In just two minutes, a burst of emotions, Lando Norris prolonged in Sochi the great moment of McLaren and left with honey on the lips of Carlos Sainz, who brushed with the point of his fingers the first pole of his life. Under unpredictable conditions on the asphalt, the Briton surprised with a large lap (1: 41.993), half a second ahead of Ferrari's pilot, while Lewis Hamilton committed a couple of errors that relegated him to fifth place. A lesser evil for heptacampeon, given that Max Verstappen, the rival of it for the title will depart from the grilled background because of a change in the engine.
Nobody seemed to forget that the morning downpour had forced the last free session. Mercedes and Red Bull, cautious in its own way, preferred to continue with the intermediate rain tire. Everything seemed in charge for the umpteenth triumphal Saturday of Hamilton, when George Russell jumped the bench three minutes from the end. The dry rubbers in the Williams assumed an obvious risk. And some could afford it.
Norris and Sainz reacted immediately and those seconds extra to heat the new wheels were essential. Hamilton, forced by the circumstances, broke his front spoiler against the Pit Lane wall when he entered his garage. A fatal skid. And in his last attempt, Sir Lewis also lost control of his W12. In case the fiasco was not enough in Mercedes, the fourth place was added the seventh of Valtteri Bottas, just behind Fernando Alonso.
With 10 minutes of Q1 still ahead, Verstappen had dropped off the car, without even setting a valid time. There was no reason for more efforts because the change of engine, announced in the middle of Saturday, relegates the bottom of the grill. On the sliding asphalt, the collision risks were multiple, as Charles Lecler could see, avoiding Antonio Giovinazzi hard. Also condemned to the well, by the new power unit of his Ferrari, the Monegasque did decided to stay on a track that was drying with the clock advance.
Sergio Pérez, the only Red Bull resource for tickled the Mercedes, wanted to be noticed, although soon a scare was given. With moisture in an asphalt and only 13ºC in the air, all precautions were few. Although they improve the forecasts, they confirmed by Radio to Sainz, all maintained the intermediate rubbers of rain. In full Q2, the Madrid was already wrapped in trouble.
A little more than two minutes away for the end of the cut, Carlos mounted a new game of tires to get out of the drowns. Hardly he fulfilled with the goal, with 52 thousandths of Sebastian Vettel, used throughout the World Cup to this type of disappointment for such a narrow margin. As Russell had given another lesson aboard the Williams, in the red garage they could only sigh relief when Yuki Tsunoda pierced the goal.
In that same trance, Alonso had left a fabulous turn (1: 45,514), a faster second than Sainz and only four tenth of the leadership, from which Hamilton was not lowered. Who did failed this time was Pierre Gasly, hampered by Nicholas Latifi at the departure of the Pit-Lane. So much anger accumulated the Frenchman who ended up paying for blows against the halo of his Alpha Tauri.Updated Date: 25 September 2021, 10:08