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Nico Rosberg will start Sunday’s race at the Russian Grand Prix from pole position, with teammate Lewis Hamilton in 10th place.
Hamilton, already trailing his fellow Mercedes man by 36 points in the drivers’ standings, suffered a power-unit failure at the end of the second segment of qualifying.
Behind Rosberg, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished second but will take a five-place grid penalty due to a gearbox change.
Williams racer Valtteri Bottas, third fastest in qualifying, will inherit second place on the grid thanks to Vettel’s penalty, with the German’s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, moving up from fourth to third.
Felipe Massa lines up fourth on the grid for Williams, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Force India’s Sergio Perez making up the third row.
Vettel will be positioned just ahead of home star Daniil Kvyat, who starts from eighth having squeezed into the shootout following a shaky but fast lap at the death of Q2.
Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen again impressed to take ninth place.
Hamilton will start 10th, assuming that Mercedes to not need to replace components that would result in the current champion being hit with a grid penalty.
The issue concerning Hamilton’s hybrid power unit was the same as that which badly affected his chances at the previous event, the Chinese Grand Prix, where he finished seventh.
The Englishman had topped the timesheets from Rosberg in the opening segment of qualifying in Sochi, with the most significant casualty being Renault, as both Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer suffered elimination, alongside the Sauber and Manor machines.
Rosberg grabbed top spot in Q2, while McLaren’s hopes of competing in the final segment were dashed, as Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso both missed out, along with Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, and Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez.
With Hamilton absent from Q3, Rosberg comfortably secured pole position, despite a mistake forcing him to abandon his final flying lap of the day.
The session concluded with two Finnish drivers doing battle over what would become second place on the grid, as Bottas narrowly defeated Raikkonen to become Rosberg’s likely closest challenger through the opening series of turns on Sunday.
Russian Grand Prix qualifying result
Pos. Driver, Team, Q1 Time, Q2 Time, Q3 Time
1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 01:36.119, 01:35.337, 01:35.417
2. Sebastian Vettel*, Ferrari, 01:36.555, 01:36.623, 01:36.123
3. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 01:37.746, 01:37.140, 01:36.536
4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 01:36.976, 01:36.741, 01:36.663
5. Felipe Massa, Williams, 01:37.753, 01:37.230, 01:37.016
6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 01:38.091, 01:37.569, 01:37.125
7. Sergio Perez, Force India, 01:38.006, 01:37.282, 01:37.212
8. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, 01:38.265, 01:37.606, 01:37.459
9. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 01:38.123, 01:37.510, 01:37.583
10. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 01:36.006, 01:35.820, -
11. Carlos Sainz Jr., Toro Rosso, 01:37.784, 1:37.652, -
12. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:38.332, 1:37.701, -
13. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:38.562, 1:37.771, -
14. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:37.971, 1:37.807, -
15. Romain Grosjean, Haas, 1:38.383, 1:38.055, -
16. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, 1:38.678, 1:38.115, -
17. Kevin Magnussen, Renault, 1:38.914, -, -
18. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1:39.009, -, -
19. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 1:39.018, -, -
20. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, 1:39.399, -, -
21. Rio Haryanto, Manor, 1:39.463, -, -
22. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:39.519, -, -
*Five-place grid penalty to be incurred