Nico Rosberg scored the pole for tomorrow’s race in Russia.
This is the 18th career pole for the driver of the No. 6 Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and third of the 2015 season. He’ll be joined on the front row by teammate, points leader and defending race winner Lewis Hamilton.
This pole is critical for Rosberg to get back into title contention as he trails Hamilton by 48-points. What was a 28-point gap heading into Monza ballooned into a 53-point canyon after Nico’s retirement from the race due to engine gremlins. He was given a golden opportunity to significantly shrink that gap under the lights of Singapore after Lewis retired from the race with engine issues, but could only muster a fourth-place finish – only the second non-podium finish for the Mercedes organization this season. While he won the pole two weeks ago in the land of the rising sun, it was Hamilton who got the advantage on the initial start and won the Japanese Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas will start his Williams Mercedes in third. The Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen will start fourth and fifth.
The rest of the top-10 consisted of the Sahara Force India duo of Nico Hülkenburg and Sergio Pérez, Romain Grosjean of Lotus-Mercedes, Max Verstappen of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Red Bull-Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.
The rest of the field consists of Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Nasr, Jenson Button, Pastor Maldonado, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Marcus Ericsson, Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi.
Alonso will take a 35 grid penalty for his McLaren-Honda team going past the five-engine change maximum. The same goes for Merhi of Manor-Marussia.
Carlos Sainz Jr. didn’t take part in qualifying after a heavy crash in FP3 which forced him to be airlifted to a nearby hospital. He expects to race tomorrow, but will remain in the hospital overnight. He’ll also need approval from the race stewards because he technically didn’t take part. Typically, teams that are unable to put the car on track in qualifying will go to the stewards and show that they ran more than one lap in practice within 107% of the fastest lap set in the first round of qualifying. The fastest lap Sainz ran in FP3 was 1:42.683 and the fastest lap in Q1 was 1:38.343 by Nico Rosberg.
With practice and qualifying in the books, all that remains is to run the race.
Coverage of the Russian Grand Prix begins tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.