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Vettel on pole for Russian GP: Sainz 14th, Alonso, 15th

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel grabbed pole position on Saturday ahead of Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen for the Russian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel con el Ferrari en Rusia.

 Vettel, the big favourite in Sochi

The four-time world champion led the way outpacing Raikkonen by 0.059 seconds with another Finn, Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas, the third fastest with less than tenth of a second separating the top three. Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest, the first time Mercedes had failed to have car on the front row for 31 races.

Sebastian Vettel in Sochi, Russia today.
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Sebastian Vettel in Sochi, Russia today.Dan IstiteneGetty Images

It was Vettel's first pole this year, his second for Ferrari and the 47th of his career - and, perhaps more significantly, Ferrari's first front row lockout for 127 races since the 2008 French Grand Prix. A clearly delighted Vettel screamed “Yes, yes, yes!” as the news of his pole was relayed to him on his slowdown lap.

Hamilton, struggling and disappointed, was more than half a second adrift. Vettel's success also brought to an end Mercedes' run of 18 straight pole positions dating back to last year's Monaco Grand Prix. “It's hard to understand how we're going to make it better”, Raikkonen said afterwards.

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VettelDan IstiteneGetty Images

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Red Bull ahead of Felipe Massa, Dutch teenager Max Verstappen in the second Red Bull and German Nico Hulkenberg of Renault. Mexican Sergio Pérez was ninth for Force India ahead of his team mate Frenchman Esteban Ocon while Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz ended 14th and 15th respectively.

Lewis Hamilton laments final sector struggles as he qualifies back in fourth for the Russian Grand Prix #F1 — (@GPUpdate) 29 April 2017


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