Vettel on pole as Ferrari lock out the front row
SEBASTIAN Vettel headed Kimi Raikkonen as Ferrari locked out the front row at the Russian Grand Prix. Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were third and fourth.
The last time Vettel started from pole was at the Singapore Grand Prix back in 2015, but his and Ferrari’s pace in Russia so far this weekend would appear to point towards a changing of the guard, with Hamilton’s Mercedes team having dominated the sport for the past three seasons.
Indeed Mercedes have a great record in these parts having won all of the three grands prix staged here while leading every lap. But they, and in particular Hamilton, have struggled for form, with Ferrari now only cementing their status as real challengers for both the drivers’ and constructors’ crown.
Hamilton was nearly six tenths of a second behind Vettel, and almost half-a-second down on Bottas. His sluggish pace was greeted by crossed arms from Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda in the Mercedes garage, with the latter puffing out his cheeks and shaking his head.
Vettel was jubilant on sealing his 47 th career pole, telling reporters: “When I got the message I got it [pole], I was over the moon. The car has been phenomenal and it was a real pleasure to take the it around on low fuel and drive it to the limit.” into a 0-8 to 0-5 lead, mainly through the accuracy of Banville from frees and Jack Devereux from play, but the crucial breakthrough arrived a minute before the break when Devereux goaled from close range to give his side a 1-9 to 0-6 interval advantage, though Aaron Maher, Aaron Kenny and Conor Langton’s points kept Offaly in contention.
Wexford’s dominance was to continue through the second half with a Charlie McGuckin 40th-minute goal extending their lead to 2-13 to 0-8.
While Offaly kept on battling they were unable to fashion any real chances. Joe Kenaghan’s goal coming eight minutes from the end and too late to affect the result.