Charles Leclerc got pole pole position at the 2019 Russian Grand Prix. How dominant was he, and how did the other teams fare in the qualifying session? Let’s take a look at the numbers.
Qualifying session: Best times per sector
This analysis takes into consideration the best sector time for each driver, regardless of quali session. This means that not all best sector times were necessarily done in Q3, some may have been done in Q2 or even in Q1.
Charles Leclerc had a dominating performance in sectors one and two. His time of 33.333 seconds in sector one was one tenth faster than Vettel’s best time. Most importantly, his sector one time was almost half a second faster than Hamilton’s.
Lewis Hamilton was very strong in sector three. His closest rival, Charles Leclerc, was over two tenths slower in the twisty final sector. His sector one, was we just saw, was quite poor. Having to make up over 4 tenths after the first sector is too much, even for a world class driver like Lewis.
Sebastian Vettel was poised to get a first row spot before Lewis finished his final lap. Seb was close to Charles in every sector, being 1 tenth away in sector 1, 1.87 tenths in sector two, and 1.17 tenths in sector three.
Max Verstappen was looking to challenge for a top place in Sochi, but the pace wasn’t there. Max lost over three tenths over the leader in sectors one and two, and just less than that in sector three. Red Bull shown great race pace during the race simulation stints, so the weekend is still not over for the young Dutchman.
Valtteri Bottas had a miserable quali session. The Finn just never showed enough pace to challenge for pole, and finished in 5th position. Valtteri had a strong sector one, but his sector two, and especially three, just were not good enough. Valtteri had a slower S3 time than Nico Hulkenberg, that should tell you the whole story.
Talking about midfield drivers, it was another good day for McLaren and Renault. Both teams got two cars into Q3, and even managed to stay close to the leaders in sector three. As we just mentioned, Nico beat Valtteri in the final sector, while Sainz was less than a tenth away from the Finn.
Another strong quali performance from Charles Leclerc was the highlight of the day. Mercedes are not looking as strong as they have during recent years, but don’t count them out yet, the weekend is not over. Red Bull will have a difficult race unless a safety car comes out, but I am sure that Max will fight for position until the end.
Who will take the best of the rest position? McLaren and Renault are looking good once again. Perhaps this is finally Sainz’s time to shine?
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