Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Sochi Autodrom, 2014

Hamilton on pole as flying Bottas slips up

2014 Russian Grand Prix qualifying

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Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Sochi Autodrom, 2014Lewis Hamilton led another Mercedes one-two in qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix – but it was nearly very different.

Valtteri Bottas was on course to claim a shock pole position until the Williams driver slipped up at the end of his final lap.

However his team mate Felipe Massa dropped out at the start of qualifying with a fuel pressure problem.


With a single pit stop looking the likely strategy for tomorrow’s race and the need to save rubber therefore reduced, all the teams used the soft compound tyre during the first part of qualifying.

The Mercedes pair exchanged the fastest times as usual, and although Hamilton ended up with the fastest time he set it after his team mate had already returned to the pits. Hamilton’s best of 1’38.759 left him just three-hundredths of a second off his best effort from qualifying.

Marussia’s decision to only enter one car for the race meant five drivers were eliminated in the first phase of qualifying. Surprisingly, they included Felipe Massa.

Williams waited until the end of the session to send their drivers out, after which they discovered a fuel pressure problem on Massa’s car. Unable to do anything about it in the time remaining, Massa simply had to persevere, but missed the cut by half a second.

Marcus Ericsson was the fastest of the quintet eliminated at the start, with the sole Marussia of Max Chilton in last place.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1’42.648
18Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’43.064
19Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1’43.166
20Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1’43.205
21Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1’43.649


Rosberg improved his best time from Q1 by a tenth of a second as the second part of qualifying began, but Hamilton was even quicker from the start, producing a 1’38.338 to lead the early running.

While Hamilton returned to the pits after that first lap, Rosberg pressed on. But his second effort still left him over a quarter of a second shy of his team mate.

Valtteri Bottas in the sole remaining Williams continued to demonstrate the pace they showed in practice, being the only driver besides the Mercedes pair to set a sub-99 second lap time.

The only Mercedes-powered cars which failed to make it into Q3, apart from the already-eliminated Massa, were Force India pair. The Ferrari drivers made it in, Kimi Raikkonen posting a late improvement to ninth place.

Jean-Eric Vergne claimed the last place in Q3 with a lap of 1’39.929. But Sebastian Vettel failed to make the cut, falling short of the Toro Rosso driver’s mark by just over a tenth of a second.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’40.052
12Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’40.058
13Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’40.163
14Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’40.536
15Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1’40.984
16Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’41.397


Rosberg took the initiative as Q3 began. The Mercedes drivers waited until the others had left the pits before joining the track, and Rosberg’s first effort put him ahead by two-tenths of a second of Bottas.

Hamilton had a scruffy first lap and was only seventh after the first runs. But his next run was clean and a 1’38.647 put him back ahead of Rosberg. His team mate was the next driver to cross the line and this time it was his turn to slip up, and had to settle for second.

With their final runs Hamilton found a further seven-hundredths of a second, and Rosberg improved to end the session two-tenths of a second off his team mate. But that wasn’t the end of the battle for pole position.

Bottas was flying, setting the fastest times through both of the first two sectors. But at the end of the lap a brief lock-up at the penultimate corner and a scruffy exit from the last turn left him third. “Rears started to slide at the end,” he reported on the radio.

Daniil Kvyat produced the best qualifying result of his career so far at home, followed by Kevin Magnussen who will take a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.

Top ten in Q3

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’38.513
2Nico RosbergMercedes1’38.713
3Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’38.920
4Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’39.121
5Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’39.277
6Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1’39.629
7Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’39.635
8Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’39.709
9Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’39.771
10Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault1’40.020

2014 Russian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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100 comments on “Hamilton on pole as flying Bottas slips up”

  1. Arghhh. I’m gutted for Bottas. My heart was beating so hard when I heard he went purple in the first two sectors. Great effort, shame he couldn’t keep it up to the end.

    1. Me too. I jumped out of my couch when i saw him purple upto sector 2. But it was bad, he couldnt keep it up untill the last cornor. Merc guys must be sweating through those last few moments though 😜

    2. A bit gutted for Bottas, hugely gutted for Massa though, he could be next to Bottas on the 2nd row instead of being right at the back

      1. Exactly. In free sessions Massa was clocking the same lap times than Valtteri, or nearly the same. It’s a shame that Williams decided to send the cars to the track very late and only then discover that there was a mechanical problem on Massa’s car. I believe Massa could grab a second or third row in a normal qualy.

