Kevin Magnussen fired in the opening time of qualifying with a 1:34.078 in the Haas, 0.4s ahead of stablemate Romain Grosjean in the very early stages.
The Ferraris of Vettel and Raikkonen initially went 1-2, before Hamilton and Bottas took the top two spots from their main rivals. Kevin Magnussen led the midfield from Perez, Ocon, Leclerc, Gasly and Ericsson following the opening runs. Sirotkin, Vandoorne, Stroll and both Red Bulls were the bottom five before the final runs began.
Verstappen and Ricciardo went out despite their grid penalties and leapt ahead of the Ferraris to go 3rd and 4th. That pushed Hartley and Alonso into the bottom five as the session came towards its conclusion.
A spin for Sirotkin at turn 8 ended his chances to improve and the yellow flags forced other drivers to back off. Hartley would be the biggest casualty of the Russian’s spin.
Hartley, Alonso, Sirotkin, Vandoorne and Stroll were the five drivers knocked out in Q1.
16) Brendon Hartley 1:35.037
17) Fernando Alonso 1:35.504
18) Sergey Sirotkin 1:35.612
19) Stoffel Vandoorne 1:35.977
20) Lance Stroll 1:36.437
The first time in the second part of qualifying came from Valtteri Bottas on a 1:32.744 in the Mercedes using the ultrasoft tyre. Hamilton quickly usurped that time to go P1 by 0.149s. Vettel and Raikkonen slotted into P3 and P4, the pair of them 0.4s off Hamilton’s benchmark.
Leclerc pulled a brilliant lap out to be 5th fastest in Q2. followed by Grosjean, Ocon, Magnussen, Perez and Ericsson. Only the top 10 drivers posted a lap.
Verstappen, Ricciardo, Gasly, Sainz and Hulkenberg didn’t run and they all got knocked out. The Red Bulls and Gasly have grid penalties, while the Renault duo didn’t run due to a lack of pace this weekend and they will have a free choice of tyres for the race.
11) Max Verstappen NO TIME
12) Daniel Ricciardo NO TIME
13) Pierre Gasly NO TIME
14) Carlos Sainz NO TIME
15) Nico Hulkenberg NO TIME
Valtteri Bottas was the first to go in Q3 and pumped in an incredible 1:31.528. Moments later, Hamilton went just 0.004s slower. Vettel (+0.6s) and Raikkonen (+0.7s) put the Ferraris P3 and P4 as they struggled to get near the mighty Mercedes’.
In the battle for the best of the rest, Esteban Ocon slotted into P5, 0.006 in front of Leclerc. Magnussen, Perez, Grosjean and Ericsson completed the top 10 before the final attempts.
Bottas improved on his final run to seal pole position for the race. Hamilton put in a massively quick sector one but mistakes in the middle sector forced him to abandon his lap. Vettel found more speed on his final run but remained P3 in front of Raikkonen.
Kevin Magnussen did a mega job on his final run to be the best of the rest in 5th. Ocon, Leclerc, Perez, Grosjean and Ericsson rounded out the top 10 for the Russian Grand Prix.
1) Valtteri Bottas 1:31.387
2) Lewis Hamilton +0.145
3) Sebastian Vettel +0.556
4) Kimi Raikkonen +0.850
5) Kevin Magnussen +1.794
6) Esteban Ocon +2.026
7) Charles Leclerc +2.032
8) Sergio Perez +2.176
9) Romain Grosjean +2.317
10) Marcus Ericsson +3.809