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F1 Russian GP: Rosberg on pole as Hamilton woe strikes again

A second ERS failure for Lewis Hamilton in as many races opens the door for F1 leader Nico Rosberg to claim an easy Russian GP pole.
CLICK HERE for the full Russian Grand Prix qualifying results

Nico Rosberg is well positioned to extend his comfortable lead in the Formula 1 World Championship standings after qualifying on pole position for the Russian Grand Prix, while Lewis Hamilton starts down the order once again after suffering his second ERS failure in as many races.

The two Mercedes' drivers had come into qualifying closely matched ahead of a proposed pole position head-to-head, only for Hamilton's challenge to be nixed when his W07 developed more technical problems towards the end of Q2.

Identified as the same ERS failure that consigned him to the back of the grid in Shanghai, Hamilton was forced out of Q3 only this time, leaving him a provisional 10th on the grid. As it stands, it is unclear whether he will take another grid penalty for a component change.

With Hamilton sidelined, the path was cleared for Rosberg to win pole position by a massive seven tenths margin over Sebastian Vettel, though he also drops five positions to seventh place due to a gearbox change on his Ferrari.

As such, Valtteri Bottas is lifted to second position after getting the better of fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen with his best lap, marking what will be Williams' first front row start since the 2014 German Grand Prix.

Felipe Massa consolidated Williams' upturn in pace with fifth, which becomes fourth, while Daniel Ricciardo rises to fifth position in the leading Red Bull and Sergio Perez also gains a position in a season-best sixth for Force India at the behest of the penalised Vettel.

Home hope Daniil Kvyat gets underway from eighth position, ahead of Red Bull stablemate Max Verstappen in the Toro Rosso. Hamilton is classified tenth provisionally, pending any penalties.

With his Toro Rosso team-mate inside the top ten, Carlos Sainz failed to make it beyond Q2 in 11th position, while McLaren's hopes of making it into Q3 for the first time since 2014 were scuppered as rivals turned it up to overhaul them, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso in 12th and 14th. Haas follow up in 15th and 16th, Romain Grosjean ahead of team-mate Esteban Gutierrez.

Renault's tough weekend continued with neither Kevin Magnussen nor Jolyon Palmer progressing past Q1, the pair lining up 17th and 18th, while 19th Felipe Nasr – using a new Sauber chassis this weekend – lines up ahead of last-of-all Marcus Ericsson. Manor's Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto start between them in 20th and 21st.

by Ollie Barstow

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
30.04.2016 - Free Practice 3, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
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Kevin Magnussen - Haas F1 Team [credit: Haas F1 Team]
Valtteri Bottas, Nico Rosberg
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Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
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April 30, 2016 6:06 PM

Richard you are a stubborn old mule ain't ya... you really think Merc needed to turn up the engine that much to be ahead? They had 1secs roughly on Ferrari and was running strat 7! Well even the bookies have Hamilton as having more of a chance of the win than Vettel, I think Sham will beat Seb if both cars can stay damage free but even if he does you'll probably still say Ferrari are as quick as the Merc, please wake up.


April 30, 2016 3:25 PM

Bearing in mind Hamilton's ability to whine ..sorry raise the issue, over anything he sees as going against him with respect to his team mate. I think it highly unlikely that these failures are in any way engineered to favour Nico.

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