Grand Prix qualifying results: Norris takes Sochi F1 pole

McLaren's Lando Norris took pole position for the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi, the 15th round of the 2021 F1 World Championship, after a dramatic wet but drying qualifying session.

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Norris will start ahead of Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and George Russell (Williams) after the one-hour qualifying session, which came down to a final-lap shootout for cars on slick tyres as the track dried enough to allow the dry rubber to be faster.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton will start fourth, but his slick-tyre run was ruined when he hit the wall entering the pits.

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Russian Grand Prix qualifying results: Norris on pole from Sainz

Cla Driver Time Gap km/h
1 United Kingdom Lando Norris 1'41.993   206.414
2 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. 1'42.510 0.517 205.373
3 United Kingdom George Russell 1'42.983 0.990 204.429
4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton 1'44.050 2.057 202.333
5 Australia Daniel Ricciardo 1'44.156 2.163 202.127
6 Spain Fernando Alonso 1'44.204 2.211 202.034
7 Finland Valtteri Bottas 1'44.710 2.717 201.058
8 Canada Lance Stroll 1'44.956 2.963 200.586
9 Mexico Sergio Perez 1'45.337 3.344 199.861
10 France Esteban Ocon 1'45.865 3.872 198.864
11 Germany Sebastian Vettel 1'46.573 4.580 197.543
12 France Pierre Gasly 1'46.641 4.648 197.417
13 Japan Yuki Tsunoda 1'46.751 4.758 197.214
14 Canada Nicholas Latifi      
15 Finland Kimi Raikkonen 1'49.586 7.593 192.112
16 Germany Mick Schumacher 1'49.830 7.837 191.685
17 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi 1'51.023 9.030 189.625
18 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin 1'53.764 11.771 185.056
19 Monaco Charles Leclerc      
20 Netherlands Max Verstappen      

What happened in Q1?

Despite fears that qualifying would be washed out after heavy rain in Sochi, the session started on time as planned. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who will start the race from the rear of the grid after an engine change, set the early pace at 1m50.292s on intermediate tyres. Moments later he was almost taken out by the spinning Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi.

The Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton took over at the top, before Red Bull’s Sergio Perez took P1 with a laptime of 1m46.455s. Bottas regained top spot with 1m46.396s, before Hamilton beat everyone with 1m45.992s.

Falling at the first hurdle were Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, Mick Schumacher (Haas), Giovinazzi (Alfa), Nikita Mazepin (Haas) and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) who, like Leclerc, will start from the back of the grid after changing his power unit. He did take to the track in qualifying but didn’t set a laptime.

Russian Grand Prix Q1 results: Hamilton fastest from Bottas

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 10 1'45.992     198.626
2 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 9 1'46.396 0.404 0.404 197.872
3 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 9 1'46.455 0.463 0.059 197.762
4 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 10 1'47.205 1.213 0.750 196.378
5 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 9 1'47.238 1.246 0.033 196.318
6 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 9 1'47.828 1.836 0.590 195.244
7 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 10 1'47.877 1.885 0.049 195.155
8 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 10 1'47.924 1.932 0.047 195.070
9 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 10 1'48.099 2.107 0.175 194.754
10 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 10 1'48.252 2.260 0.153 194.479
11 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 10 1'48.303 2.311 0.051 194.387
12 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 9 1'48.322 2.330 0.019 194.353
13 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 8 1'48.345 2.353 0.023 194.312
14 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 10 1'48.470 2.478 0.125 194.088
15 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 11 1'48.854 2.862 0.384 193.404
16 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 10 1'49.586 3.594 0.732 192.112
17 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 10 1'49.830 3.838 0.244 191.685
18 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 9 1'51.023 5.031 1.193 189.625
19 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 10 1'53.764 7.772 2.741 185.056
20 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 2        

What happened in Q2?

In Q2 the track was drying, with Hamilton setting the early pace on 1m46.096s before Bottas beat it with 1m45.506s and then improved by a further tenth of a second on his next tour. Hamilton eventually worked down to 1m45.129s on his final lap to keep P1.

Knocked out at this point were Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin, by five hundredths of a second), the AlphaTauris of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, along with Nicholas Latifi (Williams) and Leclerc, both of whom didn’t set a laptime due to grid penalties for power unit changes.

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Russian Grand Prix Q2 results: Hamilton fastest from Bottas

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 18 1'45.129     200.256
2 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 17 1'45.306 0.177 0.177 199.920
3 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 18 1'45.514 0.385 0.208 199.526
4 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 16 1'45.827 0.698 0.313 198.935
5 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 17 1'45.834 0.705 0.007 198.922
6 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 18 1'46.070 0.941 0.236 198.480
7 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 16 1'46.360 1.231 0.290 197.939
8 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 16 1'46.361 1.232 0.001 197.937
9 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 19 1'46.435 1.306 0.074 197.799
10 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 18 1'46.521 1.392 0.086 197.639
11 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 18 1'46.573 1.444 0.052 197.543
12 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 18 1'46.641 1.512 0.068 197.417
13 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 20 1'46.751 1.622 0.110 197.214
14 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 12        
15 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 10        

What happened in Q3?

With the track now greasy rather than wet, cars ran initially on intermediates. Bottas set the early pace but Hamilton immediately beat him with 1m44.050s. Norris jumped up to P2 in his McLaren, 0.656s off the pace and ahead of Bottas by 0.006s.

Williams’s George Russell was the first to commit to slicks and was followed a lap later by all the others. Hamilton hit the wall as he pitted, breaking his front wing and delaying Bottas’s pitstop too.

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Sainz was the first to grab pole on slicks, with a lap of 1m42.510s, before Norris beat him with 1m41.993s. Russell jumped up to P3 and will start ahead of Hamilton, who spun on his only slicks lap and had to rely on his intermediate time.

Daniel Ricciardo will start fifth for McLaren, ahead of Fernando Alonso (Alpine), Bottas, Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Perez and Esteban Ocon (Alpine).

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Russian Grand Prix Q3 results: Norris takes pole

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 7 1'41.993     206.414
2 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 7 1'42.510 0.517 0.517 205.373
3 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 7 1'42.983 0.990 0.473 204.429
4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 6 1'44.050 2.057 1.067 202.333
5 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 7 1'44.156 2.163 0.106 202.127
6 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 7 1'44.204 2.211 0.048 202.034
7 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 7 1'44.710 2.717 0.506 201.058
8 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 7 1'44.956 2.963 0.246 200.586
9 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 7 1'45.337 3.344 0.381 199.861
10 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 7 1'45.865 3.872 0.528 198.864

 

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