    3. i thought he could make it, but he push too much at the last corner. Massa’s bad-luck magnet is on charge today

    4. Looking at the on-board replay, he was sliding a fair bit in the two or three corners before the last one as well. Perhaps he could have taken second place if he had driven more conservatively through the last corner, but he still went for it. Can’t fault that. Fingers crossed he can challenge the Mercs in the race tomorrow!

    5. Although it is annoying to see Massa’s Williams back there, I can’t wait till tomorrow to see how he could charge through the field.

      1. Jenson Button was really downbeat in his interview, has he just been told he will not be at Mclaren next year? If that is the case he should replace the perennially underachieving Massa; Jenson has shown he can win in a reasonable car and if not win he always gets a shed-load of points for his team which has never been Massa’s strong point.

        1. Comments like this show how some people are. How could Massa have qualified higher with a car that had no power? He isn’t a God…

          1. It seems that some people just comment without even watching the qualifying or without knowing what have happened in the session.

    6. First time since Austria Q3 was genuinly exciting for me.

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        11th October 2014, 14:40

        Really? You didn’t find Belgium, Italy or Singapore exciting?

        I thought they were fantastic, especially singapore.

        1. @tophercheese21 None of those you mentioned had an interesting battle for pole, as it would have always been one of the Mercs. And if pole is the only thing one cares about, those qualifyings thus weren´t interesting. However, I for one find especially Q2 exciting nearly every week.

    7. Yeah, me too! Nonetheless a solid effort from him.

    8. Great effort from Bottas!! Doing purples up to sector 2 ended up overheating the rears but(!), great effort! I would love to see him P2, between the Mercs, to see what he is made of, challenging and being challenged between the Mercs.
      The potential is there… the Williams is in good shape and Bottas has proved himself to be a fast driver. Exciting last minutes of Q3!

  2. What I don’t really get, is why Ferrari feel the need to run light on fuel in practice. Gives every tifosi (like myself) a false hope, and then qualifying comes, and we’re 8th and 9th. What’s the point of appearing quick if you just embarrass yourselves even more.

    1. it is just a different testing program they do, maybe it helps them in the race doing that. it wouldn’t be for any reason like giving fans false hope.

    2. Do you really think they do it to give their fans hope?

      I don’t study all the free practice times so I’m not sure how accurate this is, but it could be that other teams choose to simulate long runs on Friday and qualifying on Saturday morning while Ferrari like to do a mixture of runs in each session to give them some data in varying conditions.

      1. More likely give sponsors hope/a bit of TV time.

    3. You are still getting false hope? It’s the same story every race weekend

    4. RAI improved by near 2 seconds between FP2 and Quali. I did the analysis below to compare timings from FP2 to Quali. You will note that Perez and Hulkenberg improved dramatically from Friday to Sat afternoon. All the top 5 drivers showed approx 1 sec improvement from FP2 to Quali. I am missing speed trap data will be interesting too along with nr of laps performed by each driver during FP2, and each stage of the Quali prior to setting their fast laps.
      3 PM Local ~3 PM Local
      Driver Team Quali FP3 FP2
      1 LC Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1’38.513 1’38.726 1’39.630
      2 N Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1’38.713 1’39.016 1’40.542
      3 V Bottas (FIN) Williams 1’38.920 1’39.097 1’40.573
      4 J Button (GBR) McLaren 1’39.121 1’40.355 1’40.573
      5 D Kvyat (RUS) Toro Rosso 1’39.277 1’40.009 1’41.108
      x6 K Magnussen (DEN) McLaren x1’39.629 1’42.436 1’40.494
      7 D Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull 1’39.635 1’39.755 1’42.061
      8 F Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 1’39.709 1’40.151 1’40.504
      9 KM Räikkönen (FIN) Ferrari 1’39.771 1’40.011 1’41.630
      10 JE Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso 1’40.020 1’40.205 1’41.531
      11 S Vettel (GER) Red Bull 1’40.052 1’40.338 1’41.396
      12 N Hülkenberg (GER) Force India 1’40.058 1’40.669 1’41.677
      13 S Perez (MEX) Force India 1’40.163 1’40.699 1’42.090

  3. Nice work “almost” Valterri. Great job Daniil. A fairly exciting qualy all round.

    1. If I was a Ferrari Board of Directors member I’d advice pushing to get Bottas and dump Kimi. Vettel/Bottas looks a bit more promising than Vettel/Raikkonen and certainly better than 2014 Alonso/Raikkonen.

