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Summary

  1. Rosberg on pole, Hamilton 10th after engine failure
  2. Hamilton could drop further down grid depending on investigation and engine penalties
  3. Bottas 2nd, Raikkonen 3rd, Massa 4th, Ricciardo 5th
  4. Vettel 7th after grid penalty
  5. Race coverage on Sunday from 11:30 BST

Live Reporting

By Chris Osborne

All times stated are UK

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Runaway Rosberg

Rosberg and Piquet
Getty Images

Anyway. All this Hamilton chat has distracted us from the achievement of Nico Rosberg today. 

The German has 24 poles - level with legend Nelson Piqiuet.

Join me tomorrow from 11:30 BST to find out if he can convert that into a race win.

Until then, have a read of Andrew Benson's qualifying report and have a tremendous Saturday night.

Kimi's mix-tape goes wrong?

#Kimi7: 'I missed the last corner but tomorrow I'll start P3 and see from there' #RussianGP #redseason

#Kimi7: 'I missed the last corner but tomorrow I'll start P3 and see from there' #RussianGP #redseason

Kimi missed the last corner. Lindy reckons my Kimi mix-tape is to blame!

I blame #bbcf1 for Kimi’s messy Q3 laps as they suggested to have the Kimi Mix Tape discussion. Got him distracted. =P

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#bbcf1

Are Mercedes favouring Nico Rosberg?

(I'll give you a clue - they're not)

@chrisozz for me chris lewis is just getting unlucky no conspiracy theory for me #bbcf1

Let's be honest here!! Mercedes are being under handed Nico gifted the 2016 championship!!! #bbcf1

The more you watch,it feels like a fix for Rosburg to win the championship #bbcf1

If @MercedesAMGF1 were handing the title to Rosberg, they would have done so already! #bbcf1 #Quali #SochiGP

Mark Gallagher

BBC Radio 5 live Formula 1 analyst

Investigation into Lewis's previous PU issue will have highlighted cause. Either there is a clear issue or, worse, failures are random #F1

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#bbcf1

You're not Oliver Stone, however.

Merc aren't making sure ROS wins, but he's getting a cake walk. Team must point out the difference b/w earning a win, & a gifted one #bbcf1

Bad luck for HAM but great for the rest of us who want to see excitement. HAM to win the championship, starting 2moro #RussianGP #bbcf1

Here comes the conspiracy theorists again. Using same logic, ROS should be champ in '14 but he retired 3x. RET is part of the game! #bbcf1

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#bbcf1

And there's more...

#bbcf1 wonder is something under hand is going on with Lewis car. Strange it does no effect the other car

#bbcf1 is it me or do I smell a rat. Either #Ham having worst luck ever or Mercedes are fixing the seasons for Rosberg. FISHY + BORING

Yeah lm beginning to think Mercedes deliberately sabotaging Lewis #bbcf1

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#bbcf1

A remarkable number of you are crying foul play over Lewis Hamilton's mechanical issues.

#BBCF1 I will like to say Mercedes has not been fair to Lewis this season, why Rosberg have not had any liability since. Conspiracy!

#bbcf1 are @MercedesAMGF1 trying to keep Rosberg happy by gifting him a title?! @LewisHamilton so unlucky, again. Angry and deflated!

Level pegging

Merc & RB
Getty Images

Nico Rosberg's P1 draws Mercedes level on 57 poles with Red Bull.

'We would like two cars at the front'

Wolff
Getty Images

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff on BBC Radio 5 live: "There is no side of the garage that cherishes this. Everyone feels for the other side. It seems to be the same issue we had in Shanghai, although we changed all the parts.

"There is no explanation - it is a mechanical sport. It's early days but it leaves a bitter sweet feeling with the pole and a DNF.

"It's a very complex technology and we need to find out how we can sort things.

"There is no explanation. We don't feel good about it, we would like two cars fighting at the front."

'It's a good track for us'

Bottas
Getty Images

Valtteri Bottas, who finished in P3 but will start second on the grid: “It was very good in qualifying. I'm really pleased with how it has gone all weekend. The car is feeling better and it's a good track for us. I'm pleased, but it is tomorrow that counts. So far my Sundays have not been great."

'We start on the clean side'

Qualifying
Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel, who finished in P2, but will start seventh on the grid: “I would like the gap to be smaller, but in Q2 we saw Nico is very strong. For us it was the maximum.

"P2 helps tomorrow with the penalty. We can start on the clean side. The car is good and the weekend is strong.

"I’m not frustrated by unreliability, it is part of racing, not done on purpose. We are pushing hard to try to catch up."

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#bbcf1

Before we say that Nico is being handed the championship, let's not forget that 2 races on pole lost because of poor starts from HAM. #bbcf1

Why did @AMGMercedesF1 switch the engineers for @LewisHamilton and @nico_rosberg? What was the point if not to make nico champ? #bbcf1

@MercedesAMGF1 this is starting to feel like 2014 all over again only worse this time cause #LH44 only has 2 power units for 18 races #BBCF1

Thumbs up

Who's got two thumbs and is on pole?

This guy!

