2017 Russian Grand Prix Qualifying Report
It was a great qualifying session at the Sochi Autodrom ahead of the Russian Grand Prix tomorrow and in an unexpected twist – Lewis Hamilton is NOT on the front row or in the top 3 drivers.
Ferrari have been looking strong all weekend and as much as they downplayed the results – Mercedes have in fact been on the back foot.
They didn’t have great balance and they weren’t able to get their tyres in the right window to perform and extract what they could from the car.
Finally, in FP3 – Mercedes started to look like they found some power but couldn’t quite get past the Ferrari’s who dominated the session.
With Bottas setting a faster lap time than his team-mate, he starts the race tomorrow in Position 3.
Here’s what the teams had to say after the Russian Grand Prix Qualifying session!
Ferrari – 2017 Russian Grand Prix Qualifying Report
This is the first front-row lockout for Ferrari in nearly a decade! Vettel and Raikkonen will be starting the Russian Grand Prix Race in in P1 and P2.
Sebastian Vettel – 1st
“I think this is just great. We had a very good run yesterday and this morning – the car is just phenomenal!”
“There’s no real secret to today’s result, it’s just the fact that if you get along with the car, you can find the rhythm and you know what to expect and how to handle it.”
“I knew that this would be a very tight qualifying between us and the Mercedes and it could have gone either way but I’m very happy that we have locked out the front row for the team.”
“I had a great start to Qualifying, then in Q2 – I lost a bit of the rhythm and my first run in Q3 wasn’t tidy so I left it to the last run.”
“For us, it’s important as Mercedes has done an impeccable job and in the last few years they’ve achieved a lot so it’s great for the team and also for me that we have managed to break that.”
“For now, we will see what tomorrow brings – it’s a long race and we’ll try to confirm this result that we have today.”
Kimi Raikkonen – 2nd
“Generally, it’s been a very straightforward weekend – we have been happier with the car and with the set-up. Since the beginning and when you start well, it’s then easier to work and improve from here and there.”
“This is the first front row for the team and obviously I would rather be in the front but this is not an easy track to get a good lap. I’m happy to take second place and it’s a lot better that it has been so far year.”
“It’s good but it’s only qualifying and tomorrow is the day that we get the points – we have to do a good job and make the most out of it.”
“I expect for us to be OK but for sure, it’s going to be a close fight and hopefully we can have a good start and see what happens.”
Mercedes – 2017 Russian Grand Prix Qualifying Report
This is the first time in 19 races that the Silver Arrows won’t line up on pole – it’s the first time that they won’t take at least a spot on the front row either!
Lewis Hamilton struggled today but he and Bottas both pointed out that they’re still firmly in the hunt for the top honours on race day for the Russian Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas – 3rd
“I think we can see that Ferarri were the quicker team today – we were close, but not close enough!”
“All weekend, they have had the upper hand and they’ve managed to extract more out of the tyres.”
“They’re looking very strong here and as we’ve seen so far this year, Ferrari have a good race pace and it’s something that we expect from them tomorrow.”
“We have made improvements from yesterday but it just wasn’t quick enough today – I think tomorrow is what counts.”
“Starting on the second row is still not a bad place to begin the race – there’s a very long run down to Turn 2 and a lot of slipstreaming.”
“Ferrari is a ahead today but hopefully not tomorrow.”
Lewis Hamilton – 4th
“I wasn’t quick enough today. It was all in the last sector and I was losing about half a second there – I’ve been struggling all weekend with the balance and it’s been tough to utilise the tyres.”
“We;ll now go back to the drawing board and see where we can improve – Ferarri did a great job.”
“They look quick on race pace and my race runs weren’t great yesterday so it’s going to be tough but we’re going to give it all we’ve got.”
“Sochi isn’t the easiest track to follow on but there are long straights which should offer the opportunity to move forward.”
“I’m on the dirty side of the grid so I haven’t done myself any favours off to the start – it was the best job I could do today and we’ve got a real race to look forward to.”
“There’s no point in being upset, we’ll need to channel our positive energy and hopefully Sunday will be better.”
Toto Wolff – Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“Today’s result showed that whilst Ferrari and ourselves are a long way ahead of the other teams, there’s still a work in progress for us to get the car into the right window and performing consistently.”
“We made a good step compared to yesterday but this afternoon, the top three were covered by less than a tenth of a second and Valtteri could have even been on pole with his final lap until a small mistake in the last sector.”
“Lewis hasn’t been happy in the car and finding it tricky to drive – this is the place where you need to feel good with the car and to be happy.”
‘We start from the second row tomorrow and now it’s our job to look forward and see what the race can bring.”
