Lewis Hamilton took an almost inevitable pole position for the Russian Grand Prix this afternoon, securing the initiative over team-mate Nico Rosberg by just 0.2 seconds after a last-minute scare when Williams’ Valtteri Bottas set fastest sector times for sectors one and two. However, the Finn’s tyres let go with just two corners left and saved Hamilton’s advantage.
Jenson Button was 4th for McLaren ahead of a highly impressive Daniil Kvyat, who planted his Toro Rosso 5th for his home race ahead of his 2015 team-mate-to-be Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull. Kevin Magnussen had set 6th quickest time but will drop to 11th on the grid after application of a gearbox change penalty.
Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Jean Eric Vergne rounded out the top ten, but world champ Sebastian Vettel was left adrift in Q2 when he failed to make the cut – though he moves up to 10th courtesy of Magnussen’s penalty.
Bad luck played a hand again for Pastor Maldonado who again suffered mechanical problems in Q1, but equally Felipe Massa was left disappointed when a fuel pressure problem on his Williams stymied his challenge and left him 17th on the grid.
CLASSIFICATION – Qualifying – Russian Grand Prix – 11th October 2014
*5-Place grid penalties applied