Daniil Kvyat has qualified in an excellent ninth place for the Monaco Grand Prix today, but it all very nearly ended in tears when a spin in Q1 threatened to end his day early.
Kvyat, who is racing at Monaco for the very first time this weekend, spun on the exit of the tunnel. Somehow, he kept it out of the barriers, and only made light contact with his front wing. He was able to get back to the pits for repairs, and eventually set a time that was good enough to get him through to Q2.
In the second session, both Kvyat and teammate Jean-Eric Vergne managed to finish inside the top ten ahead of some big names, and duly held their own in the final part of qualifying.
Vergne, whose career appears to be at a crossroads after missing out on the Red Bull seat last year, qualified seventh behind Kimi Raikkonen and ahead of Kevin Magnussen, whilst Kvyat managed to finish ninth in the final session ahead of Sergio Perez.
However, given that this was the first time he has raced at Monaco, it was a remarkable display. He finished ahead of established drivers such as Nico Hulkenberg, Jenson Button, Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado and Felipe Massa, and will be hoping to score some points tomorrow.
Kvyat is under investigation for blocking Maldonado during qualifying, but the Russian was unaware of any indiscretion on track. For now though, he will be celebrating a fine result that so nearly wasn’t to be.
Valtteri Bottas is confident of scoring a good result in tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix after qualifying third at the Sochi Autodrom on Saturday.
Bottas finished as the ‘best of the rest’ in Q3 behind the leading Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, beating the Ferrari drivers to secure P3 for the start of tomorrow’s race.
After a difficult run of form, Bottas believes that he can capitalize on this good qualifying result and make the most of the Williams car’s suitability to the track in Sochi.
“It was a strong job by the team today,” Bottas said. “We managed to set-up the car well and maximize our performance.
“I felt very good in the car all day and managed to get in a rhythm quickly and put in consistent lap times despite the limited number of laps we had completed in practice.
“Tomorrow is where it really matters but I have put myself in a very good position to capitalize.”
Bottas’ teammate, Felipe Massa, was less impressive in qualifying as a mistake and traffic caused him to drop out in Q2, finishing P15.
“I made a mistake at turn eight in my first timed lap in Q2, and then in my final two attempts I came up against a lot of traffic which lost me a lot of time,” Massa explained.
“On my final run my tires were gone at the rear and that was the end of my chances. It’s a shame and I’m very disappointed, but I have a quick car around here so we need to have a good strategy and use our pace to move up into the points tomorrow.”
The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.
Alexander Rossi claimed his third win in as many GP2 Series rounds in Saturday’s feature race at the Sochi Autodrom.
Since winning the last feature race at Monza in Italy, Rossi has made his Formula 1 debut with Manor and also raced for the team at the iconic Suzuka Circuit in Japan.
As part of his deal with Manor, Rossi has returned to GP2 for this weekend’s round in Russia as he bids to finish as runner-up to impending series champion Stoffel Vandoorne.
Vandoorne was expected to be crowned champion on Saturday, but Rossi managed to delay the Belgian’s celebrations by storming to victory as darkness forced officials to shorten the race.
Carnage on the first lap saw four drivers retire from the race, with damage caused to the barrier at turn 3 by Jordan King resulted in a 30 minute red flag delay.
Once the race restarted, a shortened distance of 15 laps was confirmed, but full points were still to be awarded.
Pole-sitter Alex Lynn managed to pull clear through the first stint, and after falling behind Rossi in the first round of pit stops, the DAMS driver regained the advantage soon after.
However, when Lynn crashed out, Rossi was able to pull clear of the chasing Pierre Gasly and Vandoorne just behind to record his third win in as many race weekends by three seconds.
Rossi will start tomorrow’s sprint race from eighth place on the grid which is reversed, handing pole to Frenchman Arthur Pic who finished P8 on Saturday.
You will be able to read all about Alexander’s success in his exclusive NBC Sports blog on Wednesday. To read his pre-Sochi thoughts, click here.