Charles Leclerc dominated qualifying and will start the 2019 Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrome from pole on Sunday. Leclerc claims his fourth pole in a row for Ferrari and the last time a Ferrari driver took four consecutive poles was Michael Schumacher in 2001, at the time Leclerc was just three years old.
When all the drivers set out to clock in their final run for qualifying in Q3, all eyes were on the two Ferraris and Mercedes cars. Leclerc had dominated the weekend till then and was already on for provisional pole. Sebastian Vettel was the first car among the top four to set a time, however, was unable to improve on his time as failed to get ahead of the time set by Leclerc on his first run.
Leclerc was already setting faster times behind Vettel in every sector and went even faster at the end to solidify his position for pole. However, Then the attention and the pressure shifted to Lewis Hamilton to see if he could rain of Ferrari’s parade. While Hamilton’s time wasn’t for pole, he was able to get on the front row into second and split the Ferraris. His team-mate Valterri Bottas abandoned his final run and will be starting fifth after being pushed down by the Red Bull of Max Verstappen who will start fourth on the grid alongside Vettel’s Ferrari.
The pace of the Ferrari’s in the second half of the season seems far more in line with their reputation and Leclerc’s finesse and ability to perform under pressure looks unmatched. What is astonishing is that at such a young age with such limited experience, we might just be grazing the surface of Leclerc’s abilities.
However, further down the order, the top ten drivers will start the race on Sunday the following order. Carlos Sainz in the McLaren will start from sixth, Nico Hulkenberg, the faster of the two Renaults will start seventh ahead of Lando Norris in the other McLaren. Romain Grosjean will start from ninth for Haas while Daniel Ricciardo makes up the top ten qualifiers of the race for Renault.
The elimination sin Q2 saw five drivers be eliminated who will start from 11th to 15th in the following order Pierre Gasly, Sergio Perez, Antonio GIovinazzi, Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll. While the final five drivers on the grid who were eliminated in Q1 were Kimi Raikkonen, George Russell, Robert Kubica, Alex Albon and Daniil Kvyat who will start the race in that respective order from 16th to 20th.