Sebastian Vettel secured his first pole position since the Singapore Grand Prix of 2015 as Scuderia Ferrari locked out the front row of the grid for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday.
The German denied Kimi Raikkonen the pole by setting a time of 1:33.194s as the chequered flag fell, 0.059 seconds faster than the Finn after being third fastest after the first run of session.
Vettel and Raikkonen will form the first all-Ferrari front row since the 2008 French Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas continuing his run of never being out-qualified by a team-mate at the Sochi Autodrom, finishing third for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, 0.095 seconds down on the pole time.
The second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton had a scruffy trio of sessions and could only manage fourth on the grid, more than half a second down on Vettel, but comfortably clear of the rest of the pack as Ferrari and Mercedes dominated once again.
Daniel Ricciardo was the best of the rest in fifth for Red Bull Racing, 1.711 seconds down on the pole time, while Felipe Massa managed to split the two Red Bull’s for the Williams Martini Racing team, the Brazilian ending up 0.051 seconds quicker than Max Verstappen.
Nico Hülkenberg was eighth fastest for the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, the German out-qualifying both Sahara Force India F1 Team drivers, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon. For Ocon it was a big step forward as it was the first time in Q3 for the 2015 GP3 Series champion.
Carlos Sainz Jr missed out on Q3 by just 0.219 seconds, but the Scuderia Toro Rosso driver will drop three places on the grid as a result of the penalty he brought into the event following his clash with Lance Stroll in Bahrain two weeks ago.
Ironically, the first driver to profit from Sainz’s penalty will be Stroll, with the Williams driver just 0.016 seconds slower than the Spaniard but 0.915 seconds down on team-mate Massa. A mistake on his final flying lap after hitting the kerbs in the final sector cost him time, but he was still able to out-qualify the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat by just 0.004 seconds.
Kevin Magnussen was fourteenth fastest for the Haas F1 Team, another 0.049 seconds down on the Russian, with the Dane the last of those set to profit from Sainz’s penalty, meaning Fernando Alonso will start at best fifteenth for the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team.
Alonso did well to make it through to Q2 after a strong lap in the MCL32, but he could not muster enough to beat any of his rivals during the session, ending more than seven-tenths down on a Q3 spot.
Jolyon Palmer crashed out of qualifying just as the chequered flag fell in Q1 after crashing at turn four. The Briton clobbered the kerb on the inside of the turn and found himself a passenger as his Renault hit the wall hard nose-first before coming to a rest. The crash meant those following him could not improve their time, but Palmer will start at best sixteenth.
Stoffel Vandoorne will start at the back of the grid after being eliminated in Q1 in the second McLaren, finishing seventeenth fastest but with a fifteen-place grid penalty for an engine change.
Pascal Wehrlein out-qualified Sauber F1 Team team-mate Marcus Ericsson in eighteenth and nineteenth despite a late spin of his own at turn thirteen as he looked to improve his time.
Romain Grosjean was down at the back of the field as his issues this weekend continued into qualifying, failing to get a lap in to match his Haas team-mate Magnussen, and was full of complaints over the radio. He was also one of the drivers to be forced to back off on his final lap due to the incidents for Palmer and Wehrlein.
Sochi Autodrom Qualifying Result
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