Rosberg leads Mercedes 1-2-3 in Russian GP qualifying

Rosberg gets service before his pole run
Rosberg gets service before his pole run

Despite their whining for the last two weeks AR1.com predicted that Mercedes, with their 100 HP advantage, would dominate the Russian GP at Sochi. So far that prediction is spot-on as Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas qualified 1-2-3 Saturday.

The fastest non-Mercedes, was Sebastian Vettel in 4th who was a second per lap slower until his late run put him 8/10ths back from Rosberg. In other words they have no chance.

To rub salt in the wounds, the Mercedes drivers didn't even bother to go out for a final run, so confident no one could touch them. When you have a 100 HP advantage indeed no one can touch you.

Rosberg will start from pole position for the second race in a row after a dominant performance, comfortably outperforming title rival Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg had the measure over Hamilton throughout the session, topping both Q1 and Q2 before going on to prove similarly impressive in Q3.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Putting three tenths between himself and Hamilton with his first Q3 run, Rosberg's pole position would be assured when the championship leader out-braked himself and ran wide at turn 13 on his final effort, forcing him to abort the lap.

Rosberg goes into the race looking to make in-roads into the 48 point margin between himself and Hamilton with just five races to go.

Valtteri Bottas will start third for Williams, using his superior Mercedes power to get the better of the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel – who also ran wide at turn 13 on his final lap – by less than a tenth, while Kimi Raikkonen rounds out the top five a further four tenths back.

Vettel sucking wind without Mercedes power

The Mercedes-powered contingent didn't stop there, Force India will start from sixth and seventh, Nico Hulkenberg marginally getting the edge on Sergio Perez by four hundredths, while Romain Grosjean followed in eighth for Lotus also with Mercedes power.

Completing the top ten, Max Verstappen brought some smiles to the embattled Toro Rosso team by not only cracking the top ten, but out-qualifying both Red Bulls.

Already destined to start his 250th grand prix from the back of the field after landing 35-positions worth of grid penalties for power unit changes, Fernando Alonso failed to make it past Q1 despite having another upgraded Honda engine. He was beaten by his teammate Jenson Button despite Button having the lower power Honda.

More to follow…

Results

Pos Driver Car Time Behind
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes/Mercedes 1m37.113s 0.000s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes/Mercedes 1m37.433s 0.320s
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m37.912s 0.799s
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari/Ferrari 1m37.965s 0.852s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari/Ferrari 1m38.348s 1.235s
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m38.659s 1.546s
7 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m38.691s 1.578s
8 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1m38.787s 1.674s
9 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m38.924s 1.811s
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m39.728s 2.615s
11 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m39.214s 2.101s
12 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m39.323s 2.210s
13 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m39.763s 2.650s
14 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m39.811s 2.698s
15 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m39.895s 2.782s
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m40.660s 3.547s
17 Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 1m43.693s 6.580s
18 Roberto Merhi** Marussia/Ferrari 1m43.804s 6.691s
19 Fernando Alonso* McLaren/Honda 1m40.144s 3.031s
20 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault

all times unofficial

* denotes driver due to take 35-place grid penalty
** denotes driver due to take 20-place grid penalty

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