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  • Writer's pictureStuart Kavanagh

Russian F1 Qualifying Results

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Fresh Look To The Front Row In Sochi

Sochi F1 Qualifying

A rain-affected qualifying session at the Sochi Autodrom has ended with a surprise pole-sitter and a refreshing new look to the front of the grid.

Lando Norris became the fifth-youngest pole position holder in Formula 1 history when a late switch to slick tires as the racing line dried proved to be a genius move. The Bristol-born youngster turned in a scorching lap in the dying seconds of qualifying to secure pole in a time of 1:41.993 sec

Adding to the refreshing look of the grid are Carlos Sainz and Williams George Russell, who will start in second and third place respectively. It is another impressive performance from Sainz in the Ferrari and a yet again a run by Russell in the wet for the Williams team that has exceeded expectations. Russell is moving to Mercedes next year, but as far as this season goes he is definitely giving his all for the struggling Williams team.

A delighted Norris spoke to reporters after securing the pole position, having this to say-

Lando Norris

“It's my first pole position and hopefully the first of many, there were plenty of corners where I thought I might have gone in a bit hard here and it’s all going to go rather wrong, but it didn’t. So that’s just, I guess, the level you've got to be at to be in this position, I’m happy I took those risks and made those decisions because they paid off the way they have. Many times during the lap, I thought it was all going to go quite badly wrong.”

The battle at the top of the driver's championship took another turn with Hamilton, who dominated the early qualifying on intermediate tires, had a terrible finish to Q3. Upon entering the pits, his wing hit the wall and as a result, Hamilton was forced to take a long pit stop whilst the wing was replaced. The lengthy stop caused his slick tires to cool off, and lacking grip he spun out toward the end of the session. If he is to record his 100th F1 victory, he will have to do so from the 4th spot on the grid.

A disappointed Hamilton apologized to the team post-qualifying and vowed to make it right on race day saying over the team radio:

“These things are sent to try us, and as much as I feel terrible right now, I’ll turn it into a positive and try to do the best we can,”

It was a bad day all around for the Mercedes team as Valteri Bottas qualified for a poor 7th position on the grid. If the Mercedes team is to keep its unblemished winning record at the Russian track, it will take something special.

Championship leader Max Verstappen will start from the back of the grid, the result of an engine change penalty. Wary of the wet conditions and taking the penalty into account - he and his team opted against setting a qualifying time.

The Grid F1 Russia 2021

*** UPDATE ***

It has been reported Mercedes' Valteri Bottas will also start from the back of the grid along with LeClerc and Verstappen after changing some power unit elements after qualifying. Some are saying it is a tactical move from the German team, in the hope that Bottas can slow Lewis Hamiltons' championship rival Max Verstappen who will also start from the back of the grid.

With a fresh-looking front row and a top 4 that contains 3 Englishmen, the Russian F1 should be one of the most exciting races of the year. Be sure to come back to to see how the race day events unfold

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