      Plus, if I was Wolff and Lauda and wanting to disband their current line-up I’d think about Bottas before Alonso to replace either Hamilton or Rosberg. The young Finn, in a competitive and consistent car could be easily converted into a world champion!

      1. If I were Ferrari, I would pick Bottas and Vergne for next year. VET looks tot…

      2. i don’t see Toto letting Ferrari snatch his protegé, Valterri…

        1. I don’t think his other manager Mika Häkkinen, a loyal McLaren man, would be too happy either with him going to Ferrari…

          But I’m sure if a race seat opened up there he wouldn’t need much convincing to grab the opportunity.

      3. If Bottas or Massa were somehow Alonso this season they could have had at least three win in the bag for Williams, Mercedes powered cars are too much in front of the rest by 50hsp advantage ‘unfair as we’re in 2014’ , i mean as Alonso said ‘ the car felt so good no understeer or oversteer, very balanced and you do a perfect lap and then when you cross the finnish line you’re a second behind for whatever reason’

  4. Oh Valtteri, so close mate,
    Nearly upset the apple cart, great lap till that last corner,

  5. So the race is looking boring tomorrow. Hamilton leaving Rosberg far behind. Still, hope to see an interesting battle with Rosberg/Bottas and the rest of the field.

  6. Kvyat 0.7s off pole and 0.8s faster than Vergne. Not bad at all. Shame about Bottas.

    1. Very impressive stuff, not only comfortably ahead of his team mate, but also faster than the red bulls.

    2. is it possible vergne cut him some slack by under performing a bit? u know just to let the russian impress russians so they would feel it easy to spend that much money on tickets?

      1. No. JEV is fighting for his F1 career at the moment.

  7. Anyone think that Torro Rosso just went for a super qualify set-up to get some headlines?Can they do that? It is just a bit coincidental.

    I have no issue with it, just did not expect it at all.

    If not, fair play to Kvyat!

    1. edit!: Ignore “can thay do that”

      I ment to say, is it possible for them to do that. Or even turn the engine up to super maximum which would stress the unit somewhat.

    2. you are too negative and seeking conspiracty theories, your first sentence should have been the one applauding the great result. many drivers do great performances at their home races. kvyat has been great all year, and today was the icing on the cake, and shows why redbull have faith in him for next year.

      1. + he has a massive confidence boost. He has been picked to replace a 4 times world champ. Must really make you feel like one of the top 6.

    3. Toro Rosso has really been coming on strong these last few races, I think they are simply improving. Plus Daniil has shown extraordinary pace this year, hence the promotion to RB

  8. Toro Rosso > Red Bull. Haven’t seen that since 2008.

  9. Good to see Kvyat up there, his reaction was great. Bottas’ final lap was also fun to see, too bad he overcooked it a few corners before the end. He could have beaten Rosberg had he kept it together in the final corner.

    After watching two practice sessions and qualifying, this is by far the least inspired, most boring track I’ve ever seen in featured on the F1 calendar, it makes Valencia look spectacular, if only for the pretty colours. I wish they’d go back to Turkey next year. :/

    1. Drivers like the track, calling it “exciting” and “cool”. They are making quite a few mistakes, too. I don’t think it’s boring.

      But it’s all up to you if you don’t want to watch :)

    2. The track is great, i personally don’t see it as boring, it also challenges the drivers

    3. I think after him designing Istambul Park, Hermann Tilke has been on a mission to design the world ugliest tracks and for some reason Bernie always liked that

    4. you are exagerating

  10. Yummy! Well done Hamilton.

  11. What a great job by Daniil Kvyat! I have always had a high opinion of this Russian boy but did not expect him to beat both Red Bulls in a Toro Rosso. A podium finish tomorrow is rather unlikely but this excellent result at his home race a week after the promotion to Red Bull once again proves that he can handle pressure, and how. Even though I am a Mercedes fan, I almost would not mind having an engine unfreeze for 2015 to see what this boy can do with the best car.

  12. It would seem that Bottas got 2 purple sectors by pushing the tires too hard. No grip in the last tight low DF corners. It’s a long lap. I think the real star is Kyvat.

    1. lap looked a lot like the lap Rosberg had a bit earlier, he also lost a lot in S3 in that lap, seems it was the same for Bottas

    2. Williams often set their cars up for straight line speed, and often find themselves at the top of the speed trap leaderboard. At Sochi that gave them good times in S1 and S2, but all weekend they have been struggling with the corners in S3.

    3. i think Bottas knew he needed to give everything to beat the mercs so there was no looking after the tyres option for him, Claire Williams was super happy for good purple reasons.

