Today’s session in Sochi ended with an all-red front row for Scuderia Ferrari. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will start tomorrow’s race respectively from the first and second position – 1:33.194 the best time for Vettel, with Raikkonen stopping the chrono at 1:33.253. Supersoft and Ultrasoft compounds were used in the qualifying session.
Valtteri Bottas claimed P3 on the grid, with the top three cars covered by just 0.095s Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix from P4. Both drivers completed a single run in Q1 on UltraSoft tyres, a single run on the UltraSoft in Q2, then two runs on the UltraSoft in Q3.
Vettel’s pole was the first for Ferrari since Singapore in September 2015. The last time the team took the front row was at the 2008 French Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel: “We had had a very good run also yesterday and this morning, and the car was phenomenal. So there’s no real secret to today’s result, it’s just the fact that if you get along with the car you find the rhythm and know what to expect. We knew it would be very tight against the Mercedes. It could have gone the other way, but I am very happy that we locked out the front row for the team.
“I had a good start to Qualifying, then in Q2 I lost a bit of rhythm. My first run in Q3 was not very tidy, so I left it to the last run. For us it’s so important as Mercedes had done an impeccable job in the last few years, so it’s great for the team and for me that we managed to break that. But now we’ll see what tomorrow brings. It’s a long race and we’ll try to confirm this result”.
Kimi Raikkonen: (came in second in a very close fight, scoring his best qualifying result this year) – “Generally, it has been a very straightforward weekend: we have been happier with the car, set-up wise, since the beginning and when you start well it’s easier to work and improve here and there. This first row is great for the team, obviously I would rather be in front, but this is not an easy track to get a good lap.
“I’m happy to take second place. It’s a lot better that it has been so far this year. It’s good but it’s only qualifying. Tomorrow is the day where we get points, and we have to do a good job out of it. I expect us to be ok, for sure it’s going to be a close fight. Hopefully we can make a good start and see what happens”.
Valtteri Bottas: “We were close in the end, but not close enough. All weekend they’ve (Ferrari) had the upper hand and they’ve managed to extract more out of the tyres. They are looking very strong here and, as we’ve seen so far this year, Ferrari have a good race pace and we expect it to be the same tomorrow.
“We made an improvement from yesterday: it wasn’t quite enough but I think the changes we made overnight should help us in the race. Tomorrow is where it counts and starting on the second row is still not a bad place to begin the race. There’s a very long run down into Turn 2 and a lot of slipstreaming. Ferrari is ahead today, but hopefully not tomorrow.”