Final sector woes leave Hamilton struggling for pace in Sochi

Lewis Hamilton will start fourth in Russia, behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas - Credit: Steve Etherington

Lewis Hamilton will start fourth on the grid at the Sochi Autodrom after struggling for pace during qualifying, losing out on pole position by more than half a second to Sebastian Vettel.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team racer admits that the final sector has been causing issues for him all weekend, and it was no different during qualifying, feeling he lost most of the time to Vettel in that particular area, and he expects it to be a similar story on race day.

Hamilton hopes the team can find a solution to their problems overnight so to give him a better chance of securing his second victory of the season and his third in Russia after previously triumphing in 2014 and 2015.

“I just wasn’t quick enough today,” said Hamilton. “It was all in the last sector, I was losing half a second there. I’ve been struggling there all weekend with the balance and it’s been tough to utilise the tyres. We’ll go back to the drawing board tonight and try and improve.

“Ferrari did a great job. They look quick on race pace and my race runs weren’t great yesterday, so it’s going to be tough. But we’ll give everything we’ve got. Sochi isn’t the easiest track to follow on, but there are long straights which should offer the opportunity to move forward. That’s our goal.

“I’m on the dirty side of the grid so I haven’t done myself any favours off the start. But that was the best job I could do today. We’ve got a real race to look forward to. There’s no point being upset; we’ll channel our positive energy and hopefully Sunday will be better.”