Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2015

Rosberg denies Hamilton pole in Russia

2015 Russian Grand Prix qualifying

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Nico Rosberg will start the Russian Grand Prix from pole position after leading throughout the qualifying session.

The Mercedes driver headed all three parts of qualifying while team mate Lewis Hamilton went off the track trying to beat his pole position time.

Valtteri Bottas took third place but team mate Felipe Massa could only manage 15th.


Despite a disrupted build-up to qualifying, the first phase proceeded according to the usual routine. The two Mercedes drivers were easily able to proceed to the second part without having to use a set of super-soft tyres.

All their rivals did use the softer rubber, however. Valtteri Bottas improved enough that he ended the session in between the two Mercedes drivers, with Rosberg leading the times.

With Carlos Sainz Jnr unable to participate following his crash in practice, just four further drivers were eliminated in Q1. Home favourite Daniil Kvyat was one of the last to escape the bottom group.

Jenson Button was keeping a close eye on the progress of the Saubers, and he and Felipe Nasr swapped closely-matched sector times on their last flying effort. In the end both of them made it through, however, leaving their team mates behind along with the Manor pair.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1’40.144
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’40.660
18 Will Stevens Manor-Ferrari 1’43.693
19 Roberto Merhi Manor-Ferrari 1’43.804
20 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Renault


Rosberg pressed on as the second part of qualifying began, beating the track record on his first run with a 1’38.335. Hamilton, despite losing telemetry shortly after leaving the pits, found almost two-thirds of a second to take over at the top of the table, but Rosberg hit back right away with a 1’37.500. That left the pair over a second clear of their pursuers.

Once again it was Bottas who led the charge against the Mercedes, getting within seven-tenths of a second of Rosberg. But just as last year his team mate did not accompany him into Q3: Felipe Massa caught traffic on his lap and complained he lost rear tyre grip.

The second Williams ended up 15th behind Pastor Maldonado, who also failed to accompany his team mate into Q3, having spun in the first session.

Felipe Nasr held tenth place until the final moments, when he was pipped by Max Verstappen. Kvyat also lost out to Verstappen – by less than a tenth of a second, missing out on the chance to start his home race from the top ten again.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull-Renault 1’39.214
12 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1’39.323
13 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1’39.700
14 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 1’39.811
15 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’39.895


With the track conditions improving steadily, Rosberg might have been at a disadvantage by being the first of the two Mercedes to do a lap. But he set a 1’37.113 when Hamilton couldn’t get within three-tenths of a second of.

The pair were set for a final-run shoot-out but it all came to naught after Hamilton ran wide at turn 13. He made for the pits and with that the challenge for pole position was over. Rosberg also headed back to his garage before the chequered flag came out.

Kimi Raikkonen copied Hamilton’s mistake at turn 13 and also made for the pits, leaving Bottas and Vettel to scrap for third place. The Williams driver had a poor end to his lap, however, and Vettel came close to beating him. The pair were separated by just 0.053 seconds, which Vettel felt he could have found.

Behind Raikkonen the two Force Indias were covered by an even narrower margin. Romain Grosjean and Max Verstappen bumped Daniel Ricciardo back to tenth, the Red Bull driver describing his final effort as a “disaster”.

Top ten in Q3

1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’37.113
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’37.433
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’37.912
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’37.965
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’38.348
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’38.659
7 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’38.691
8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes 1’38.787
9 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault 1’38.924
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’39.728

2015 Russian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Rosberg denies Hamilton pole in Russia”

  1. Have you kept watching the broadcast after the session ended? Eddie Jordan kept going on and on and on about Massa’s underperformance and how it is a shame for him. Knowing Eddie he might be sneakily trying to put a driver he supports in Williams, what do you think?

    1. @evrenu Especially his ‘it happens to often’ remark was a bit too much if you ask me. Massa is keeping Bottas very honest, and he is the one who has had the majority of bad luck.

    2. I don’t understand why Massa has been on the receiving end everytime, he has had a pretty good year and has kept Bottas(rated by all as way better) under check for most part. Singapore, a racing incident, Japan- a start incident and this heating was a problem and he just made an error which doesnt mean everyone puts a blame on him saying he isnt good. He has shown he is great and I expect a good race to top6 atleast from him ! And to add, remember he has 2 technical problems in Practice 3, that may be a reason too for the car not performing well enough !

    3. I don’t know if he has an agenda, but I found his comments inappropriate. This one qualifying was indeed terrible, but he’s been quite strong and consistent before that, so I don’t think he deserves this kind of criticism.
      I don’t remember Eddie Jordan being remotely as harsh to Räikkönen, for instance, who’s been consistently and sometimes quite shockingly underperforming ever since he rejoined Ferrari. So whatever was going on in EJ’s head, it did nothing but pollute the broadcast.

    4. Dunno what that says about Bottas then thou. They are 7-7 in quali and 6-6 in races. If Massa is this close despite his “many” mistakes, bad news for Bottas.

      1. Exactly. Matching Bottas despite:
        a) Bahrain GP – Being forced to start from Pit lane because the car wouldn’t start on the grid.
        b) Canadian GP – Gremlins in engine. Couldn’t get out of Q1. Had to make his way through from the back.
        c) Singapore GP – Gearbox failure.
        d) Japan GP – Being more than a lap down on the second lap after a race start collision with Daniel Riccardo (Everyone acknowledging that it was no one’s mistake and a racing incident)

        Felipe Massa is definitely giving Bottas a good fight (if not better). But in any case, driving better than 2014.

        Eddie Jordan, probably being wrong on most of his predictions this year, [His driver 2016 lineup predictions going haywire despite a very boring driver (changes) market this time around] is very frustrated and trying to get some attention at the end of the year.

      2. Well it’s no coincidence that Massa involves him in accidents about 10x more often than Bottas, was it “no one’s fault” or not. Can you remember Bottas crashing with someone, or due to own stupidity to a wall?

    5. He’s annoying. Hakkinen’s also somewhere in between EJ and Villeneuve. Hakkinen’s agenda gets in the way of us hearing what he genuinely thinks about anything and everything. At least Villeneuve is natually annoying just the way he is.

  2. I wonder if Hamilton is hoping for a good tow into turn one?

  3. Same old story as Rosberg will take off like a Lada on ice.

    1. Yoseph (@yshibeshiyahoo-co-uk)
      10th October 2015, 15:47


  4. Chris Brighton
    10th October 2015, 15:17

    Starting in second is probably better than starting on Pole here! There’s a massive run down to the first corner so presuming Rosberg and Hamilton get similar starts, it’ll be Hamilton leading by the first corner. I say first corner as the real first corner isn’t a corner!

    1. So long as Hamilton doesn’t make the same mistake as Rosberg did last year.

  5. Jeeez, Alonso’s time is 0.450sec slower than his last year time! 5th pole time from this year is better than last year’s pole. So, everybody moved ahead regarding the performance… only McLaren-Honda backwards. It’s worth mentioning that last year both McLarens qualified better than Alonso.

  6. I have lost most of my respect for Martin Brundle after what he said about Nico Rosberg. After Tony Ross radioed Nico to tell him he was around 3 tenths up on Hamilton, Brundle said that Ross had to speak slowly to make sure that Nico believed him. Now bring on the hate from the people who have a different opinion.

    1. Haven’t seen it, but from your description it sounds more like a sign of respect for Hamilton than disrespect towards Rosberg.

  7. Planned by Ham, longest run up to 1st corner so he’s gonna slipstream past instead of being passed!

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