F1 2014 Russian Grand Prix qualifying result: Hamilton claims Sochi pole position

PUBLISHED: 13:31 11 October 2014 | UPDATED: 17:54 11 October 2014

Lewis Hamilton driving around the Sochi circuit ahead of the 2014 Russian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Lewis Hamilton driving around the Sochi circuit ahead of the 2014 Russian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Mercedes-Benz

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton claimed the inaugural pole position at Sochi in qualifying for the 2014 Russian Grand Prix.

The 29-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas racer from Hertfordshire will start Sunday’s race in Russia from the front of the grid after snatching his seventh pole of 2014.

Silver Arrows colleague Nico Rosberg will line-up alongside Hamilton on the starting grid in second place as Mercedes claimed its ninth front-row lockout of the season and fifth in succession.

Hamilton, the 2008 F1 world champion, went quickest in Q3 with a lap of 1m 38.513s, with Rosberg 0.200s slower.

Williams driver Valtteri Bottas was third in the provisional qualifying results after a lap of 1m38.920s.

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 Finnish racer looked on course to snatch pole from Hamilton until he made a mistake in the third sector and lost time at the final two corners.

Hamilton’s 38th career pole position marks the Mercedes team’s 15th pole from 16 races during the 2014 season.

The FIA World Championship leader was delighted to take pole on the sport’s first visit to Russia. He said: “It’s an amazing feeling to come to this beautiful place and to race on this track. It’s fun to drive.

“Today, the laps in practice felt more special. In qualifying it seemed a bit harder to get that special lap but I’m grateful that I was able to improve. I crossed the line and I was just hoping I got it; when they tell you, it’s the biggest relief – a great feeling.”

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]

Of the Sochi circuit, Hamilton added: “The corners are mostly medium and high speed where you need a lot of downforce, so tomorrow [Sunday] should be a challenge.

“It’s a long run down to Turn One and we need to be mindful there are opportunities to overtake here.

“It was great to see such a strong turnout for the first Saturday of running at this new track. Hopefully we can give them a good show tomorrow.”

Both Silver Arrows drivers completed just three runs in qualifying, using one set of option tyres in each part of the session.

F1 2014 Russian Grand Prix

Sochi Qualifying Result:

1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

2 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

3 Valtteri Bottas (Williams)

4 Jenson Button (McLaren)

5 Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso)

6 Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) *

7 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)

8 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

9 Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

10 Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso)

[* Five-place grid penalty]

Rosberg said: “That was a very difficult qualifying today; we had to adapt a lot of things. The track is new and so unique: the tyres last very long as the surface is very smooth.

“Lewis was just quicker today [Saturday] so I need to have a good start tomorrow. Starting from the front-row is still a good position to begin the race.

“I guess this will be an exciting Grand Prix; there will be some opportunities to overtake on the straights and I am sure we will see plenty of action on track.”

It was also a good qualifying session for McLaren after earlier third practice problems, with Jenson Button P4 and team-mate Kevin Magnussen sixth, although the Danish driver will take a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox failure in third practice and will start 11th.

F1 2014 Russian Grand Prix

Sochi starting grid:

1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

2 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

3 Valtteri Bottas (Williams)

4 Jenson Button (McLaren)

5 Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso)

6 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)

7 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

8 Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

9 Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso)

10 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

Splitting the two McLaren men in Q3 at his home race was Russian Toro Rosso star Daniil Kvyat, who qualified fifth on a 1m 39.277s.

Former world champion Button said: “We were strong on both Options and Primes [tyres] yesterday, in both FP1 and FP2, but this morning in FP3 we went backwards, even though we weren’t running a lot of fuel.

“With the set-up we’d adopted, the car just wasn’t working for us, but, importantly, we kept our heads after that, worked through the issues, and came to qualifying with a much improved car.

“Tomorrow, I really don’t know what to expect. Our long runs have been pretty good, but it isn’t obvious how many pit-stops most drivers will be making.

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

“If you lock up here, however, you’ll completely flat-spot a tyre, and, if you do that, a one-stopper will become untenable, so as I say it won’t be straightforward at all.”

Button added: “Valtteri [Bottas] is obviously the guy we’ll be trying to pick off from the start of tomorrow’s race. His pace looked good yesterday and today, but Fridays and Saturdays are very different from Sundays.”

Button’s McLaren colleague Magnussen said: “Today hasn’t been a good day. We didn’t get anything out of FP3 – as Jenson says we went the wrong way on set-up – but, even so, this afternoon things felt pretty good for me in Q1 and Q2.

“In Q3, however, the car felt very different. As a result I wasn’t able to get near the time I’d set in Q2, so we’ll need to look into what happened there.

2014 World Constructors’ Championship

After Round 15:

1 Mercedes 522

2 Red Bull 332

3 Williams 201

4 Ferrari 178

5 Force India 122

6 McLaren 121

“Overall, though, our pace has been a bit better than usual here, so it’s obviously a shame for us to have been hit with a five-place grid penalty [imposed in respect of a gearbox failure in FP3].

“Even so, I hope we’ll be able to make good progress in the race.

“It won’t be easy, because we’ll be starting quite far back [P11], but at least overtaking is possible here: moreover, there’s a good DRS zone, and quite a long straight down to Turn Two, and our long-run pace hasn’t been too bad, so all in all I’m fairly positive we’ll be able to make up some positions.”

In the Q3 qualification results, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was seventh, Ferrari ace Fernando Alonso eighth, Kimi Raikkonen ninth and Jean-Eric Vergne, of Toro Rosso, 10th.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg after completing a front-row lockout in qualifying for the 2014 Russian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg after completing a front-row lockout in qualifying for the 2014 Russian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel failed to qualify for the top 10 shootout, but in the revised grid order following penalties, the Red Bull driver will line-up on the fifth row in 10th place, with Vergne promoted to ninth.

The all Mercedes front row tomorrow (Sunday) will be Hamilton and Rosberg, with Bottas and Button behind them on row two.

Row three will feature Kvyat and Ricciardo, the Red Bull driver benefitting from Magnussen’s penalty. Ferrari will make up the fourth row of the starting grid.

The 2014 Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi will start at noon UK time on Sunday.

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