Nico Rosberg will want to make it four out of four in this season's formula one, and to do that the Mercedes driver will target pole position in the qualifying stage of the Russian GP in Sochi on Saturday. While Rosberg has thrived this season, the defending champion Lewis Hamilton has struggled considerably, making that mountain considerably harder to climb for the Englishman.
Hamilton's Mercedes car has just not been reliable enough this season, leading to too many headaches, but the Brit will hope the Russian GP is a turning point in his season. The signs look good in that department, with Hamilton topping the times in free practice two, ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg. The other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen finished with the fourth best time in Sochi.
"It's good to be back in the car after what's felt like a pretty long wait since China," Hamilton was quoted as saying by F1's official website." It's been a constructive day to start the weekend, too. We got through most of our programme except one last little bit at the end as some of my tyres were flat-spotted but no big drama there.
"I think we're looking strong here, but we need to keep working hard if we are to try and stay ahead of the Ferraris. They look like they might be another step closer this weekend. We've got a few things to look at to make sure we perfect the setup for qualifying, so we shall see how it goes."
Things are not looking so rosy for Ferrari, particularly Vettel, who was given an automatic five-grid penalty for a gearbox change. Vettel missed out large chunks of Friday's practice session with a suspected electrical issue, leading to the gearbox change and the penalty that comes with it.
"It is a bit of a shame, as we are now missing quite a few laps especially for the long runs and in the race trim," Vettel said. "This would have gotten us much more information on how competitive we would be on Sunday.
"Kimi had to do the homework for the whole team and that was not too bad, as we roughly know what to expect, and for sure we can also learn from what other people did."
The two Force India cars did not do too great in FP2, with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez finishing with the 13th and 14th best times respectively. "The track conditions were not great this afternoon and the wind made it a bit tricky, but it was the same for everyone and this is what you expect on a track so close to the sea," Hulkenberg said. "I still think we have a lot of information to help us make the right tweaks to improve our performance for (qualifying).
"I am feeling good about the weekend: the track is very enjoyable to drive and it throws quite a few challenges your way."
Where to Watch Live
The qualifying session of the Russian GP is scheduled for a 3 p.m. local time (5.30 p.m. IST, 1 p.m. BST, 8 a.m. ET) start.
Below is the TV and live streaming listings.
|India||Star Sports 4, Star Sports HD 4|
|United Kingdom||Sky Sports F1|
|Middle East and North Africa||Bein Sports Arabia|
|Germany, Italy||Sky Sport|
|India||Star Sports Online and Hotstar|
|US||NBC Sports Online|
|UK||Watch Sky Sports|
|Middle East||BeIN Sports Connect|
|Asia||Fox Sports Online|
|Italy||Sky Go Italy|
|Germany||Sky Go Germany|