Valtteri snatches his sixth pole in F1, Lewis qualifies P2 in Russia...
- The day began with the third and final practice session of the weekend, with Lewis topping the timesheets ahead of Valtteri.
- Lewis put in a 1:33.067 and completed 13 laps, while Valtteri was 0.254s further back with a 1:33.321 and managed 16 laps. Both set their quickest times on the HyperSoft.
- Our two drivers progressed through to the final Qualifying shootout. They set their Q2 times on the UltraSoft tyre, which is the compound they will start the race on.
- After the opening runs, Valtteri was on provisional pole, but Lewis was just 0.004s further back... it was going to be a close one!
- Valtteri found more time on his final run with a 1:31.387, but Lewis ran wide at Turn 7 and was forced to abort his final run.
- This meant Valtteri secured his second pole of the season, with Lewis P2 to give us our fifth front row lockout of the 2018 Formula One season.
What Did We Learn?
"We thought yesterday went well, but you never really know for sure until Qualifying comes around," explained Technical Director, James Allison.
"It was lovely to see that the gaps of yesterday and this morning translated through into the afternoon.
"We are really delighted with a strong Qualifying session from both drivers and particularly pleased for Valtteri who showed once again that he's something of a magician on this track.
"It's going to be difficult tomorrow with the long run down from the start into Turn 2 and we know from last year that P3 on the grid allowed us to catapult into the lead.
"So hopefully we'll get some very strong starts tomorrow and then with luck the long-run pace that we saw on Friday will also translate into the race."
What We’re Saying
Valtteri: "It's been a long time since I last took pole in Austria this year, so this feels very good! We made some changes after FP3 and the car felt even better in Qualifying. I managed to find time in almost every run in Qualifying; I just had to put everything together in Q3.
"I was able to get a really good lap in on the second run and it was enough for pole, so I'm happy. Our pace looked good so far; on Friday, we were very close to Ferrari and Red Bull, but today we looked strong, so we should hopefully have a competitive car tomorrow.
"The Ferraris will be strong as well, but we should have a car that gives us the chance to fight them for win. The start will be decisive; we need to aim for a very good initial get-away. The straight into Turn 2 is so long that it's easy to overtake if the guys behind you get a better start.
"Today was a good start into the weekend and puts us in a good position for tomorrow, but the main day is still ahead of us and I'll give it everything to maintain the lead."
Lewis: "This has never been the strongest circuit for me, but Q1 was really good. My run on the HyperSoft at the end of Q2 was a great lap, but then I couldn't repeat it in Q3.
"I was two tenths up on my final lap but I made a mistake - I went quite wide and then the back stepped out at the next corner. I think I had the pace for pole, but Valtteri did the better job this time.
"It's great for the team to have a 1-2 here, we'll try and convert that tomorrow. We've made some big improvements to how we use the tyres and how we set the car up and it's showing.
"It's tough to overtake here, so the race will be about tyre management and who gets the best start. I'll be pushing hard; you saw Valtteri's great start last year, and I think that'll be my best shot to win."
Toto: "We can be happy and proud with the pace today, it's the achievement of a lot of hard work over the past weeks.
"We have a car that looks really competitive around Sochi, which is especially good after the struggles we had last year.
"But today is only Saturday, so while being on pole and locking out the front row is a massive satisfaction for us, we know that the slip stream around this track will play a big role tomorrow and could be decisive for the race.
"So we will try to have a good start to stay in front and then control the race from there. We should have the pace in the car, it's all about getting off the line well and keeping the position."