F1 2014 Russian Grand Prix qualifying: Hamilton battles for Sochi pole position

PUBLISHED: 05:51 11 October 2014 | UPDATED: 22:28 11 October 2014

Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton on track in Sochi ahead of the 2014 Russian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton on track in Sochi ahead of the 2014 Russian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]


Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton battles for pole position in qualifying for the 2014 Russian Grand Prix at Sochi today (Saturday).

Sochi Autodrom – the stats you need

* Race distance: 53 laps (310.209km/192.764 miles)

* Start time: 15:00 (local)/11:00 (GMT)

* Circuit length: 5.853km/3.637 miles

* Lap record: N/A (predicted lap time 1m37s)

* First race: 2014

The 29-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas star from Hertfordshire toppped the practice timesheets at the Sochi Autodrom on Friday.

And the FIA F1 World Drivers’ Championship leader will be looking to repeat that performance in the first qualifying session at the sport’s newest circuit today (Saturday), to secure a front-row grid position.

Hamilton and Silver Arrows colleague Nico Rosberg both impressed in first practice in Russia, with McLaren racer Kevin Magnussen second fastest in the afternoon session. Hamilton was still 0.864 seconds faster than the rest.

Afterwards, he said: “I like the new circuit; it’s got really good grip and great corners, with a lot at medium speed. It’s good fun.

“McLaren look close which is great for everyone as it should make for a decent race.”

The 5.853km/3.637-mile Sochi track is located in the heart of the Black Sea resort and it weaves its way around the architecturally eye-catching venues originally built for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Designed by acclaimed architect Hermann Tilke, the first purpose-built F1 track in Russia is a challenging layout and is the third longest on the 2014 calendar.

With the racing line being on the left, this side of the starting grid is expected to have more grip come Sunday’s race.

2014 FIA World Drivers’ Championship

Classification after Round 15:

1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 266 points

2 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 256

3 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 193

4 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 139

5 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 133

6 Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 130

7 Jenson Button (McLaren) 82

8 Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) 76

9 Felipe Massaa (Williams) 71

10 Sergio Perez (Force India) 46

Plans for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix first came to prominence in 2010, with construction of the facility falling under the design supervision of Hermann Tilke.

The track itself varies in width from 13 metres at its narrowest point to 15 metres at the start-finish line.

Running in a clockwise direction, the layout consists of 12 right-hand and seven left-hand corners and combines both high-speed and technical sections.

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