Russian GP: Vettel leads Ferrari 1-2 in Sochi Qualifying

Russian GP: Vettel leads Ferrari 1-2 in Sochi Qualifying

Sebastian Vettel confirmed Ferrari's practice pace in Sochi by heading a 1-2 in Sochi, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. Valtteri Bottas out-qualifies Lewis Hamilton as Jolyon Palmer crashes out of qualifying and Stoffel Vandoorne qualifies last.

Jake Nichol

Sebastian Vettel claimed his 47th Formula 1 pole position ahead of the Russian Grand Prixleading the first Ferrari 1-2 in qualifying since the 2008 French GP. 

Vettel narrowly edged team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by 0.059 for his first pole since Singapore 2015, with a 1:33.194s, which enabled him to leap-frog Raikkonen's initial benchmark after the Finn failed to improve on the second runs. 

A tense battle between the Ferrari and Mercedes saw Valtteri Bottas get the better of Lewis Hamilton, who could only manage fourth quickest.

Daniel Ricciardo will start fifth, ahead of Felipe Massa, with, Max Verstappen making it a Red Bull 5-7. 

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg had a good session and starts eighth, ahead of the Force India pair of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon. 

Raikkonen and then Vettel

Heading into the shootout session, Mercedes had clawed back some pace on Ferrari in Q1 and Q2, after the Ferrari hat-trick in practice, with Raikkonen's 1:33.253 the fastest lap on the first runs, although he lost time at the final corner on his final lap, which ultimately cost him pole position. 

Vettel, third after the first runs, came through to edge the Finn by 0.059s and take pole, ahead of the struggling Mercedes. 

Bottas, who had the advantage over Hamilton, got within a tenth of Vettel, with Hamilton struggling throughout the session for balance and could only manage a time more than half a second down on Vettel. 

Continuing his love affair with sixth, Massa split the Red Bull's by just 0.051s from Verstappen, as the rest of the top 10 took a familiar feel, with Hulkenberg dicing with Hamilton on the first out-laps for position in Q3, the two coming close to colliding. 

Kvyat out in Q2

Home favourite, Danill Kvyat couldn't get into Q2, and fell out of qualifying, and could only be 13th quickest, although he will start P12, after team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr's three place penalty is applied, after the Spanish driver was 11th quickest, droppig down to P14. 

Lance Stroll was almost a second down on team-mate Massa in Q2, and dropped out, starting 11th, with Kevin Magnussen abandoning his final lap and ending up 14th quickest, ahead of Fernando Alonso's McLaren, which was slowest of all in Q2. 

Up front, all drivers completed Q2 on the Ultrasoft tyre, which means those who made Q3 will start on them, and race strategy will be Ultrasoft/Soft. 

Palmer crashes out of Q1

After Renault rebuilt his chassis overnight, and changed his engine from FP3, Jolyon Palmer crashed out of Q1 in the dying embers, clipping the inside kerb of Turn 4, and ending up in the barrier, eliminating himself in the process. 

Jolyon Palmer's bad start to the season got worse after he crashed  out in Q1. (Image Credit: @F1 Twitter)
Jolyon Palmer's bad start to the season got worse after he crashed out in Q1. (Image Credit: @F1 Twitter)

Pascal Wehrlein spun out of Q1 simultaneously, at Turn 14, being joined in the drop-zone by Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson. 

Stoffel Vandoorne  continued his record of being knocked out in Q1 at every race this season, and will start P20 and last, after qualifying 17th, but being given a 15 place grid penalty after taking a fifth Turbo-charger and MGU-K of the season, when just four are permitted. 

Haas's Romain Grosjean capped off a miserable weekend, by dropping out in Q1, complaining of a lack of balance and yet more brake trouble. 

2017 Russian Grand Prix - The Grid
Position Driver Team
POLE Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
2nd  Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
3rd Valtteri Bottas Mercedes
4th Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
5th Daniel Riccardo Red Bull
6th Felipe Massa Williams
7th Max Verstappen Red Bull
8th Nico Hulkenberg Renault
9th Sergio Perez Force India
10th Esteban Ocon Force India
11th Lance Stroll  Williams
12th Danill Kvyat  Toro Rosso
13th Kevin Magnussen Haas

Carlos Sainz Jr

* Three Place Grid penalty applied

Toro Rosso
15th Fernando Alonso McLaren
16th Jolyon Palmer Renault
17th Pascal Wehrlein Sauber
18th Marcus Ericsson Sauber
19th Romain Grosjean Haas

Stoffel Vandoorne 

*15 Place Grid penalty applied