Formula 1

Pole for Rosberg, woe for Hamilton in Russian GP qualifying

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg claimed his second successive Russian Grand Prix pole in Sochi on Saturday.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg claimed his second successive Russian Grand Prix pole in Sochi on Saturday. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
2 min

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg continued his purple patch this season by grabbing pole position in the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday. Rosberg, who has won all the three races so far, was followed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Williams Valteri Bottas.

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While Rosberg’s gone from strength to strength this season, his teammate and defending double world champion continues to be plagued by misfortunes, the latest being an engine failure that pushed him to 10th on the starting grid for Sunday’s race.

Hamilton had outpaced Rosberg in the final two practice sessions and had matched Rosberg’s pace going into the final qualifying session. However, the engine failure meant Hamilton couldn’t participate in the session resulting in him provisionally lining up in 10th place.

Rosberg pole position was the 24th of his career and a second successive one at Sochi. A win on Sunday would enable Rosberg to tighten the grip on this year’s championship. The 30-year-old German leads this year's title race by 36 points.

Though Vettel finished second, he will start the race from seventh place after getting a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change on his Ferrari.

Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari finished fourth behind Bottas. As a result of Vettel’s penalty, Bottas will start second and Raikkonen third.

Raikkonen was followed by Felipe Massa in the second Williams, Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull, Sergio Perez of Force India, local hero Daniil Kvyat and Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen.

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