Grand Prix qualifying results: Norris takes Sochi F1 pole – Autosport

Norris will start ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr (Ferrari) and George Russell (Williams) after the one-hour qualifying session, which came down to a final-lap shootout for cars on slick tyres as the track dried enough to allow the dry rubber to be faster.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton will start fourth, but his slick-tyre run was ruined when he hit the wall entering the pits.
Despite fears that qualifying would be washed out after heavy rain in Sochi, the session started on time as planned. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who will start the race from the rear of the grid after an engine change, set the early pace at 1m50.292s on intermediate tyres. Moments later he was almost taken out by the spinning Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi.
The Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton took over at the top, before Red Bull’s Sergio Perez took P1 with a laptime of 1m46.455s. Bottas regained top spot with 1m46.396s, before Hamilton beat everyone with 1m45.992s.
Falling at the first hurdle were Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, Mick Schumacher (Haas), Giovinazzi (Alfa), Nikita Mazepin (Haas) and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) who, like Leclerc, will start from the back of the grid after changing his power unit. He did take to the track in qualifying but didn’t set a laptime.
In Q2 the track was drying, with Hamilton setting the early pace on 1m46.096s before Bottas beat it with 1m45.506s and then improved by a further tenth of a second on his next tour. Hamilton eventually worked down to 1m45.129s on his final lap to keep P1.
Knocked out at this point were Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin, by five hundredths of a second), the AlphaTauris of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, along with Nicholas Latifi (Williams) and Leclerc, both of whom didn’t set a laptime due to grid penalties for power unit changes.
With the track now greasy rather than wet, cars ran initially on intermediates. Bottas set the early pace but Hamilton immediately beat him with 1m44.050s. Norris jumped up to P2 in his McLaren, 0.656s off the pace and ahead of Bottas by 0.006s.
Russell was the first to commit to slicks and was followed a lap later by all the others. Hamilton hit the wall as he pitted, breaking his front wing and delaying Bottas’ pitstop too.
Sainz was the first to grab pole on slicks, with a lap of 1m42.510s, before Norris beat him with 1m41.993s. Russell jumped up to P3 and will start ahead of Hamilton, who spun on his only slicks lap and had to rely on his intermediate time.
Daniel Ricciardo will start fifth for McLaren, ahead of Fernando Alonso (Alpine), Bottas, Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Perez and Esteban Ocon (Alpine).
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