Rosberg on pole as trouble hits for Hamilton

Rosberg Russia qualifying 2016

Championship leader Nico Rosberg achieved his twenty-four career pole position in Formula 1 with ease at Sochi, while a power unit failure affected his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in taking part in the shoot out for P1.

Hamilton had a slight edge over his title rival in the first part of qualifying, but was trailing by nearly half a second in Q2 when he suffered a recurrence of the MGU-H failure that ruined his efforts at Shanghai.

That left Hamilton tenth and without a lap time in Q3, while Rosberg enjoyed a clear path to the front, beating Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari to the top spot by more than seven tenths of a second.

To further Hamilton’s misery, he faces a trip to the race stewards to explain why he failed to follow the proper procedure for rejoining from the Turn 2 run-off area after a Q1 error.

Rosberg was able to lap the Sochi circuit in one minute, 35 seconds mark in Q2 and Q3 comfortably. The Mercedes driver was on for a better lap at the end of Q3 before locking up his brakes and running off track at the end of the long back straight.

Vettel chipped his way into the low one minute, 36 seconds, but the team and the new, updated combustion power unit had no answer for the Silver Arrows’ impressive speed.

Vettel will start seventh following a penalty for changing his gearbox after Friday practice.

That means Williams driver Valtteri Bottas will enjoy his first front row start since the 2014 German Grand Prix, after outpacing fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen by 0.127 seconds.

Felipe Massa was fifth fastest, almost half a second adrift of his Williams team-mate, while Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull rounded out the top six.

Sergio Perez impressively split Ricciardo from Red Bull team-mate Daniil Kvyat by going seventh quickest.

Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso lapped 0.124 seconds slower than Kvyat to end up ninth.

A late improvement from Kvyat in the final moments of Q2 pushed the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr to P11.

Sainz was unable to improve on his last run but remained half a tenth clear of Jenson Button in the better of the McLaren-Hondas.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was P13, reckoning a lap that was nearly half a second adrift of Perez in Q2 to be “as good as it gets”.

As for Fernando Alonso, the double world champion was 0.036 seconds slower in P14, and yet ahead of the Haas pairing of Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez, who were separated by less than a tenth as Grosjean continued to complain about the unpredictability of his car.

The Renaults of Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer were more than two tenths away from making the Q2 cut, but separated by less than a tenth in P17 and P18.

Sauber’s Felipe Nasr lay above the cut-off after his first run in Q1, but he went off at the start of his second run and failed to improve his time.

Nasr wound up just 0.009 seconds shy of Palmer’s time but well clear of Pascal Wehrlein in the best of the Manor-Mercedes.

Marcus Ericsson seemed set to avoid a back-of-the-grid start after a last-gasp improvement, but Rio Haryanto hit back with a late show of his own to return the struggling Ericsson to the bottom of the grid.

Rosberg Mercedes Russia 2016

Qualifying results, Sochi:

1    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m35.417s
2    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m36.536s
3    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m36.663s
4    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m37.016s
5    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-TAG Heuer    1m37.125s
6    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m37.212s
7    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m36.123s*
8    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-TAG Heuer    1m37.459s
9    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m37.583s
10    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes   No time
11    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m37.652s
12    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m37.701s
13    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m37.771s
14    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m37.807s
15    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m38.055s
16    Esteban Gutierrez    Haas-Ferrari    1m38.115s
17    Kevin Magnussen    Renault    1m38.914s
18    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1m39.009s
19    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m39.018s
20    Pascal Wehrlein    Manor-Mercedes    1m39.399s
21    Rio Haryanto    Manor/Mercedes    1m39.463s
22    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m39.519s

*Five-place grid penalty for gearbox change

5 thoughts to “Rosberg on pole as trouble hits for Hamilton”

  1. Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton was hit by a loss of power in qualifying for a second straight grand prix in Russia.

    After being consigned to a last-place start in the previous event at Shanghai, this time Hamilton got to the end of Q2 before the MGU-H problem hit his Mercedes.

    He had headed out to try to reduce a half-second deficit to team-mate Nico Rosberg in Q2 when he noticed the issue.

    Mercedes called him in and immediately announced he would have to sit out Q3.

