SOCHI: Nico Rosberg out-qualified his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to claim pole for the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi on Saturday.
Rosberg, trailing Hamilton by 48 points in the world championship, claimed his third pole of the season by three tenths of a second with a time of 1 min 37.113 sec.
It was the 18th of Rosberg’s career and came after a dramatic morning during which Spaniard Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso escaped injury when crashed heavily at Turn 13 after careering out of control at more than 300kph.
Showing undimmed self-belief and confidence, Rosberg said, “I am very happy and just enjoying being on pole at the moment. The constructors’ championship is a really important target for us again this weekend and at the same time I am out to reduce the gap on Lewis.”
Hamilton, who ran off track in a futile final bid to improve his time and grab his 50th career pole, was three-tenths adrift in second place ahead of Finn Valtteri Bottas, who was third for Williams.
Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari was fourth ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen and the two Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez.
Romain Grosjean was eighth for Ferrari ahead of Dutch teenager Max Verstappen in his Toro Rosso and Australian Daniel Ricciardo who was 10th for Red Bull.
Sainz hoping to make it to the race
Sainz was airlifted by helicopter to a hospital in Sochi and was kept overnight for observation, but made clear in his tweets that he hoped to recover and return to race.
His team chief Franz Tost said, “I think he is in good shape. He is fully conscious and still in hospital being checked by the doctors.”
As Q3 began, Sainz was busy in the hospital where he was photographed organising a television to allow him to watch the qualifying session and trying to persuade his medical staff to allow him out to race on Sunday. “All ok!.. Nothing to worry about!” he tweeted. “Already thinking about how to convince doctors to let me run tomorrow.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2015.
Like Sports on Facebook, follow @ETribuneSports on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.