Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton drives during a Russian GP practice sessionReuters

The Russian GP made its debut on Friday amidst a pall of gloom cast over the serious injury to Marussia driver Jules Bianchi.

Where to Watch Live

The qualifying is scheduled for a 3 pm local time (4.30 pm IST, 12 pm BST, 7 am ET) start with Live coverage in India on Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD2. Viewers in India and Asia can also watch the qualifying session via live streaming online on Racematelive or Starsports.com.

UK viewers can catch the Russian GP on Sky Sports F1 or via a Live Stream on Sky Sports Online or Sky Go. US viewers watch the race live online or on NBC Sports. Bein Sports will provide live coverage in the Middle East and North Africa while viewers can also catch the race action via Live Streaming on Bein Sports Connect.

Bianchi is fighting for his life in a hospital at the moment after crashing in the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend, and while the rest of the Formula One drivers will do what they have to do at the Russian GP, all thoughts will be on the Frenchman.

"After what happened in Japan, you try and do the best you can," said Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo to Formula One's official website. "I would be lying if I said other things weren't on my mind, but you do what you can to make sure you're 100 percent committed to driving and that's the best way for our job and our headspace."

Mercedes continued their domination of this Formula One season on the newly-minted Russian Grand Prix track in Sochi, with Lewis Hamilton topping the timesheets in Practice 2, after his teammate Nico Rosberg had taken the honours in P1.

Hamilton currently enjoys a ten-point lead over Rosberg after his win in Japan, and expected another battle for pole position between the Mercedes cars.

"I like the new circuit, it's got really good grip and great corners, with a lot at medium speed," said Hamilton, who has picked up 266 points so far this season. "It's good fun. The car has been feeling really good.

"McLaren look close which is great for everyone as it should make for a decent race. We've got quite a good balance with the car so there are a lot of boxes ticked but we still have work to do to see if we can improve."

Rosberg will know the importance of picking up a victory in the inaugural Russian GP to close the gap on Hamilton, and another pole position will suit him well towards that target.

"The track is really cool to drive, very enjoyable," said the German. "Turn three is a very special one and the asphalt is very smooth, so the tyres last long. We won't see that many pit stops on Sunday, I guess. That's a bit surprising to me."