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Vettel challenges Mercedes

Vettel challenges Mercedes
Breaking the hegemony of the Mercedes team at the Sochi Autodromo is the challenge that Ferrari’s German Sebastian Vettel has set himself, with the achievement of pole position in the Russian Formula One Grand Prix this Saturday.
The World Championship leader erased, with an outstanding qualifying session, the history of the silver arrows on the circuit built in the Olympic city of Sochi. Obviously, in the three previous editions, between 2014 and 2016, only the Mercedes drivers were in a position to set the best time and placed their red car in first place on the grid.
With his first pole position since 2015, in Singapore, where he last granted Ferrari the opportunity to start a Grand Prix from the top position, Sebastian Vettel proclaimed his intention to emerge victorious from Russia.
There they won the English Lewis Hamilton (2014 and 2015) and the German Nico Rosberg (2016) before their coronation as world champions, so Sebastian Vettel wants to add 25 more points to the 68 that allow him to command the drivers’ classification.
With a time of 1: 33.194 on his best lap of the weekend, Sebastian Vettel reserved first place on the grid. From there he will go in search of his third victory of the season. He won in Australia and Bahrain and is confident of strengthening his leadership in Sochi.
He will be shielded by his teammate, Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn, who was 59 thousandths slower than him, signed Ferrari’s first double since a distant 2008, in France. Almost a decade ago, the Maranello squad did not place its two drivers on the first starting line, hence the festivities.
The first blow is given, although they will have to confirm their superiority tomorrow, Sunday.
They seem in a position to do it, having been the fastest in all the sessions of the weekend. Only in Q2 was Mercedes allowed, with Valtteri Bottas, to be first.
This time he lacked the “extra” tenths that he usually earns in each qualifying round. And it is not clear if he will be able to improve his pace in the race. “Vettel and Raikkonen have the fastest car. They have had it today and it seems that they will also have it tomorrow ”, acknowledged the director of Mercedes, Toto Wolff.
Ferrari is positioned as a clear favorite, Mercedes as a contender in a circuit that a priori was favorable while Red Bull remains far from the two best teams of the season.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo and Dutchman Max Verstappen will start from sixth and eighth positions, respectively, with Brazilian Felipe Massa in seventh place.
The German Nico Hulkenberg (Renault), the Mexican Sergio Pérez (Force India) and the Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Force India) complete the top-10. A comeback from fourteenth place is forced the Spanish Carlos Sainz, penalized with three places on the grid for an incident that occurred at the last Grand Prix of Bahrain.
Discouragement continues, for his part, in the McLaren garage. The Spanish Fernando Alonso, fifteenth, once again regretted the poor performance of his car, weighed down by the lack of power from the Honda engine. “I am in top form, in my best moment, but it is what it is,” assumed the Asturian, two-time world champion. EFE
lsl / jl
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