Report – Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will line up on the fourth row of the grid for the Russian Grand Prix in their F14 Ts. The two Scuderia drivers were closely matched for all three parts of qualifying and by the end of Q3 just 62 thousandths separated them. Pole went to Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes, the Englishman’s 38th and his team’s 32nd.
Both Ferrari drivers had no problem getting through Q1, with the Finn seventh, 0.150 tenths ahead of the Spaniard. Q2 was more difficult, because as the track continued to rubber in the fight was on right to the very end of the session. Alonso got through to Q3 in eighth spot, beating Raikkonen by just 50 thousandths.
In the final part, thanks to the very low tyre degradations, almost all the drivers stayed on track from start to finish. Fernando’s eighth place came with a 1.39.709, while Kimi secured ninth with a 1.39.771. They start alongside one another on row 4 because sixth placed Kevin Magnussen gets a penalty for changing his gearbox.
|5||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.277s||0.764s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.635s||1.122s|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.020s||1.507s|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m40.052s||–|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.163s||–|
|17||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.058s||–|
** Magnussen, Hulkenberg and Maldonado have had five-place penalties applied
Kimi Raikkonen: “After a difficult Friday, things went better today, the car has improved a lot thanks to a series of changes that worked and we had a good pace. Sure, we can’t claim to have ended up where we would have liked, but compared to the start of the weekend, we have made a step forward and this makes me confident for the race. Today, it wasn’t easy to put a quick lap together because I still have some difficulties with the front end, especially in the final sector, but tomorrow we will try our hardest to be in the game and make up some places.”
Kimi: without Mercedes engine, passing will be tricky – “It depends on the car. As we’ve seen at other circuits some of the Mercedes cars can overtake more easily than us. Probably we will make one [pit] stop or maybe two, but it’s too early to say until the beginning of the race tomorrow. At least yesterday [in practice] it was not easy to overtake; I kept following cars and getting close but there was no way to get around it. Without a Mercedes engine it will not be very easy. Obviously we have DRS but if the cars are not close behind each other then it makes no difference to anyone. We have to see. It’s obviously not where we want to be, we want to be at the front. But the speed is more or less there. The car was not ideal but much better than yesterday. We still have some difficulties trying to get the front working and a combination with the rear. It is what it is and we got more or less the most out of it. Obviously it is not a happy place to be, but at this time of the year and with the things that have been going on it is more or less the best we could have done today. Hopefully tomorrow we can improve.”