    “This is the second engine that I took from the last race and it’s the same failure as I had in the last race,” said Hamilton.

    “I just went back out in Q2 at the end to get a feel for the lap and I lost the same power as I lost in China.

    “Nothing I can do.”

    Rosberg went on to take pole position by a comfortable margin.

    Mercedes decided the engine that suffered the problem in China was fit to be re-used as a spare in Russia.

    The team is not yet sure whether Hamilton’s car will require any further replacement components overnight that could result in extra grid penalties.


  2. Qualifying report as taken from

    Nico Rosberg will start Sunday’s 2016 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix from pole position, after topping Sochi qualifying by 0.706s from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton finished tenth as a power unit failure ruled him out of Q3.

    With Vettel carrying a five-place grid penalty due to an unscheduled gearbox change, the German will start seventh behind – in qualifying order – Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, Williams’ Felipe Massa, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, and Force India’s Sergio Perez.

    Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen and the luckless Hamilton completed the top ten.

    Hamilton was downbeat but philosophical after his technical problems, a recurrence of the same issue his car suffered last time out in China. They mean he now faces the possibility of again starting from the back of the grid.

    “There’s nothing I can do… I never give up,” said the world champion, who also has to visit the stewards to explain why he did not rejoin the track in the manner required by the race director after running slightly wide at Turn 2 during Q1.

    The opening phase saw Hamilton edge out Rosberg with 1m 36.006s to 1m 36.119s – both comfortably faster than they had been in FP3. Vettel was close, but not close enough, with 1m 36.555s.

    As Esteban Gutierrez joined Haas team mate Romain Grosjean in progressing to Q2, Kevin Magnussen narrowly beat Renault team mate Jolyon Palmer but both failed to get through. Behind them, Felipe Nasr took 19th for Sauber, as Pascal Wehrlein just headed Manor partner Rio Haryanto. Marcus Ericsson brought up the rear in the second Sauber.

    Rosberg owned Q2 with a lap of 1m 35.337s, half a second up on Hamilton and a whole 1.3s up on Vettel.

    Further back, Daniil Kvyat delighted the crowd when his final effort lifted him to 10th, and Q3, in the dying seconds. That bumped Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz by 0.046s. There was no joy for McLaren either; Jenson Button was left 12th, two places ahead of team mate Fernando Alonso. They sandwiched Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India, as the two Haas cars of Grosjean and Gutierrez finished 15th and 16th.

    As Hamilton’s latest ERS drama unfolded and precluded him from running, Rosberg owned Q3 too. His first run yielded 1m 35.417s to Vettel’s 1m 36.259s and Raikkonen’s 1m 36.695s.

    Rosberg’s next try saw him faster in the first two sectors before the lap was ruined by an off in Turn 13, but by then the job was long done.

    Vettel improved from 1m 36.259s to 1m 36.123s, but drops to seventh after his penalty, which means that with the third fastest time of 1m 36.536s Bottas will make Williams’ first front-row start since Germany two years ago.

    Thus, subject to potential penalties for Hamilton, the provisional grid will read: Rosberg, Bottas; Raikkonen, Massa; Ricciardo, Perez; Vettel, Kvyat; Verstappen, Hamilton; Sainz, Button; Hulkenberg, Alonso; Grosjean, Gutierrez; Magnussen, Palmer; Nasr, Wehrlein; Haryanto, Ericsson.

  3. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen blames errors for missing out on Russian Grand Prix front row. has the news story.

    Kimi Raikkonen blamed his own mistakes for his failure to get the Ferrari Formula 1 team on the front row for the Russian Grand Prix.

    With Lewis Hamilton sidelined by an MGU-H problem and Raikkonen’s Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel facing a gearbox-change penalty, Raikkonen was potentially Nico Rosberg’s main rival for Sochi pole.

    But he was only fourth fastest in Q3 behind Rosberg, Vettel and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, so will start third.

    “I ran wide in the last corner but I’d been struggling all weekend to put any decent laps together,” said Raikkonen of his last Q3 run.

    “It was better in qualifying but I was still fighting with the fronts a bit in a few places.

    “It was one of those days I think. The whole weekend I’ve been fighting with the set-up to find it and make the tyres work as we want.

    “There’s been a few corners there I’ve been fighting all weekend. I think the last lap was pretty decent but in places it was still not ideal.

