Valtteri Bottas has never been outqualified by a teammate in Sochi. That didn’t change on Saturday. Yes, Bottas topped current Formula One points leader Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix earning his sixth career pole. Bottas, topped Hamilton by just 0.145-seconds in Q3, turning a blazing hot lap of 1:31.387-seconds in his No. 77 Mercedes to earn his second pole of the season.
Hamilton, circled the track with a time of 1:31.532-seconds in his No. 44 Mercedes, giving Mercedes a front row lockout.
Mercedes, has won every race in Russia since the return in 2014 and are by far the favorites for Sunday’s race too. Bottas in fact, won this race last year and is now facing a difficult predicament.
He wants to win and this is his best shot of doing so. He’s scored just two podiums over the last eight starts on the season. With a pole, the pace is there to win the race and end this string of misery. He was also second in each of the two prior practice sessions too. But, would he give that all up to allow Hamilton by?
That’s a lot to ask but as the team stated too, what if they duo plays nicely and does let Hamilton by, does that slow them down too much to allow Sebastian Vettel to sneak by too?
It’s a certainly going to be an interesting thing to watch on Sunday.
Row 2 will feature a Ferrari lockout with Sebastian Vettel (1:31.943-seconds) rolling off third and his teammate Kimi Raikkonen (1:32.237-seconds) fourth.
Kevin Magnussen (1:33.181-seconds) will start fifth.
The Red Bulls showed more speed than the Ferrari’s but less than the Mercedes duo this weekend but already had to start in the back. Unfortunately, due to penalties, they didn’t even make it out of Q2.
Russian Grand Prix Starting Lineup
Row 1: Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton
Row 2: Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen
Row 3: Kevin Magnussen, Esteban Ocon
Row 4: Charles LeClerc R, Sergio Perez
Row 5: Romain Grosjean, Marcus Ericsson
Row 6: Carlos Sainz Jr., NicoHulkenberg
Row 7: Sergey Sirotkin R, Stoffel Vandoorne
Row 8: Lance Stroll, Fernando Alonso
Row 9: Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly R
Row 10: Brendon Hartley R, Max Verstappen