More misery for Hamilton, Rosberg on pole

Sat Apr 30, 2016 2:16pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg seized pole position for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday after a power unit failure piled more misery on Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton.

The German, chasing his seventh successive win and fourth of the season, clinched one of the easiest poles of his career and will be joined on the front row by Finland's Valtteri Bottas in a Williams.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel qualified second but has a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.

"I was quite confident that the lap was good enough," said Rosberg, whose best effort was a hefty 0.706 seconds faster than Vettel's.

"In Quali Two Ferrari was quite far away and I knew that Lewis was unable to participate in the last part of qualifying. I was very sure it was going to be enough," added the German, who also took pole last year in Sochi.

It was the 24th pole of Rosberg's career and the 40th in 42 races for champions Mercedes.

Hamilton, the triple world champion and winner in Russia for the past two years but 36 points behind Rosberg in a season full of setbacks, saw his luck desert him in qualifying for the second race in a row.

The Briton had been quickest in practice but was sidelined from the final 10-car showdown for pole when his car's power unit failed during the second phase. He will start 10th.   Continued...

Formula One - Russian Grand Prix - Sochi, Russia - 30/4/16 - Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, Mercedes F1 driver Nico Rosberg of Germany and Williams F1 driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland pose for photographers after the qualifying session. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov