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Summary

  1. Hamilton on pole, Rosberg 2nd, Bottas 3rd
  2. Button 4th, Kvyat 5th, Magnussen 6th
  3. Vettel out in Q2, Massa out in Q1 with engine problem
  4. Ricciardo 7th, Alonso 8th, Raikkonen 9th, Vergne 10th
  5. Hamilton fastest in Q1 and Q2, Rosberg 2nd
  6. Maldonado, Chilton & Caterhams out in Q1
  7. FIA to make safety changes after Bianchi crash
  8. Watch qualifying and practice three again via Live Coverage tab

Live Reporting

By Lawrence Barretto

All times stated are UK

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Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg
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Lewis Hamilton edged closer to Nico Rosberg in the Pole Position Trophy battle, reducing the deficit to one as he trails his team-mate seven poles to eight.

But more importantly, he has an empty track ahead of him and a great chance to boost his championship lead over Rosberg as the end of the season edges ever closer.

History will be made as Russia finally gets its wish to host a Formula 1 race tomorrow, with president Vladimir Putin expected to be in attendance. Will his new venue provide the scene of an F1 classic? Join me tomorrow to find out.

Until then, it's good afternoon from me.

Sochi
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So the plan for tomorrow is as follows. I'll be live at 11:00 BST to begin building up to the inaugural Russian Grand Prix, with the BBC One coverage kicking off at the same time. The starts at 12:00, which is when BBC Radio 5 live go on air.

Here's

Andrew Benson's qualifying report, which will have video highlights of the session embedded later on in the day.

Keep across the F1 pages and the @bbcf1 Twitter feed for the latest news and tune in to the BBC News channel at 18:45 BST for Inside F1 with Lee McKenzie.

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Paul Forrester: Can't help but smile when @TorroRossoSpy do well, feels like some of the old Minardi spirit still exists.

Robbie Plant: Wow what a fantastically impressive performance from rookie Russian Danil Kvyat, that's why he deserves to be at Red Bull.

It was also an impressive qualifying performance from Caterham's Marcus Ericsson - and it's not often I've been able to say that this season. He who ended up 17th fastest and missed out on Q2 by just a tenth of a second.

"What a great qualifying session," says the Swede, who has been improving session on session in recent races. "I did a very good lap and the car behaved very well

"It's a bit frustrating to be so close to Q2, but overall I think that we can be very happy with what we achieved today."

Nico Rosberg
EPA

"Today Lewis was quicker, all weekend actually," says Nico Rosberg, who starts second. "Tomorrow I have to try to get close, but I didn't manage to get closer than two tenths.

"Also I had Bottas coming quick behind me, so I need to keep an eye on that. But the front row is good and there is hardly any tyre degradation because the track is so smooth on the tyres and that makes it a unique challenge to set up the car to get the grip."

russian gp
BBC

"For us, it was an exciting and nice qualifying," says Russian Daniil Kvyat, who qualified an impressive fifth. "It's very exciting. Now I will switch my focus to tomorrow's race."

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Adam: Have McLaren just told both their drivers they've been fired or something? They both seemed so despressed.

Les Cashmore: Jenson don't be negative you did a great job today, well done on your grid position.

StevieMac: Looked to me like @JensonButton has been told he doesn't have a drive next year.

"It was very difficult," says Sebastian Vettel, who qualified 11th. "I think we made a step back from this morning. We expected it to be better but the rear was bad - I had a nervous car and couldn't take any speed into the corners."

Eddie Jordan

BBC F1 chief analyst

Jenson Button
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"Jenson is downbeat and he didn't give big vote of confidence to the team or himself. I'm disappointed. That interview was like someone who has not made the final cut. Fourth on the grid is as good as a McLaren can do around here so I'm disappointed at his reaction."

David Coulthard

BBC F1 co-commentator

"I'm surprised [at Jenson's reaction]. Looking at the racing side of things, he did a fantastic job in Japan, he had a strong race result there. And he has been quick all weekend here. Any way you cut it, he's the lead McLaren car on the grid so I'm a bit surprised. If I was him, I'd be reflecting on how great the performances have been recently."

