Sensation in Sochi, the qualification was won by Norris. Hamilton was fourth

Maxim Shemetov, Reuters

Brit Lando Norris won pole position in Saturday’s qualification at McLaren. The Spaniard Carlos Sainz finished second on Ferrari, the third place was taken by Norris compatriot George Russell on Williams.

During Saturday it rained heavily and for a long time in Sochi, so in the scenario there was a variant that the qualification would leave on Sunday morning if necessary, but in the end the weather calmed down and took place without complications.

The third part brought a sensation. Lewis Hamilton first crashed against a wall when entering a pit lane and had to have his front wing replaced in addition to the tires. However, it was not immediately available and he lost a lot of time with the mechanics. In the last lap, he then spun and crashed into the barrier with his rear wing. Sainz took first place first, but was later deposed by Lando Norris, who won his first pole position in his career. George Russell also finished third.

World Championship leader Max Verstappen, who defends Hamilton by a five-point lead, put on a new engine after finishing third in third place on Friday and finished sixth in the second practice. Due to the engine change, he will start the Sunday race from the end of the starting field. The Dutchman originally had to lose three places in the starting order after Saturday’s qualification due to an accident from the last Italian GP. Charles Leclerc of Ferrari also deployed the new power unit.

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Verstappen thus dropped the qualification, although in the first part he set off on the track, but he did not even run the timed time and remained in the garage.

Norris took advantage of unpredictable conditions in the area of ​​the former Olympic Park from the 2014 Games and, at the end of the qualification, used the softest mixture of tires, just like his competitors. Thanks to this move, he set a time 0.517 seconds faster than Sainz. The third Russell was also surprised, who will become the new Mercedes driver next season.

On the other hand, the seven-time world champion Hamilton, who had ruled in qualifying until then, did not come to an end. First, on the way to the tire change boxes, he hit a wall, damaged the front wing and lost important time. After repairing and returning to the track, he did not have time to warm up the new tires sufficiently and did not take part in the fights for the fastest times. His teammate Valtteri Bottas finished seventh.

Sochi testifies to Mercedes

Hamilton has a great chance. “Lewis is directly laser-focused to achieve everything he needs in the remaining eight events of the season,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

It is the circuit in Sochi that suits Hamilton and Mercedes the most. The British rider is the most successful pilot on the track with four wins. The silver arrows then had winners in all seven races so far.

No such team has succeeded anywhere in history. “We would like to follow up, but we know that a completely different challenge awaits us this year. It will be a very intense weekend,” Wolff expects.

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Neither Red Bull nor Verstappen have yet won or gained pole position in the Black Sea resort.

Qualifying results for the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix:
1. Norris (Brit./McLaren) 1:41,993
2. Sainz (Šp./Ferrari) -0,517
3. Russell (Brit./Williams) -0,990
4. Hamilton (Brit./Mercedes) -2,057
5. Ricciardo (Austr./McLaren) -2,163
6. Alonso (Šp./Alpine) -2,211
7. Bottas (Fin./Mercedes) -2.717
8. Stroll (Kan./Aston Martin) -2,963
9. Pérez (Mex./Red Bull) -3,344
10. Ocon (Fr./Alpine) -3,872

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