Ferrari occupied the first grid row for the Russian Grand prix, fourth round of the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship. Sebastian Vettel will start from poleposition, while his teammate Kimi Raikkonen will be next to him. Their big rivals, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, were third and fourth.
The weather was still magnificent – sunny, 21 degrees of the air, 40 on the track. Tires were a key factor in the session, as previous sessions have shown that some teams (including Mercedes) have difficulty keeping them in their working window.
In Q1 Bottas (ultrasoft) first of the favorites came out on the track, followed by Vettel and Raikkonen – both of them with supersoft. Hamilton, as well as his teammate, was with the softest tires available for the weekend.
Bottas gave 1: 34.177min, Vettel was +0.925 sec. Hamilton did not make a quick run because of a mistake. Raikkonen was third – +1.161 seconds behind Valtteri.
In the next fast lap, Vettel reduced the difference to 0.316 seconds. Immediately after that, Bottas took off 0.136 seconds of his own achievement (1: 34.041), and Hamilton came second – +0.368 seconds behind his teammate.
5 minutes before the end of Q1 in the relegation zone were two McLarens, the two Saubers and Romain Grosjean. By the end of the segment only Fernando Alonso had qualified for Q2 at the expense of Jolyon Palmer, who hit the barrier of the fourth turn. At the same time, Pascal Wehrlein suffered a crash.
At the beginning of Q2 the marshals still worked on Palmer’s car relocation, so there were yellow warning flags in the sector. Bottas was again the first of the favorites on the track, again with ultrasoft. Ferrari did not take any risks and Vettel also came out with the softest tires, as did Raikkonen. Kimi stood at the top with 1:34.053. Bottas took down 0.789 seconds of that (1:33.264) and Hamilton stayed almost half a second (0.496 seconds) from his teammate. Vettel was third.
The Ferrari drivers took first and second position in the qualifying for the Russian Grand prix in front of their Mercedes rivals
In Q3, the Mercedes drivers did not waste time and set off immediately. Everyone was on ultrasofts. Nico Hülkenberg stubbornly refused to let Hamilton go in front of him. Lewis also tried to get ahead of Renault’s driver, but failed.
The first time was Hulkenberg’s – 1:35.412. Raikkonen improved it with 2,159 seconds, Vettel stayed at 0.173 seconds from his teammate. Bottas came second (+0,036), Hamilton ranked fourth (+1,211)! The Englishman had the same pace as his teammate, but made several mistakes in the last sector.
The tension was enormous before the final attempts. This time Raikkonen led the Ferrari-Mercedes battle. The Finn recorded 1:33.713 and did not improve his time. Vettel was faster than him with 0.059 seconds! Bottas and Hamilton remained third and fourth.
— FIA (@fia) 29 April 2017