Hamilton splits with Ferrari in Russia

Straight-line speed outperformed the AMG Mercedes team in qualifying today at Sochi as Charles Leclerc took his fourth pole position in a row.

Team mate Seb Vettel finished third for a second row start having his young team mate and arch rival on the front row in front of him.

Early in the qualifying Alex Albon crashed and the session was red flagged. It was then we could anticipate strategies would have to change with a delay on track.

Once they returned the pace was fast from Ferrari with Leclerc the only driver to enter the 1:31’s. The next four cars were at best in the 1:32’s followed by the next five drivers in Q3 with 1:33’s across an average of 18.4 laps per driver in Q3.

Sochi has a very long front main straight so the start of race to turn 1 should be exciting with fuel loads to the maximum along with tyre selection likely to be medium.

Leclerc has a milestone to reminisce on as the last time we saw a driver take four pole positions in a row in a season was back in 2000 and 2001 with Michael Schumacher. At that time Charles Leclerc was three years old.

Michael Schumacher and Scuderia Ferrari were dominating the seasons back then after some tougher seasons in the late nineties. As 2019 comes closer to the season end Leclerc has out-qualified Sebastian Vettel nine times since Montreal.

116Charles LeclercFERRARI1:33.6131:32.4341:31.62818
244Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:33.2301:33.1341:32.03019
35Sebastian VettelFERRARI1:33.0321:32.5361:32.05322
433Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA1:33.3681:32.6341:32.31015
577Valtteri BottasMERCEDES1:33.4131:33.2811:32.63218
655Carlos SainzMCLAREN RENAULT1:34.1841:33.8071:33.22220
727Nico HulkenbergRENAULT1:34.2361:33.8981:33.28915
84Lando NorrisMCLAREN RENAULT1:34.2011:33.7251:33.30120
98Romain GrosjeanHAAS FERRARI1:34.2831:33.6431:33.51719
103Daniel RicciardoRENAULT1:34.1381:33.8621:33.66118
1110Pierre GaslySCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA1:34.4561:33.95013
1211Sergio PerezRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES1:34.3361:33.95814
1399Antonio GiovinazziALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:34.7551:34.03714
1420Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI1:33.8891:34.08213
1518Lance StrollRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES1:34.2871:34.23314
167Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:34.8408
1763George RussellWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:35.3568
1888Robert KubicaWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:36.4748
1923Alexander AlbonRED BULL RACING HONDA1:39.1974

Q1 107% time – 1:39.544

Note – Verstappen, Albon and Gasly each penalised 5 grid places for use of additional power unit elements. Kvyat and Kubica required to start race from back of grid due to multiple power unit element changes. Kvyat races at stewards’ discretion after failing to set a qualifying time. Results source F1.com