It will be a battle through the field for the Honda-powered drivers in Russia as challenging conditions resulted in just one car qualifying inside the top ten.
FP3 was cancelled due to the bad weather, but conditions significantly improved by the time qualifying was scheduled to start and could get underway on time as planned. Q1 began on a wet track but with intermediate tyres, but Max’s grid penalty meant he completed just two laps before ending his session, ensuring he will start 20th.
Sergio was quick in Q1 and was fastest overall before a spin on his final lap saw him drop to third, but he advanced safely alongside Pierre in sixth and Yuki in 15th place.
While the track was always getting quicker, it wasn’t at the rate that has been seen at other venues because the temperature was so low, and that meant all of Q2 also took place on intermediate tyres. Sergio secured his spot in Q3 but at the end of the session we unfortunately lost Pierre in 12th and Yuki in 13th, with the Frenchman feeling he was impeded by a Williams on one of his laps.
Sergio was the only one of the four Honda-powered drivers through to the top ten shootout and the conditions provided an even bigger test as there was a slight dry line and slick tyres were possible. Timing the change was crucial as the drivers who put on slicks earlier were able to improve at the end of the session, and Sergio missed out on that front to qualify ninth on the grid for Sunday’s race.