Lewis Hamilton Grabs Russian GP Pole as Verstappen Splits Mercedes in Chaotic Qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton secured yet another pole at the Sochi Autodrom and looks well on his way to secure his 91st race win. Max Verstappen put in a great final lap to seal P2, with Valtteri Bottas taking P3.

There was a lot of action in all three Qualifying sessions which led to a few incidents, but overall the results were pretty much what the teams were expecting based on their practice sessions.

Mercedes cars led the rest of the pack in Q1

As the first phase of qualifying began with all 20 drivers, it was Mercedes conducting business as usual. Topping the charts, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas put in significant laps.

As has been the trend, the Alfa Romeo and Haas cars got knocked out in Q1. Raikkonen was especially disappointed, as he believed finishing P15 was a possibility.

The surprise news in this phase, however, was Williams’ George Russell out-qualifying both Ferrari drivers to get P13. It came as a surprise to Vettel, who had finished P7 in the Free Practice 3 session.

Vettel crash a scare to Lewis Hamilton

Q2 offered fans a lot of drama. The focus of the phase was undoubtedly Sebastian Vettel’s crash. With two minutes to go and in P13, the German driver was eyeing to get out of Q2 into the top half.

But halfway through the track, Vettel’s car took steered late round the apex and spun sharply, before smashing into the barriers. The consequences of the red flag, however, meant that Lewis Hamilton was stuck in P15 and Albon in P11.

The F1000 of Sebastian Vettel
Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – The car of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on a tow vehicle during qualifying. |REUTERS

The Red Bull drivers, however, worked together as a team and got to the front of the pit lane exit. Hamilton was also raring to finish a final lap to avoid getting knocked out.

And being the champion driver that he is, he skinned the car to the limit and eventually qualified in P4. Ferrari’s day became even worse as Charles Leclerc was knocked out in P11.

Q3 sees Hamilton claim pole position

A stupendous lap by Lewis Hamilton saw him take a 1:31:304 timing, which secured pole position for him. Bottas looked to be heading for a P2 but lost time in the 2nd sector of his last lap.

And that was advantageous to Max Verstappen, who put in a stunning final lap to finish P2. Teammate Alex Albon was not able to show him up and had to settle for a P10.

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