“As we are the hunters and not the hunted – maybe we have some different cards and we play chase to the race victory.”
Red Bull – 2017 Russian Grand Prix Qualifying Report
The team feel like they got close to maximum out of the car but it wasn’t enough to battle with the front-runners of Ferrari and Mercedes.
Ricciardo and Verstappen are now in a battle with the Williams of Massa and are looking forward to the Russian Grand Prix tomorrow.
Daniel Ricciardo – 5th
“I don’t think the practice session timings were completely representative of our pace and I felt like we were always a bit better than the timing screen showed but we just hadn’t put it all together.”
“In Q1 and Q2, we were trying to circulate and build temperatures in the tyres but in Q3, we went for it and decided just to do one push lap which seemed to work so I’m glad that we chose to do that.”
“I’m pretty happy, I think fifth was all that we could ask for today and obviously looking to the gap on the front row – its the best qualifying result here in Russia and we have to take away the positives from that.”
“Ferrari and Mercedes will be battling for the win tomorrow but we will definitely have a good fight for the top five – compared to the Williams, I think we have more rear downforce and cold be better on the tyres.”
“For everyone watching at home, I hope we can all have a good race and it’s definitely good for the sport now that Mercedes is being challenged.”
Max Verstappen – 7th
“It’s a frustrating day – all things considered, we knew that this would be one of our tough tracks and I had hoped that qualifying would go better than that.”
“Q1 wasn’t too bad for us but in Q2, I had a really bad feeling with the rear tyres and I suddenly lost the grip.”
“P5 was our target and that looked positive based on my first sector splits but the time that I lost in the final sector cost me that goal.”
“Tomorrow should be a one-stop race and we will of course try to push and go forward but I just think that the top four are too quick here – the target will remain 5th in the race and that’s good result for us here.”
Christian Horner – Team Principal
“Ultimately Daniel got everything possible out of the car today. P5 was the maximum achievable and a clean, controlled lap in Q3 delivered that.”
“Max on the other hand looked a lot quicker out of the two in the previous sessions but unfortunately he got out of shape on the last run and dropped a place to Massa.”
“Fifth happens to be our best ever qualifying here at this track but obviously we have a lot to do tomorrow.”
McLaren – 2017 Russian Grand Prix Qualifying Report
Alonso pushed the car to it’s limit but could only manage qualifying in 15th – afterwards he described his lap as “nearly perfect” but couldn’t get any further.
Vandoorne set the 17th fastest lap time but will start from the back of the grid due to a 15-place penalty.
Fernando Alonso – 15th
“It was a good qualifying in terms of the performance of the chassis and the aerodynamics – the balance of the car felt quite good and grippy in the corners, I felt good and the lap in Q1 was very good.”
“The tyres are tricky around here, you need to warm them up hard and everything seemed to go ok today – the weather definitely helped and I think it’s going to be a good tyre for the race.”
“Points tomorrow are our target, we need to have a good start, a good strategy and a good race – even then, we won’t be fast enough to get into the points so we will need some help from the guys ahead of us.”
Stoffel Vandoorne – 17th
“After receiving a grid penalty yesterday for changing the power unit components, we chose to direct our focus more towards tomorrow’s race.”
“We knew that we’d more or less be starting from the back so our main aim will be to try and get the most out of tomorrow’s race and although we know that it will be difficult for us to overtake, I still think a lot of things can happen during the race.”
“We expected to have another difficult weekend but I’m hoping for a better day and the opportunity to make something happen in the race.”
Sauber – 2017 Russian Grand Prix Qualifying Report
It wasn’t the best qualifying session for the team but the positive out of the session is that both, Wehrlein and Ericsson will move up a place thanks to the penalty Vandoorne is facing.
Pascal Wehrlein – 18th
“I cannot be satisfied with this result, I made a mistake on my last lap in qualifying which definitely cost time.”
“Overall, I am having difficulties with the balance of the car and also, our top speed on the straights is not good enough.”
“The tyres behave differently compared to Bahrain and this is the same for everyone else – nevertheless, we will do what we can and hopefully have a good race tomorrow.”
Marcus Ericsson – 19th
“It’s a disappointing result. I think we made some progress in FP3 and then we identified a power unit issue in FP3 which prevented us from being able to fix it fully in time for qualifying.”
“Hopefully, tomorrow we will have this sorted, we could have been close to Q2 today but that’s how racing goes.”
“I am positive and we are moving in the right direction.”
Images from around the paddock – Russian Grand Prix Qualifying
There’s lots more to look forward to so make sure you check back for all the latest!