Charles Leclerc made it four F1 poles in a row in Russian GP as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton split the two Ferrari drivers with Sebastian Vettel in third.
The first part of F1 Russian GP qualifying at Sochi Autodrom had a red flag appearance with an off at Turn 13 for Red Bull Racing’s Alexander Albon, with a damage to the rear after he lost it in the right-hander.
The red flag compromised Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel’s third timed lap after the German did not have a good run on the medium compound on his first run. His second was hindered by a spin for Williams’ Robert Kubica.
He was then forced to do a run on the soft compound as he went quickest from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen. In the drop zone, it was Albon (1m39.197s) in 19th as the last driver.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat did not run as Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen (1m34.840s) was bumped out by teammate in 16th with Williams’ George Russell (1m35.356s) 17th and Robert Kubica (1m36.474s) 18th.
In terms of strategy for the race, the Mercedes duo opted for medium tyres to start the second part of qualifying. It was Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc heading the way with Vettel second after a late lap on a new set.
Red Bull’s Verstappen also showed an improvement to be third with Mercedes drivers behind on the medium tyres. Replays showed Leclerc going on the sausage kerb, probably damaging bit of his floor.
The drop zone had Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly (1m33.950s) just missing out in 11th. The Frenchman had an off on his quick lap and was unable to improve then. Racing Point’s Sergio Perez (1m33.958s) was 12th.
Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi (1m34.037s) finished 13th with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen (1m34.082s) slotted in 14th from the Racing Point of Lance Stroll (1m34.233s), who had an off on his quick lap as well.
The final part of Russian GP qualifying had a clean start with a Ferrari 1-2 as Leclerc held provisional pole with a 1m31.801s lap over Vettel and Hamilton after their first runs.
The second run had Leclerc held on with the Monegasque making an improvement to set a 1m31.628s to take pole for Russian GP – his fourth consecutive F1 pole in the 2019 season.
It looked like a Ferrari 1-2 but Mercedes’ Hamilton split them as he slotted in second with a 1m32.030s lap as he pushed Vettel to third, who had a 1m32.053s lap after a scrappy final run.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (1m32.310s) was fourth but is to start from ninth with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas (1m32.632s) only fifth after aborting his final lap due to a mistake.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz (1m33.222s) was best of the rest after he managed to get ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg (1m33.289s), with McLaren’s Lando Norris (1m33.301s) in eighth.
The Top 10 was then rounded out by Haas’ Romain Grosjean (1m33.517s) and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo (1m33,661s).