m37.433s0.320s
3Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes1m37.912s0.799s
4Sebastian VettelFerrari1m37.965s0.852s
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1m38.348s1.235s
6Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes1m38.659s1.546s
7Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1m38.691s1.578s
8Romain GrosjeanLotus/Mercedes1m38.787s1.674s
9Max VerstappenToro Rosso/Renault1m38.924s1.811s
10Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault1m39.728s2.615s
11Daniil KvyatRed Bull/Renault1m39.214s2.101s
12Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari1m39.323s2.210s
13Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda1m39.763s2.650s
14Pastor MaldonadoLotus/Mercedes1m39.811s2.698s
15Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes1m39.895s2.782s
16Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1m40.660s3.547s
17Will StevensMarussia/Ferrari1m43.693s6.580s
18Roberto MerhiMarussia/Ferrari1m43.804s6.691s
19Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda1m40.144s3.031s
20Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Renault


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