  13. Interesting to look at Rosberg in that Press conference. He looks almost as vexed as he did earlier in the year, right before he started outqualifying and beating Hamilton several races in a row.

    1. Slowly but surely he’s comming to sense. He’s starting to realise he can’t win this title unless Hamilton starts to have a whole lot of bad luck.

    2. nico hasnt strung any wins together this season.he’s only coverted 1 of his last 6 poles into a that car,thats poor.

    3. Surely he daren’t try another trick, however desperate he is. I really believe Toto might kick him out.

    4. Wasn’t really anything to do with Rosberg though. Although I guess you could call the trick he pulled in Monaco a “skill”, but besides that it was Hamilton’s car burning up, his brakes exploding, a mistake in the track conditions and a spin.

      I saw it more as Rosberg looking as desperate as he did before things went wrong for Hamilton a few races in a row. Like he said, he just has to accept that Hamilton is faster.

      1. I like the way you say “a mistake in the track conditions” to make a mistake seem less then a mistake :P don’t worry, it is coming up to the end of the season, the time we usually see Hamilton make a “real” mistake.

        1. kpcart again. Man this guy would love Hamilton to win the championship ;)

    5. Started outqualifying and beating? That is a curious legend. Rosberg has won four races. Four. In two of those Hamilton had qualifying issues that compromised his race, and I’m not counting Monaco. Rosberg has no demonstrated ability to consistently beat Hamilton.

  14. Grosjean being interviewed after the quali by French TV (rough translation from memory) :
    “Romain, how hard is it being in your helmet with that sad atmosphere in the paddock those days ?
    – Well, it’s even harder than usual … Not only the car drives terrible, and we’re losing a friend so …”

    … Urgh, that didn’t seem optimistic and I guess they’re better informed than we are :(

  15. HAM and BOT’s Q2 tyres which are for the race start, may be in slightly better shape than ROS’s, who did 2 hot laps in Q2. BOT apparently kept more in hand in Q2 and HAM only did one hot lap. May put pit strategy in play for Mercedes as they normally let the leader pit first, but Ros may actually need to pit first.

    1. Bottas did quite a few laps in Q2. Not sure if they were all on the same tyres, though. If they were then I hope he hasn’t taken too much out of them and he can take it to the Mercs.

      1. I think that BOT did 1 lap too many in Q2. However, tires held up very well and I suspect Perez, RAI, BUT, MAL, and HUL will attempt to pull off one stoppers even with the undercut (and might even get away with it) ;)

  16. Lewis did a 1’38.3 in Q2. Nico is actually .5sec of Lewis’s pace rather than the .2 we saw in Q3. He cannot be happy with that. This also tells me Nico is the one who should be worried about Bottas tomorrow. At the minimum, and on a single lap pace alone, the Merc is still half a second faster than the Williams.

    1. If Rosberg loses this championship, he’s lost it on pace alone. I was thinking early on in the season that this was Rosberg’s championship, and if he didn’t win it he would look like an idiot with all the bad luck that Hamilton was getting. Now, this is Hamilton’s championship. Rosberg has to thank Bernie Ecclestone for the double points. Without that, Rosberg would have no hope. He’s not world championship material.

    2. Erm…Rosberg did a 38.5 in Q2! So that makes your point useless

    3. @kbdavies The track dropped off in Q3. I doubt Rosberg is .5 off Lewis’ pace.

    4. @kbdavies
      They said the track got slower in Q3

  17. K Mag really lacks luck but he is fast.

    1. Yeah. Still angry about the penalty he got in Italy.

      1. many (including the stewards) will say it was deserved.

    2. How can you say that? 5 tenths slower than JB whos by no means the best qualifier ever. If anything lately he’s the only one worthy of praise in all of McLaren.

    3. What was with the depressed look of both McLaren drivers during the post qualifying interviews though. It was like they were just told that they won’t have a seat at McLaren next year or had some fight with the team or so. Really odd for 2 drivers who really qualified higher than you would have expected.

  18. Daniil, Kevin and Valtteri drove amazing laps.

    1. Kvyat and Bottas, yes. Kevin not so much. He was outqualified by quite a margin. And Button isn’t exactly Speedy Gonzalez over one lap.

  19. Sem (@05abrahamsemere)
    11th October 2014, 13:41

    I would like to see how Bottas goes when paired with a real top driver like Alonso and Hamilton; he is clearly a great talent and could have got pole today. Meanwhile, spare a thought for Vettel who is getting slapped silly by Aussie Grit 2.0…

    1. Well, Fernando is certainly out there for almost any top team really.
      + Santander’s money could really help Williams.
      I think it would be very interesting and tight battle between Fernando and Valtteri in the Williams.

