Lewis Hamilton shrugged off the disappointment of being beaten to pole position at the Russian Grand Prix by insisting that it wasn't too big a problem to be starting from the other front row spot.

With very little meaningful running on Friday and then a truncated FP3 session because of Carlos Sainz's accident, no-one has had a real chance to work on set-up for either qualifying or race, and Hamilton has appeared to be chasing Rosberg for much of the weekend.

The pair remained closely matched through the first two phases of qualifying, however, and pole position remained in the balance - despite Rosberg holding a three-tenths advantage after the first runs in Q3 - until Hamilton ran wide at turn 13. Knowing that he was not going to be able to improve his time, even in cool conditions that meant second and third laps were often faster than the first, Hamilton pitted, safe in the knowledge that Mercedes was comfortably clear of the rest of the field.

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"I did go for my second lap, I just didn't finish," he sighed, "It's been a difficult weekend, I think, for everyone, but Nico did a good job with his lap and I wasn't perfectly happy with the balance that I had."

Having locked out the front row, albeit in the reverse order, for last season's inaugural Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, the Mercedes pair were neck-and-neck into turn two until Rosberg locked up and effectively ceded the race to his team-mate by needing an early pit-stop.

"We're all really happy," Hamilton insisted, no doubt with one eye on the constructors' standings, "It's great for the team and, as you saw last year, this isn't such a bad race [to start] P2..."