F1: Leclerc Dominates To Take Pole In Sochi Qualifying

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Charles Leclerc celebrating his fourth consecutive pole position for Scuderia Ferrari. Image sourced from @FIA via Twitter.

Charles Leclerc stormed his way to pole position ahead of tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix.

The Monegasque claiming his sixth pole position of the season for Scuderia Ferrari.

Leclerc’s pole makes him the first Ferrari driver since Michael Schumacher in 2001 to secure four consecutive pole positions.

Leclerc: “The car felt amazing. It feels great to be back on pole, but the start is very important here – arguably more so than anywhere else. I just want to focus on the job tomorrow and it’s looking good at the moment.”

Hamilton Does It Again

As in Singapore, Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel right at the death to take second.

The Briton once again denying Ferrari a front row lockout.

Lewis Hamilton once again pipped Sebastian Vettel to second place. Image sourced from @MercedesAMGF1 via Twitter.

“It was a tough qualifying session, because these guys have some crazy speed on the straights – it’s like a jet mode.” said Hamilton

“I’m so glad it came together, I wasn’t expecting to get on the front row.”

Sebastian Vettel struggled during the latter stages of Q3, making a mistake on the exit of Turn 5, ultimately costing the German second place.

Vettel: “I’m not entirely happy. I couldn’t extract the maximum from the car today and my Q1 was disrupted. Tomorrow the start will be important and the speed is there, so we’ll see.”

Also making a mistake on his final run Valtteri Bottas aborted his lap.

The Mercedes driver finished the session in fifth, but will start fourth once Max Verstappen’s penalty for receiving a new power unit is applied.

Subsequently the Dutchman will line up in ninth place for Red Bull.

Albon Gets Knocked Out

Verstappen’s team-mate Alexander Albon failed to get out from Q1, as the Thai out-broke himself into Turn 13.

Albon ended up losing control of his RB15 and hit the barriers as a result.

Mid-Field Margains

The mid-field battle was again extremely close during qualifying.

With just a tenth of a second separating those who were knocked out in Q2 and those who progressed into Q3.

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg both pulled out stunning laps over their team-mates.

Carlos Sainz Jr. produced another stellar performance during qualifying. Image sourced from @McLarenF1 via Twitter.

Both former team-mates of Sainz & Hulkenberg will start in fifth and sixth places respectively.

With Rookie Lando Norris in the second McLaren starting just behind.

Romain Grosjean put his Haas in ninth, however the frenchman will start in eight, just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in ninth.

Ricciardo rounding out the top ten for Renault, who recently annouced that they will no longer be supplying McLaren with engines post 2020.

The decison was made by McLaren as the British outfit go back to Mercedes engines for 2021 in a bid to get back to the top of Formula One.

Danil’s Home Struggles

Danil Kvyat who is at his home race has had a weekend to forget so far.

The Russian missing out on qualifying due to engine problems which arised in during final practice.

Kvyat hits trouble at his home grand prix. Image sourced from @ToroRosso via Twitter.

As consolation, the Toro Rosso driver was already poised to start from the back of the field.

This is due to strategic grid penalties taken by Red Bull/Honda in preparation for their home race in Suzuka next time out.

After displaying promising pace throughout practice, Racing Point were unable to put either car in Q3.

Sergio Perez ending the session in 12th, behind Pierre Gasly in thirteenth.

Antonio Giovinazzi managed to out-qualify his fellow Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikonnen, ending the session in thirteenth.

However the Italian will start in twelfth due to Gasly’s penalty.

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