Valtteri Bottas qualified third and Felipe Massa eighteenth for tomorrow’s inaugural Russian Grand Prix.
Valtteri showed strong pace and pushed the Mercedes cars hard for a front row position, but ultimately his tyres went away in the final corners on his final run.
A problem with Felipe’s car in Q1 led to a loss of power which meant that he had to settle for 18th on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: From a performance point of view I’m extremely happy with the pace of the car so far this weekend. Valtteri did a great job and second was possible if he had managed to put all of his sectors together. Our reliability record has been very good all season and this is something we can be proud of, but unfortunately we had a problem with Felipe’s car in Q1 which is disappointing. We have a great car and we’re confident that in the race we can get both of them ahead of the teams we’re fighting in the Championship which is our aim at this point in the season.
Valtteri Bottas: I took a bit too much out of the tyres in the first two sectors and they started to fall away in the final corners and this maybe cost us a chance of finishing on the front row. Mercedes have looked very strong in the final sector all weekend so I don’t think pole was possible but it would have been good to see where that lap would have put me. The benefit is that we will be starting on the cleaner side of the grid and this could be very beneficial on a new track with a lot of dirt off line. Third is a good result and we have strong race pace so hopefully we can battle with the Mercedes cars and secure another podium finish tomorrow.
Felipe Massa: I’m very disappointed as the car has been looking very competitive at this track and we should have been looking at the second row at least, but a problem with the car in Q1 has pushed us down the grid. I had no real power throughout qualifying and we were trying different things to resolve this out on track but in the end there was nothing I could do. P18 is far from ideal but I know I have the car underneath me to overtake tomorrow so we should have a chance to score points and limit the damage.
Track Sochi Autodrom, Russia Weather Warm and Dry
Lap Length 5.85kms / 3.63miles Temperature Air: 22-23°C Track: 31-33°C
Pos. Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1. L. Hamilton Mercedes 1:38.759 1:38.338 1:38.513
2. N. Rosberg Mercedes 1:39.076 1:38.606 1:38.713
3. V. Bottas WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING 1:39.125 1:38.971 1:38.920
18. F. Massa WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING 1:43.064 - -