Charles Leclerc says his Scuderia Ferrari “was amazing to drive” after securing a fourth consecutive pole position.
Leclerc was four tenths quicker than the Mercedes AMG Motorsport of Lewis Hamilton with Sebastian Vettel in third.
Mercedes have dominated the Russian Grand Prix in previous years but Leclerc and Ferrari say they are only focusing on themselves as they aim to keep their excellent run of form following the summer break going.
“The car was amazing to drive and the team did a great job anticipating the track evolution and setting up the car in the best way.
“We are just focusing on ourselves and the work we are doing seems to be slowly paying off.
“On my side, I continue focusing on the negative and working to improve and learn as much as I can.”
Leclerc admitted he made a mistake on his Q3 lap but
says he will forget about it now and focus on the race and thinks it could be
difficult to stay at the front.
“The lap in Q3 was great, apart from when I lost the rear a bit in turns 16 and 17.
“I’m still happy to end the day with a result like this, but I am already fully focused on the race now.
“Our race pace was good in FP2, which is a positive sign.
“We will start the race on different tyres to our competitors, but I don’t think that there is a huge difference between the soft and medium compounds in terms of their degradation.
“It will be difficult and crucial to keep everyone behind at the start, because it’s a long way to turn two. I will give it all I’ve got.”
Sebastian Vettel admits he wasn’t “entirely satisfied” after qualifying third for tomorrow’s race.
The German was second after the first runs in the final part of qualifying but was pushed down to the second row of the grid in the final seconds of the session.
Vettel had been under pressure earlier in the session
after a red flag in Q1 disrupted his running.
“Overall I was reasonably happy with the car, but not entirely satisfied.
“Q1 was a bit complex as I made a mistake on my first attempt and then I was slowed by two yellow flags.
“I found it difficult to get into a clean rhythm, especially towards the end of Quali, when it was vital to extract the absolute maximum out of the car.”
Vettel feels the race will be interesting with the
contrasting strategies from Ferrari and Mercedes but the four time champion believes
the team has made the right choice.
“However the race is tomorrow and I am confident.
“We need a good start and then we can think about the rest of it.
“We start on the clean side, on the Softs while the Mercedes are on Mediums and being on different tyre strategies will make for an interesting fight.
“I believe we have made the right tyre choice for the start and I think we have an advantage over our rivals down the straight, so a tow might come into play.”