Vettel keeps Ferrari on top in final Russian practice

  • Vettel keeps Ferrari on top in final Russian practice

Vettel keeps Ferrari on top in final Russian practice

Mercedes was left searching answers for its lack of pace as Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were left to settle for the second row of the grid, with the team's 18-race run of pole positions ending. Despite failing to make the front row, Bottas and Hamilton did close the gap to Ferrari - with Bottas just.095 off Vettel's time.

"If you have the rhythm here, it feels fantastic", Vettel said.

"For now we're full of joy", declared the four-times champion, who won his titles at Red Bull.

"Currently we're fourth, it's very hard to overtake as it is", he said.

Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari was the machine carrying the alert, one that emerged at the first race of the season in Melbourne, but which on Saturday became emphatically clear in qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix: Mercedes' era of total superiority is over. But the 2017 Russian Grand Prix is looking very good for Ferrari.

Coupled to Bottas' nearly comparable race pace, Wolff believes the Finn remains very much in contention for a first F1 win despite a lacklustre build up by the team's lofty standards.

Second-placed Raikkonen said he was "happier than the previous qualifyings", despite missing out by a whisker on what would have been his first pole for nine years.

Still, Bottas suggested he and Hamilton could ambush the Ferraris at the first corner on Sunday. Yesterday [Ferrari's] race pace was much better than ours, at least than mine.

"As much as I am happy about the steps we have found, it was not good enough to be on pole, and confidence for tomorrow [Sunday] - it's very hard".

Formula One frontrunner Sebastian Vettel kept Ferrari ahead of champions Mercedes in final Russian Grand Prix practise on Saturday.

Earlier in the day Ferrari dominated the final practice session too, with Vettel taking top spot with a time of 1:34.001.

"Every series ends", he said.

It was just what the doctor ordered after Bottas' disappointing showing in Bahrain a fortnight ago where he started from pole position but was ordered to move out of Hamilton's way before finishing a distant third.

"Especially over the long run". It was Vettel's first pole this year, his second for Ferrari and the 47th of his career.

Renault's British driver Jolyon Palmer will join the McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne in moving down the starting grid regardless of where they qualify, with both having to change power units, thus resulting in a grid penalty of 15 places. "Me losing the track time certainly contributed, but it's my mistake".