    “Then I f***** it up in the last corner but it could’ve been an awful lot worse.”

    Vettel will start from seventh place on Sunday. He was eight tenths of a second slower than Rosberg’s pole time, but is optimistic about what he can salvage in the race.

    “When you qualify second, that is where you sort of belong,” he said of his podium chances.

    “With the penalty, we start further back but we should be quicker than those cars in front.

    “It’s not easy to pass, it’s not easy to follow, so we’ll see.

    “I would have liked the gap to be a bit smaller, but in Q2 we saw Nico in particular was very strong at getting a lap in.

    “A good job from his side. For us it was the maximum.”

    Ferrari used three engine development tokens for an upgrade prior to Sochi.

    Raikkonen played down the effect this would have.

    “It’s working as we expect so it’s not the massive things,” he said.

    “It’s small improvements here and there with the car and the whole package.

    “People are very interested – ‘oh you have a new engine’ – but we put new parts on all the time and try to improve all areas so it’s a very normal thing.”

  4. It was a tale of more qualifying woe for Lewis Hamilton, and Mercedes chief Toto Wolff is at a loss to explain the champion’s ill fortune.

    Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff hopes the team can make changes to Lewis Hamilton’s car without incurring any grid penalties for Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix.

    A power failure at the Chinese GP last time out meant Hamilton had to start last on the grid, the double defending champion working his way back through the field to eventually finish seventh.

    In qualifying in Sochi on Saturday, Hamilton experienced similar troubles and qualified 10th while team-mate Nico Rosberg – winner of all three races so far in 2016 – secured pole.

    The German looks well placed to extend his 36-point standings lead over Hamilton, and Wolff was sympathetic to the Briton’s plight while hoping Mercedes could make some alterations without seeing the champion drop further down the grid.

    “I hope there is no penalty for Lewis. But we need to discuss with the FIA what we want to do and make it without a penalty,” he told Sky Sports.

    “It’s a very bizarre situation. It seems like the same failure as in Shanghai, which means we have to reassess the route course of the failure. It’s motor racing and it can happen.

    “He seems to have all the bad luck and the other side of the garage has all the luck.

    “It’s getting tough for Lewis now and I have no doubt he will come out of it. But he has every right to be upset.”

    Source: Yahoo sport

  5. Lewis Hamilton says he feels “almost helpless” after he suffered a Mercedes power unit problem in qualifying for the second successive Formula 1 grand prix.

    The reigning world champion failed to take part in Q3 in Russia as Mercedes identified a problem identical to that encountered in China.

    It was the latest setback for Hamilton, who has had problems in all three of the opening new races and trails team-mate Nico Rosberg by 36 points.

    “I don’t know what the word is, I can’t really describe what I feel right now – it’s not a great feeling,” a downbeat Hamilton told reporters on Saturday.

    “You’re almost helpless at some points, we’ve worked so hard, with my mechanics and my engineers, to get the car in a great position this weekend.

    “We had the great pace once again and this happens to us all unexpectedly.

    “I feel helpless for my guys because there’s not really much I can do to uplift them and there’s not really much they can do to uplift me because it’s already happened.

    “The goal is moving further and further away in the distance. I’m doing everything I can do. There’s nothing else I can do.”

    Hamilton is hoping to avoid first-lap trouble and then to produce a fightback similar to Rosberg’s in 2014, when he came from last to second after an early error.

    “I’m just hoping to have a clean first lap and have a car in one piece to fight with people,” he said.

    “I don’t think I’ve had one race this year with a full car after Turn 1 so that’s what I’m hoping for.

    “Nico started a way back a while ago, so it obviously is possible.

    “I’ve not really had to do much overtaking here over the last few years so I don’t know how difficult it is but I’m not a bad overtaker so it should be alright.”

    Rosberg had no such problems in qualifying to take his second successive pole.

    “The car was balanced perfectly and through the weekend we just progressed so much,” he said.

    “We hit it in Q2 and from then on it was just going really well.

    “That’s what I’m really pleased about and I haven’t thought too much about Sunday yet.

    “Of course starting from pole position will be great.

    “It’s never easy but the way the grid is does help me out a lot, for sure.”


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