SOCHI: Championship leader Nico Rosberg took full advantage of his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton’s continuing ill-fortune yesterday when he secured a comfortable pole position for today’s Russian Grand Prix.
The 30-year-old German, who leads this year’s title race by 36 points after winning the opening three races in succession, clocked a fastest lap in 1min 35.417sec to take the prime spot on the grid.
This left him over seven-tenths of a second clear of Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari after defending three-time world champion Hamilton had been hit by another engine failure during the Q2 part of the qualifying session. Hamilton was unable to take part in Q3 and provisionally will line up in 10th place on the grid.
Kvyat hoping to harness home support in Sochi
For Rosberg, it was a second successive pole in Sochi and the 24th of his career, ensuring he has the best possible chance to tighten his grip in the championship.
“I was just focused on myself and doing my job today so I didn’t know about the others,” said Rosberg. “Others have been extremely unfortunate today, but a Formula One race is never easy. The opposition are still there.”
Vettel, who had stopped on-track during the practice session, is expected to start from seventh on the grid because he has a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change on his Ferrari.
Hamilton in hunt for Russia hat-trick
“I think for us it was a good recovery but I would have liked the gap to be smaller,” he said. “Nico is very strong but we have gained from what happened to Lewis. And I am starting, at least, from the clean side of the track!”
Finn Valtteri Bottas of Williams outpaced compatriot Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari to qualify third and start second alongside Rosberg.
Raikkonen was fourth ahead of Felipe Massa in the second Williams, Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull, Sergio Perez of Force India and local hero Daniil Kvyat who was eighth in the second Red Bull.
Dutch teenager Max Verstappen was ninth for Toro Rosso with Hamilton 10th.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2016.
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