Nico Rosberg will start from pole position for the 2015 Russian Grand Prix from teammate Lewis Hamilton and Williams’ Valterri Bottas.
The Mercedes driver was quickest in each part of Qualifying this afternoon, with Hamilton making a mistake on his final run in Q3 at turn 12, which put him off the track and made him abort the run in the closing stages. In the end there was three tenths between them, after Rosberg managed to bang out a 1:37.113 – the fastest lap we’ve ever seen around Sochi.
With the front row tied up it looked like Bottas might get pipped to P3 by Sebastien Vettel, but the Ferrari driver was unable to put a lap together in the end, despite making tweaks to combat understeer that he detected during his first run.
In the first part of Qualifying the two Mercedes drivers set the pace on the Soft tyre, whilst everyone else switched to the Soft with the exception of Daniel Ricciardo. The cut off lap time ended up being a 1:39.9, which Daniil Kvyat only just made in his final attempt at the chequered flag. That put Perez under pressure, who spoiled his first attempt by going off at turn 2. The next lap however he posted a time good enough for P10, whilst Maldonado also improved which put Button and Alonso in the drop zone.
Button finished the session in P13 after improving on his final attempt whilst Alonso didn’t, which allowed Felipe Nasr to stay out of the drop zone. Teammate Ericsson however joined Stevens, Merhi, and Alonso after not making the cut-off.
In the second part of Qualifying the big story was Massa dropping out, after getting caught up in traffic and complaining about his rear tyres overheating. He starts from P15 tomorrow, whilst homeboy Kvyat finished the session in P11 and unable to improve.
Maldonado also looked like he picked up traffic on his run, which made him over a second slower than teammate Romain Grosjean, who starts in P8 tomorrow ahead of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo who start P9 and P10 respectively.
Ahead of them is both Force India’s of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, whom were sent out during the interval between the top teams setting their first and second timed laps during the session.