Vettel takes pole position for Russian Grand Prix

Jessica Allison
April 29, 2017

On a track which had been widely expected to favor Mercedes because of its long straights, Vettel set a time of 1 minute, 34.120 seconds in the second session.

Ferrari were in sparkling form on Friday afternoon, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen comfortably fastest in FP2 ahead of the strangely subdued Mercedes drivers.

The pole, Vettel's 47th, ended a run of 18 in a row for once-dominant world champions Mercedes, who had Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton right behind the two red cars in third and fourth places. Practices will be on Friday, April 28 while Qualifying is on Saturday April 29.

"I knew we were strong, I knew we can do it, but I didn't know how strong in relation to them", Vettel said. This track especially there's a lot of things you can show and not show so I think the most important is we talk about ourselves, our balance. "I'm happier than previous qualifyings, but I think we had all the tools to be on the front today".

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said after this month's Bahrain grand prix that Vettel's victories could force a strategy rethink.

Bottas, twice asked to let Hamilton pass him during the last race, said he will continue to obey such instructions, but said it is within his power to make sure it is not necessary.

Vettel leads Hamilton by seven points after winning two of three races this season.

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"I don't know why they would suggest that", he said. Mercedes, meanwhile, put on a fearless face as an insider said: "It's a matter of going through all the data tonight and making sure that we get the tyres in their optimal working window".

"If there´s a hard time when you get back to Italy you´re welcome to Germany". Sainz, however, will drop three-places after picking up a penalty for his clash with Lance Stroll in Bahrain last time out.

The Italian team appear to be capable of getting more out of the softer compound tyres, with Kimi Raikkonen responding to recent criticism of his performances by topping the timesheets in FP1 before Vettel went fastest in the second session.

"I had big snaps of the rear end of the auto in the last sector, if you see all those little tiny mistakes, they were all because the rear end was very weak".

Less fortunate was Verstappen, whose auto lost power with 20 minutes remaining in the session.

Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo was "best of the rest" in fifth, but a massive 1.711secs off pole, while Williams driver Felipe Massa took sixth just ahead of the other Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

He added: "If we are on top of them tomorrow, we've done a very good job".

Other reports by My Hot News

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