Rosberg
Getty Images

Pole-placed Nico Rosberg: “I was confident the lap was good enough because in Q2 Ferrari were far away and Lewis did not participate. I was sure enough, but you never know. I was glad when Seb passed the line that it was good enough.

On Hamilton and Vettel: “I was focused on myself and going for it and I felt great. From Q2 onwards it felt awesome. My race is a little easier tomorrow. The opposition are still there and I need to focus and get the job done."

'I hope there is no penalty'

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff on Sky Sports: "It's a very bizarre situation. It seems like the same failure as in Shanghai, which means we have to reassess the root cause of the failure. its motor racing and it can happen. He seems to have all the bad luck and the other side of the garage has all the luck.

"I hope there is no penalty for Lewis. But we need to discuss with the FIA what we want to do and make it without a penalty.

"It's getting tough for Lewis now and I have no doubt he will come out of it. But he has every right to be upset."

There's a lot of folks suggesting Mercedes are in some way making sure Nico Rosberg wins the world title.

Can't get on board with that, I'm afraid.

Lewis Hamilton, Toto Wolff and Nico Rosberg
PA

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#bbcf1

if @nico_rosberg win this year championship, we all know that its given to him without challenge but just walk it through the park #bbcf1

For the sake of the fans @MercedesAMGF1 need to sort @LewisHamilton's car out. Will be supremely boring if we have a season of this #bbcf1

#bbcf1 Rosberg can get no comfort from this. Even if he wins the title everyone will say it's cos of Hams car problems.

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#bbcf1

Tough luck, seems @LewisHamilton can't catch a break this season. #BBCF1

China and then here in #SochiGP come one @MercedesAMGF1. Yeah we get it now setting up a German driver to win. #bbcf1

Frankly it's an open goal for #rosberg to take the WDC this year. He simply has too big a lead no real competition. #bbcf1 @MercedesAMGF1

Let's not forget the achievement of Nico Rosberg today, who ties the great Nelson Piquet on 24 career poles.

Clap, clap, clap.

Jennie Gow

BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter

“Lewis sounded slightly heart-broken and defeated when I spoke to him in the pits.”    

Lewis Hamilton was short, curt and unimpressed in his interview with the press immediately after giving up on Q3.

He looked forlorn, like a kid that had been told he couldn't have a flake in his ice cream.

HAM: "I went back out in Q2 and I lost the same power as I lost in China" #Quali #RussianGP 🇷🇺

HAM: "I went back out in Q2 and I lost the same power as I lost in China" #Quali #RussianGP 🇷🇺

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#bbcf1

Hamilton's problems make me so happy. Forza Ferrari. #bbcf1

Is it really bad luck for @LewisHamilton or is it just the team have decided that Nico is to win this year? #bbcf1

This season is just getting more & more worse for #LH44 #RussianGP #Quali #Q3 #SkyF1 #SSF1 #bbcf1 #F1

Q3 result

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION (end of Q3) #Quali #RussianGP 🇷🇺

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION (end of Q3) #Quali #RussianGP 🇷🇺

So, to be clear, Sebastian Vettel will start seventh on the grid.

As it stands, Lewis Hamilton will start 10th - but that will change if he takes a penalty for overhauling his power unit. Mercedes are not sure what needs to happen just yet.

Mark Gallagher

BBC Radio 5 live Formula 1 analyst

“This was a failure for Raikonnen (P4) today. He should not be starting where he is starting.”

"Mega job," Williams tell Valtteri Bottas.

The Finn has a P3, but will start second on the grid after vettel's five-place penalty.

Chequered flag

Q3 ends

Third qualifying result: ROS, VET, BOT, RAI, MAS, RIC, PER, KVY, VST, HAM

Bottas can't do enough to climb beyond P3. What about Kimi? He flaps all over the place in the final turn and has to settle for fourth.

The flag waves and Bottas and Vettel are competing for P2...

Rosberg is getting a very casual once over in the pits and he's climbing out of the car - that might be him done.

Mark Gallagher

BBC Radio 5 live Formula 1 analyst

“That was a big, big lock-up from Rosberg and shows he is still pushing even though he has a big advantage here.” 

Max Verstappen is the only man not on the board, that's about to change. He goes P8 to push Perez into ninth.

Nico Rosberg messes up his third sector and decides it's time to pit.

Hamilton's exit is a Brucey bonus for Vettel, whose five-place penalty has been diluted a tad.

Mark Gallagher

BBC Radio 5 live Formula 1 analyst

“It may not be acceptable to have the same problem in two races in a row, but it is not that unusual. Mercedes want to give their drivers equal opportunities, but these failures are really hampering their World champion’s hopes.”    

Current standings: ROS, VET, BOT, RAI, MAS, RIC, KVY, PER

Nico Rosberg is on course for a second successive pole at Sochi. He registers 1:35.417 to go top - 0.8 quicker than the field.

Nico Rosberg
Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel takes an early P1 with six minutes left. Rosberg is about to respond...

Mark Gallagher

BBC Radio 5 live Formula 1 analyst

“Rosberg will probably go even quicker tomorrow because he will not have the pressure of looking in his mirrors to see where Hamilton is coming from.”