Russian GP – Qualifying Report

An eventful qualifying session at Sochi ended with Lewis Hamilton taking pole position as he aims to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 Grand Prix wins come Sunday. 

The first session saw Kimi Raikkonen fail to make it past Q1 as he spun on his final attempt at setting a lap time. His teammate Antonio Giovinazzi also failed to qualify into the second session setting him apart with the unwanted stat of being the only driver this season to not make it into Q2. With much speculation of Ferrari academy affiliates like Mick Schumacher being promoted into formula 1 next year the young Italian’s seat at Alfa Romeo may not be as secured as he’d like it to be.

George Russell managed to squeeze himself into Q2 and capture P14 on the starting grid and outqualifying his teammate for the thirty first time, as is commonly known the Briton has never been outdone by a teammate during qualifying. 

Q2 was also the ending point of both Ferrari drivers in what has become a terrible season for the Scuderia as Charles Leclerc failed to break into the top ten with a time that handed him P11 and teammate Sebastian Vettel who’s qualifying session came to an abrupt end due to a crash that saw the entire session getting red flagged. This spelt trouble for Lewis Hamilton as the six time world champion was yet to put in a lap time as his previous time had been deleted due to exceeding track limits and the one he was on was interrupted due to Vettel’s crash. This left a little over two minutes for Hamilton to complete an outlap and then set his time for qualification into Q3.

As the session resumed several cars made their way out of the pitlane to try and make the most of the very little time that was left, not amongst them was Lance Stroll who’s car seemed to have undergone a malfunction. With 1.25 seconds left in the session Lewis Hamilton managed to cross the line to cross the line and set a time good enough for him to qualify into Q3.

In the third session of qualifying the defending champion was able to secure pole position for the ninety sixth time but he will not have his teammate for company in the first row as Max Verstappen managed to capture P2 with Valtteri Bottas rounding up the top 3. Sergio Perez who was stellar throughout the weekend will start fourth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in fifth. Further down the grid Alex Albon who is fresh off a podium will have a disappointing start in tenth place behind the man who he replaced at Redbull, Pierre Gasly. 

1. Lewis Hamilton 
2. Max Verstappen 
3. Valtteri Bottas 
4. Sergio Perez 
5. Daniel Ricciardo 
6. Carlos Sainz
7. Esteban Ocon
8. Lando Norris
9. Pierre Gasly
10. Alexander Albon
11. Charles Leclerc 
12. Daniil Kvyat
13. Lance Stroll
14. George Russell
15. Sebastian Vettel
16. Romain Grosjean
17. Antonio Giovinazzi
18. Kevin Magnussen 
19. Nicholas Latifi
20. Kimi Raikkonen 

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