Jenson Button's fourth place on the grid is a stunning effort considering McLaren's struggles this season - but the 2009 world champion, who hasn't got a contract for next year, doesn't look to happy with the result.

"Yesterday we were strong, this morning we were nowhere," says the Briton. "The car just wasn't working. The positive thing is we kept our heads, we came into qualifying with a much better car.

"It was pretty tricky for everyone with the tyres. with the temperatures getting lower. But at last, it's good. The last three races have been mistakes on my part.

"Our long runs were pretty good. The three cars in front had better long runs but I don't think anyone behind us had any better than us. It's a good job by the whole team this weekend, especially after a tough morning."

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Thomas Feathers: Fantastic qualifying by all today. Great to see Jenson Button in a position he deserves.

Janine Pingree: Danil Kvyat is obviously inspired by racing on home ground. Hope he has a good race tomorrow.

Jon Punshon: Well done Lewis Hamilton! 7th pole position for you this season! Hoping you convert that to a win and edge out your lead.

Nico Rosberg (left) and Lewis Hamilton shake hands after qualifying
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"I didn't know at that time it was close to the pole," says Valtteri Bottas, who made a mistakes on the final two corners to miss out on pole and will start third. "I only knew how close I was to the previous best which was not bad.

"Looking back, maybe I took too much out of the tyres in the beginning of the lap and the last sector became too tricky. It became difficult in the last few corners, I risked it a bit too much in last two corners, went a bit wide and when you go off, it's really slippery.

"Of course, it's not nice to make a mistake, but in the end it maybe cost one place maximum. The mistake was at the beginning of the lap. It made me struggle at the end of lap."

Toro Rosso
Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso on Twitter: Pit Radio #RussianGP - Marco Matassa: "5th POSITION!!!" - Daniil: "YES, YES, YES!!!" - Marco: "BRAVO, BRAVO!!!"

Speaking about the venue, Lewis Hamilton adds: "The track surface is great, very smooth but it's got a lot of grip. The kerbs are done nicely and the surroundings, being around the Olympic Park is quite an incredible place.

"Today we have a good turnout and hopefully tomorrow is even better and we can put on a good show for them."

"Pole is a great place to start," says Lewis Hamilton, who starts on pole. "It's an amazing job done by the team who are constantly improving and moving forwards this year.

"It's great to come here, it's a beautiful place, the weather had been amazing and I'm really enjoying driving this track.

"It was not the easiest of sessions, these guys [Williams] were looking quite strong. Hooking up a good lap wasn't the same as practice of some reason, but I'm really grateful to have pole for first time [in Russia].

"It's a long run down to Turn One so it'll be a tough race."

"He was amazing today," says Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams of Valtteri Bottas. "He's had a glint in his eye all weekend. He has clearly got to grips with this track quite quickly. He just lost it going into the final corner, we don't mind we like a trier at Williams. He was fighting all the way."

Williams on Twitter: What an effort!!!! But P3 for Valtteri... Looking good for tomorrow.

"We were lucky he made mistake, maybe just overdrove the car," says Mercedes co-team boss Toto Wolff of Valtteri Bottas who nearly snatched pole. "We're one-two so there are reasons to be happy.

"They were fighting hard, Lewis [Hamilton] is on pole, he deserves to be on pole, it was a good lap."

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Ben McPhillips: Great effort from Hamilton and Kvyat! Shame for Bottas, but he had nothing to lose. Nice to see Button 4th.

Abi Paterson: Imagine if Bottas hadn't spun then. Could he have split the Mercedes? This is going to be an immense race tomorrow.

James Bamford: Wow Bottas, so close! Great to see Jenson up there again, madness if he doesn't race next year. Should be a good race tomorrow

Team radio

kvyat
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Russian Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat, who qualifies an impressive fifth: "Yes! Come on!"

