F1: Hamilton Continues to Roll; Wraps Up Seventh Pole of Season in Sochi

RaceChaser Staff Featured, Formula One, International, Sprints & Midgets 0 Comments

SOCHI, Russia – official release — Mercedes photo — Lewis Hamilton will start the inaugural Formula One Russian Grand Prix from the pole after edging out Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas in Saturday’s qualifying session in Sochi.

“It’s an amazing feeling to come to this beautiful place and to race on this track. It’s fun to drive,” said Hamilton following his pole-winning run. “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.”

“The corners are mostly medium and high speed where you need a lot of downforce, so tomorrow 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.”

McLaren’s Jenson Button was fourth quickest, just ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, a Russian who delighted his home fans by claiming fifth.

Q1 proved a disaster for Felipe Massa in the second Williams. As Hamilton set the pace with a one-minute, 38.759-second lap, the Brazilian’s FW36 was afflicted by a fuel pressure problem and was eliminated in 18th.

There was another big-name faller in Q2. Once again Hamilton led the way with 1:38.338 on his hot lap, but four-time defending World Champion Sebastian Vettel struggled with his Red Bull, and his 1:40.052 left him out in the cold in 11th place, a fraction ahead of Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India.

A five-place grid penalty to McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen for a morning gearbox change moved him backwards. The F1 rookie drops from sixth to 11th on the final grid.

Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, Jean-Eric Vergne and Vettel round out the top 10 starters for Sunday’s race following Magnussen’s penalty.

Max Chilton will be the only Marussia car to participate this weekend, with the team only fielding one car in honor of Jules Bianchi, its other driver who was seriously injured in a crash at Suzuka last Sunday. Chilton will start 21st.

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