Sochi, September 29: Valtteri Bottas took a lap-record pole ahead of Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes continued their dominance of the Russian Grand Prix in qualifying on Saturday (September 29). Bottas won in Sochi last year and the Finn will start at the front of the grid on Sunday after Hamilton made a mistake in the middle sector of his final lap.
Hamilton was 0.145 seconds slower than his team-mate, having been on course for pole when he ran wide at Turn 7 - prompting the championship leader to abandon his last circuit.
Sebastian Vettel, 40 points adrift of world champion Hamilton in the title race, took third spot over a half a second off the pace of Bottas, who set a new track record time of 1 minute, 31.387 seconds.
Mercedes have now taken four of the five poles in Russia and will take some stopping when they go in search of a fifth win out of five in Sochi.
Kimi Raikkonen will start in fourth spot ahead of the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, with Esteban Ocon sixth and Charles Leclerc seventh.
Sergio Perez, Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson also secured their places in the top 10.
Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were third and fourth in Q1, but remained in the Red Bull garage after that as they face engine penalties along with McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Toro Rosso duo Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly
Bottas has never been outqualified by a team-mate in Russia and although Hamilton appeared set to end that record in the early part of Q3, the 29-year-old was able to celebrate a second pole of the year and the sixth of his career.
1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:31.387secs 2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.145s 3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +0.556s 4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +0.850s 5. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +1.794s 6. Esteban Ocon (Racing Point Force India) +2.026s 7. Charles Leclerc (Sauber) +2.032s 8. Sergio Perez (Racing Point Force India) +2.176s 9. Romain Grosjean (Haas) +2.317s 10. Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) +3.809s