WATCH LIVE: Russian GP on NBCSN, Live Extra from 6:30am ET

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He may trail Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by 48 points at the top of the drivers’ championship, but Nico Rosberg showed few signs of giving up on Saturday in Russia as he stormed to his third pole position of the season.

A near-perfect first run in Q3 allowed the German to take P1 by three-tenths of a second, leaving Hamilton to settle for second place on the grid at the Sochi Autodrom.

Rosberg has not won since the Austrian Grand Prix back in June, and knows that if he is to stand any real chance of denying his teammate a third world title in 2015, victory in Russia on Sunday is a must.

With memories of their side by side battle on the first lap of last year’s Russian Grand Prix still fresh in the memory, Rosberg and Hamilton are poised to duke it out again in the shadow of the Winter Olympics city.

You can watch the Russian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

Should Hamilton beat Rosberg on Sunday, the Briton will head to the next race in Austin, Texas just one win away from the championship, leaving his teammate with a mountain to climb.

Rosberg’s closest competitor in the title race is in fact Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who is breathing down the Mercedes driver’s neck in the battle for the runner-up spot. From fourth, Vettel will be hoping to make up yet more ground, but a race against the Williams of Valtteri Bottas (starting third) is perhaps more likely in Sochi.

Elsewhere, Carlos Sainz Jr. looks poised to start the race in spite of his terrifying practice crash on Saturday. The Spaniard was taken to hospital after the shunt, but scans showed that he had suffered not a scratch. He will start today’s race from P20.

You can watch the Russian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.