Qualifying result

1) Lewis Hamilton 2) Nico Rosberg 3) Valtteri Bottas 4) Jenson Button 5) Daniil Kvyat 6) Kevin Magnussen 7) Daniel Ricciardo 8) Fernando Alonso 9) Kimi Raikkonen 10) Jean-Eric Vergne

11) Sebastian Vettel 12) Nico Hulkenberg 13) Sergio Perez 14) Esteban Gutierrez 15) Adrian Sutil 16) Romain Grosjean

17) Marcus Ericsson 18) Felipe Massa 19) Kamui Kobayashi 20) Pastor Maldonado 21) Max Chilton

bottas
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Valtteri Bottas was so unlucky, the Finn got out of shape in the penultimate corner and then lost the rear in the final turn, slipping wide and losing a bunch of time.

Pole position

Lewis Hamilton takes pole position for the Russian Grand Prix.

hamilton
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Lewis Hamilton improves again with a 1:38.513 to extend his lead at the top of the pile to four tenths of a second. Nico Rosberg improve, too, but he's still two tenths off the pace. Valtteri Bottas, though, is flying! He's fastest of all in the first two sectors? Could this be his first F1 pole? Could it?

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Joseph: The first corner looks like it will be amazing at the start of the race tomorrow. A good get off the line needed!

Jacques: Did anyone see the great drivers of the past struggling with the balance of a car for a whole season, like Vettel is?

Amy Brown: Come on, Lewis. You can do this! #TeamLH

Team radio

Lewis Hamilton's race engineer: "It looks like the track is dropping away - the track is slowing."

Stunning stuff from Valttero Bottas, who stays third but is just 0.006 seconds behind the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.

1) Ham 2) Ros 3) Bot 4) But 5) Ric 6) Alo 7) Kvy 8) Ver 9) Rai 10) Mag

Lewis Hamilton go fastest in the first and third sectors to move to the top of the pile, with a 1:38.647. Nico Rosberg tries to hit back, but he makes two clear mistakes and he crosses the line two tenths of a second off the pace. He'll have at least one more go, maybe two.

Better lap from Daniel Ricciardo to go fourth in the Red Bull. Meanwhile, Jenson Button heads for the pits. Had he got a problem? Everyone bar the McLarens are out on track.

rosberg
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Nico Rosberg takes some of the pressure off his shoulders with a solid 1:38.946 to go quickest, with Valtteri Bottas going second and Jenson Button third. Lewis Hamilton is bumped down to sixth.

Fear not, though, Hamilton fans. These soft tyres are proving to be very durable and the quickest laps don't tend to come until a few laps into the run.

Lewis Hamilton goes quicker, but it's an average 1:39.980, a few thousandths clear of Daniel Ricciardo.

Daniel Ricciardo sets the early pace, the Red Bull driver clocking a 1:40.076, but the Mercedes drivers have yet to complete a timed lap.

Final qualifying starts

Let the battle for pole position begin!

Mercedes on Twitter: Who's your money on? It's going to be a tense 12 minutes! #RussiaWithLove

IN

1) Hamilton 2) Rosberg 3) Bottas 4) Magnussen 5) Kvyat 6) Button 7) Ricciardo 8) Alonso 9) Raikkonen 10) Vergne

"Unfortunately, Seb has not managed to get a lap together with a balance he is happy with," says Red Bull boss Christian Horner. "We have not heard too much from him. Unfortunately he couldn't do a lap which was good enough."

Since Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull announced that their partnership will finish at the end of this season, relations appear frosty.

"OK Sebastian, P11, we're done," said the German's race engineer Rocky, who then throws his pen to the floor. Normally, there's plenty of chat and banter between the two.

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Janine Pingree: I think @LewisHamilton has been pinching Vettel's Red Bull drinks & putting them in his fuel tank!

Ben McPhillips: McLaren and Toro Rosso definitely looking more competitive than usual this weekend.

Emma: Wow can't believe Vettel didn't make top 10!! But good on Jenson Button for making it into Q3.