Nico Rosberg took pole position for the Russian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton again hit reliability problems.
Hamilton suffered a recurrence of the ERS problem in China at the end of Q2 and was unable to take part in the final part of qualifying. With Mercedes enjoying a big advantage, Rosberg was left with a clear run to pole position and even aborted his final run to be out of the car early having secured pole.
Sebastian Vettel was second fastest in Hamilton's absence - 0.7s slower than Rosberg - but will take a five-place grid penalty as a result of a gearbox change and will start from seventh. As a result, Valtteri Bottas will start from the front row having been third fastest.
Bottas impressed to beat Kimi Raikkonen by 0.1s, with Raikkonen set to start third ahead of Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez. Daniil Kvyat will start from eighth and Max Verstappen ninth, with Hamilton provisionally tenth unless he changes components which could result in a grid penalty.
Hamilton was under investigation after not following race director Charlie Whiting's instructions when rejoining the track at Turn 2 earlier in the session, but escaped with a reprimand.
Kvyat needed a final flying lap to make it in to Q3, sneaking in by less than 0.05s to knocked Carlos Sainz out in 11th place. Jenson Button came very close to taking McLaren in to the final part of qualifying for the first time this season but ended up just under 0.1s shy in 12th, with Nico Hulkenberg getting between the two McLarens.
Both Haas cars did well to make the second part of qualifying but Romain Grosjean was still unhappy with the handling, voicing his frustration over team radio. The Frenchman still pipped team-mate Esteban Gutierrez by 0.06s but the pair were over half a second off a place in Q3.
Hamilton's error came in Q1 when he ran wide at Turn 2 and avoided the large exit kerb but immediately rejoined the track rather than going round a bollard on the outside of the circuit.
A close session saw Renault, Sauber and Manor close matched, with just 0.6s between all six cars to drop out. Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer were the fastest of the six - separated by just 0.095s - but dropped out in 17th and 18th respectively.
Felipe Nasr looked happier with his new Sauber chassis to out qualify team-mate Marcus Ericsson by half a second, with the two Manors also beating Ericsson as Pascal Wehrlein edged out Rio Haryanto by just 0.064s.
|06||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:38.091||1:37.569||1:37.125|
|07||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:38.006||1:37.282||1:37.212|
|08||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||1:38.265||1:37.606||1:37.459|
|09||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:38.123||1:37.510||1:37.583|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:37.784||1:37.652|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:38.562||1:37.771|