Shoes a pain for Sauber tester Sergey Sirotkin in Bahrain test

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How to assess Sergey Sirotkin’s Tuesday at Bahrain International Circuit? Depends on how you look at the charts – the young Russian turned in 76 laps in Sauber’s Ferrari-powered C33 during the test, but his fastest time was more than three seconds off the pace set by Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.

Of course, the bigger goal was getting Sirotkin enough miles to qualify for his FIA superlicense and that was accomplished. He needed to run 300 kilometers, and he ended up breaking 400 km.

However, Sirotkin’s speed may have been hampered a bit by a footwear issue – namely, his shoes were too small.

It’s probably best to let him explain it.

“The problem was that my shoes didn’t arrive and the ones we had here were too small,” he told “When you brake hard, it gave a lot of problems with the feet, so really at one stage, I couldn’t come back to the pits – it was so painful. There are so many braking points here that every time you go on the straights you thing ‘Argh, no, I need to brake next corner!’

“It was really a lot of trouble. I was not able to finish the laps. Every time I started a really good lap due to this, I was never able to finish the lap. Anyway, it’s the first time for me. The first time with new equipment and I didn’t know exactly what should be here. So these things can happen, it’s nothing strange for me…”

But despite the shoe trouble and having to get used to the C33, test engineer Paul Russell thought Sirotkin persevered nicely.

“…As he had not driven the car before and did not know the track either, he had a lot to do in the cockpit,” Russell said in a team release. “Sergey had to learn all of this and he handled it pretty well. The lap times were very good.

“He seemed to be learning the car and the track quite well. In the afternoon, we continued our programme and finished the day with the long runs. All in all, it was a positive day.”

Giedo van der Garde will take over the C33 tomorrow.

Rosberg delighted with near-perfect lap en route to Russia pole

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 10:  Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP drives during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 10, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
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Nico Rosberg believes that he produced a near-perfect lap en route to pole position for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Rosberg posted a fastest lap time of 1:37.113 to beat Mercedes teammate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton to pole position by three-tenths of a second.

The result marked Rosberg’s third pole position of the season, and is the first time he has scored back-to back poles since the end of 2014.

Conditions in practice on Friday plus a scary crash for Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr. on Saturday meant that the field headed into qualifying almost blind in terms of setup and car balance, but Rosberg was pleased with what he achieved.

“It was a tricky session today as we were not able to practise a lot yesterday,” Rosberg explained. “We had to guess what the right set up for this track will be.

“But we nailed it and had a nearly perfect lap in my first run in Q3. So I’m quite pleased with that.

“I’m in the best possible position for tomorrow, which is great. I really hope for a clean race, it will be a great battle with Lewis.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff praised Rosberg for his consistently quick display in practice and qualifying, but believes that the lack of practice running will also have an impact on Sunday’s race.

“A great job from Nico to take a second pole position in a row; he has been quick all weekend and kept that going through qualifying to take P1,” Wolff said.

“For the race, it will be a bit of a journey into the unknown because we have not had much running this weekend. This track is tough on the rear tires and everybody will be watching the tire degradation carefully.

“We’re starting from the best possible position but we need to take everything one step at a time.”

The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.

WEC: Porsche sweeps to front row lock-out in Fuji

Car #17 / PORSCHE TEAM (DEU) / Porsche 919 Hybrid Hybrid  / Timo Bernhard (DEU) / Mark Webber (AUS) / Brendon Hartley (NZL) Qualifying LMP1 & LMP2 - 6 Hours of Fuji at Fuji International Speedway - Shizuoka - Japan
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Porsche extended its streak of pole positions in the FIA World Endurance Championship to nine races by locking out the front row of the grid for the 6 Hours of Fuji on Saturday.

Sharing qualifying duties in the no. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid, Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard posted a two-lap average of 1:22.763 seconds to give the German marque pole position at Fuji Speedway.

Yet again, it was the sister no. 18 Porsche of Marc Lieb, Neel Jani and Romain Dumas that put up the most stringent challenge, but fell three-tenths of a second short at the end of the LMP qualifying session.

Audi put up more of a fight to the Porsches this time around as both of its R18 e-tron quattros finished within half a second of the no. 17’s time. The no. 7 of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer will start third ahead of Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis in the no 8.

Toyota endured another fairly routine qualifying en route to P5 and P6 as the TS 040 Hybrid car struggles to keep up with its rivals, beating only the Rebellion and ByKolles runners in LMP1.

In LMP2, G-Drive continued its dominant streak by finishing first and second in class. Sam Bird, Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal will start from pole tomorrow ahead of Gustavo Yacaman, Luis Felipe Derani and Ricardo Gonzalez in the sister car.

AF Corse bounced back from a difficult race in Austin to finish first and second in GTE Pro qualifying, led by the no. 71 of James Calado and Davide Rigon. Toni Vilander and Gianmaria Bruni will start just behind in P2 ahead of the no. 99 Aston Martin Racing entry.

Ferrari’s strong form carried over into GTE Am as well as the SMP Racing F458 Italia took class pole, finishing three-tenths clear of the no. 98 AMR Vantage.