Lando Norris (McLaren) has successfully become the fastest driver in the qualifying session of the Russian Formula 1 race at the Sochi Circuit, Saturday, September 25, 2021. This is the first pole position for the British driver in F1.
Carlos Sainz of the Ferrari team was second fastest and George Russell (Williams) was third, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) will start from fourth position. Hamilton had a tough qualifying after his car crashed into the pit lane guardrail, damaging the front wing of his car.
Meanwhile, standings leader Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing) will start from the last position after his team decided to embed a new power unit in the car, exceeding the allocation per season, resulting in a penalty.
Verstappen currently has a five-point lead over Hamilton after 14 races.
Heavy rains that fell on Saturday morning had forced the organizers to cancel the third free practice session, and if the weather did not improve then the qualification could potentially be shifted to Sunday morning.
In Q1 and Q2 the riders rode on intermediate tires, and when the Sochi track dried up they switched to slick tires to go faster in Q3.
Norris was the fastest in that final qualifying session to claim pole position, the first time for McLaren since 2012, after being 0.517 seconds ahead of Sainz.
Italian GP winner Daniel Ricciardo claimed P5 in his second McLaren, ahead of Alpine’s Fernando Alonso as Valtteri Bottas’ second Mercedes finished P7.
It was a disappointing result for Mercedes, who were dominant in both training sessions on Friday, as well as an unbeaten team in Russia since 2014.
Lance Stroll took the Aston Martin to P8 in front of Sergio Perez’s Red Bull and Esteban Ocon’s Alpine.
“Feels great… we made the decision in the end to switch to slick. You don’t expect to take pole until you experience it for yourself and I managed to do that. Very happy and thanks a lot to the team. They did an amazing job.” Norris was quoted as saying by Reuters .
Hamilton, meanwhile, complained that he couldn’t warm up the tires on his return to the track so he lost control of his car on his final flying lap.
“It’s my own fault. I’m very disappointed in myself,” Hamilton said.
“I apologize to the teams that are here and at the factory there because of course that is not what they expect from a champion. The reality is like this and I will do my best tomorrow to try to fix it,” said the rider, who is aiming for a 100th win in the race. his career.