Lewis Hamilton the man to catch in Sochi

Mercedes driver will start in pole position at Russian Grand Prix tomorrow

Lewis Hamilton continued his domination of the inaugural Russian Grand Prix to claim the 38th pole position of his Formula One career, but only after a major error from Williams' Valtteri Bottas.

After finishing comfortably quickest in the second and third practice runs around F1’s newest venue, the Sochi Autodrom, Hamilton topped the timesheet in all three qualifying sessions. and will lead away the field on Sunday.

There was a scare, though, as Bottas was fastest in the first two sectors of the track on his final flying lap, only to make errors over the final third to finish third behind Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

After winning the last three races to open up a 10-point lead over Rosberg, Hamilton now starts favourite to make it four in a row for the second time this season as he did earlier in the year with victories in Malaysia, Bahrain, China and Spain.


Showing a return to form, Jenson Button will start fourth in his McLaren, the veteran Briton’s second best grid slot of the campaign.

As for home hope Daniil Kvyat, the young Russian secured his best position of his fledgling career with fifth in his Toro Rosso to the delight of his fans.

The second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen qualified sixth, but with a five-place penalty for a gearbox change will now drop to 11th.

That promotes Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen and Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne, along with the second Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel, who will be leaving Red Bull for Ferrari at the end of the season, missed out on the top-10 shoot-out as he struggled with rear grip on his car.