Max Verstappen starts second at the Russian Grand Prix

Verstappen already predicted on Friday that a third place during qualifying will not come easily. Nor is it the favorite job of Verstappen, who has never been on the podium in Russia. This also applies to the whole of Red Bull Racing in Sochi, where racing has been taking place since 2014. However, Verstappen was well wrong with his prediction, in a positive sense.

An hour before qualifying started, some dark clouds piled up over the Sochi circuit. During Q1 it remained dry, but in the following session Sergio Pérez (Racing Point) called over the radio that he was experiencing light rainfall. The other drivers did not seem to be bothered by anything, although Hamilton once exceeded the track limits and Valtteri Bottas also balanced on the verge of crossing the track.

Another red flag and drama for Ferrari

Q2 was the final destination for Sebastian Vettel. The German crashed into his Ferrari about two minutes before the end of the session. He slid on the curb stones and ended up in the tapes. Little was left of his red car, but Vettel got out of his car unharmed. The red flag was immediately taken off the shelf.

For a moment there was the fear that Charles Leclerc also had to end the fight prematurely. The Ferrari driver was right behind his teammate when he got off the track. The nose of Vettel’s car was on the track, which Leclerc was forced to drive full over. “That just went well …” he sighed. Leclerc was able to continue and Vettel was neat enough to remove the front wing from the circuit itself.

Battle for pole

Hamilton got off well in Q2. After all, his time was scrapped when he left the track limits and after the red flag he had to stop his round. So there was no time for the Brit on the scoreboard, but luckily for him there was still enough time on the clock to qualify for Q3, albeit in the nick of time. Leclerc did not make it to the last qualifying session.

The reigning world champion and World Cup leader was not the only driver who broke the rules in that corner. Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean and Nicholas Latifi also had to answer. They too lost their respective lap time. In the race, such an offense will result in 5 penalty seconds, the stewards emphasized.

Hamilton took pole position on the Sochi circuit for the 96th time in his career. The Briton will hunt for his 91st victory in Formula 1 on Sunday, with which he would equal record holder Michael Schumacher.

Hamilton plays innocence murdered

“I don’t know what it is about, I don’t remember doing anything wrong,” Hamilton said at the press conference, before he had to report to the stewards. “I think my lap time has been canceled. It will be about that. ” Hamilton has Max Verstappen next to him on the front row of the grid.

In Q3 Hamilton outdid everyone, so again pole position for the World Cup leader. Verstappen surprisingly took second place at the last minute. The Dutchman rushed past Bottas on the last lap, who starts from the second row.

Hamilton and three other fellow drivers still have to report to the stewards, however, for not following the instructions of the race director in turn 2. Possible with a grid penalty as a result, although that chance seems unlikely with a total of four drivers who then should be punished.

Free workouts

During the free practice sessions, Verstappen recorded the third, seventh and sixth fastest time respectively. It was not heartily. During VT2, Verstappen still complained about grip and even had a ‘moment’, without major consequences.

At the last free practice it became clear that Mercedes would be calling the shots in Russia. Hamilton in particular showed to be very fast. Then the Brit was no less than a second faster than Verstappen.

Race and program

Sunday’s race starts at 1.10 p.m. Dutch time. Of the top 10, only Verstappen and Bottas drive the mediums. Hamilton is forced to start on the softs.

After the Grand Prix of Russia, the Formula 1 circus travels to Germany, but first the drivers get a week of rest. The Grand Prix of Eifel will be held at the Nürburgring from 9 to 11 September.

Also view the results and the standings in the battle for the world title in Formula 1.

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