      1. Massa is alreadt confirmed for next year by Williams (it happened at Monza where they also confirmed Bottas)

        Had they known (or seriously expected)Alonso would become available I think they they would bot have done that. But now they can’t just ditch Massa anymore.

    2. Pretty embarrassing for Ric who everyone thinks is amazing. He just got beat by a toro Rosso c

      1. I think the Toro Rosso was faster. The gap between Vergne and Ricciardo was smaller than it normally was last year.

      2. So Andre, same applies to Vettel who qualified even WORSE than Ricciardo?

        1. Heh this whole year has been a flat out whooping for Vettel.

          That’s why he’s leaving now I think. Amother year of getting beaten by RIC and his reputation would have been gone. 4WDC’s now still give him some slack and he’s cashing a Ferrari salary because of it. Another yr of losing to his teammate with humiliating qualifying gaps and degrading passes like the dummy in Monza and he wouldn’t have been able to sign with amy top team I recon

    3. I don’t see why Alonso will join Williams and leave Ferrari, basically all the rumors about his departure stays a rumors, we don’t know yet whether is him gonna leave Ferrari or Raikkonen, but we do know that one of them will leave Ferrari next season. as for Williams maybe they got massive advantage this season but will they carry it on for 2015, kinda doubt it really

      1. ALO & VET could both be going to McLaren. It would explain the glum faces on the current McLaren drivers this weekend. That leaves Ferrari praying even more than the rest of us that BIA makes a quick and complete recovery.

  20. Kvyat! Good job at home and proves he is a worthy Red Bull driver next to Ricciardo. Too bad for Bottas, but it proves that he will be extremely quick in the race.

  21. Got over-excited in the last sector, and just lost it.

  22. Real happy Mclaren are making Q3 with regularity now.

    I was following the session on TV as well as through my F1 app, I couldn’t believe my eyes when Bottas set two purples, and it wasn’t just thousandths but clear margins.

    1. just in time for the switch over to Honda… things are looking more positive. with positivity, results may follow, and a bigger name driver will be in their team next year (Alonso or Hamilton).

  23. Button did well to get P4, strangely no-one seems to notice.

    1. Nobody here notices anything about Button except when they want to bash him for what ever reason….

      1. Totally agree, for me JB is still one of the top half dozen drivers and would be an asset to any team, give him the Mercedes and he would be right there, too many Button bashers around.

    2. Button who scored more points then Hamilton when they were teammates. he is the quiet achiever, great wet weather driver, A- on pure speed, but a proven solid performer in f1 – and of course a world champion. this is a solid result for him today, but I think it just shows that McLaren are finally catching up to where they should be this year with the Mercedes engine, they should be third fastest. who knows, maybe in the next race they will be 10th and 12th fastest again.

      1. Magnussen, who has generally been the faster McLaren driver in practice and qualifying, and Button, who obviously excels in races, have both demonstrated that when the car performs, they do, too.
        Really I don’t see what Alonso will bring. His 5 un-successful years at Ferrari have proved that he has made a difference in creating a competitive car, which is really what McLaren need the most. Alonso would be like another Button. Why not just keep the original?
        Button ad Magnussen for McLaren would be good. They don’t need Alonso’s ego to stir that pot.

        1. That was supposed to read: “… His 5 un-successful years at Ferrari have proved that he has NOT made a difference in creating a competitive car …”

    3. Button is underappreciated because he can’t lead a team.
      Mclaren made some mistakes since Hamilton left, and Jenson is not the driver to achieve some ocasional great result to at least bring hopes up a little.

      He was 2nd on 2011 but that was farther from the title than Hamilton’s 4ths of 2010 and 2012, so that doesn’t mean much.

      Put a challenge to the title is something he never showed Mclaren he can do.

  24. Can’t help myself from being impressed by Ericsson, the way he’s turned around his season and possibly his career is impressive!

    1. Agreed. Amazing quali by Ericsson. Just a month ago he looked terrible, now on a good run. All credit to him.

      1. Agreed. I did not think he belonged in F1. Now I do.

    2. Maybe it’s the new front wing that has made a huge difference to the car. Koby destroyed one at Suzuka, not sure if he’s had a replacement or if he’s stuck with the old one. Be good to find out, if anyone knows.

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