Lewis Hamilton on pole ahead of Nico Rosberg in Russia

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer in Sochi
Lewis Hamilton storms to pole in Russia
Russian Grand Prix
Venue: Sochi Autodrom Coverage: Live on BBC One from 11:00 BST, BBC Radio 5 live & live text commentary online

Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg to pole position at the inaugural Russian GP.

The championship leader was 0.2 seconds clear of the German as Williams's Valtteri Bottas lost a chance of a front-row spot with a mistake.

The Finn was fastest after the first two sectors but ran wide at the last corner.

Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton's pole lap in Sochi

He took third ahead of Jenson Button's McLaren and the Toro Rosso of the impressive Daniil Kvyat.

"Pole is a great place to start," said Hamilton, 29. "It's great to come here. It's a beautiful place, the weather's been amazing and I'm really enjoying driving this track.

"It wasn't the easiest of sessions. Rosberg and Bottas were looking quite strong and hooking up a good lap wasn't the same as practice. It will be tough tomorrow in the race. It is a long way down to Turn One. We'll see how that works out."

Hamilton and Rosberg
Nico Rosberg was happy to admit that Lewis Hamilton had been "faster all weekend so far".

Bottas said he did not think he could have beaten Hamilton but felt second had been within his grasp.

"Looking back, I maybe took too much out of the tyres in the beginning of the lap and it got tricky in the last few corners," he said.

"I risked it a bit too much in the last two corners and went a bit wide and here, when you go off line, it is very slippery. It's not nice to make a mistake. But it maybe cost one place maximum."

Kvyat put in the best qualifying performance of his rookie season at his home grand prix, with President Vladimir Putin due to attend a race he was instrumental in creating.

It was Toro Rosso's best grid position since their former driver Daniel Ricciardo qualified fifth at Silverstone last year.

McLaren's Kevin Magnussen qualified sixth but will be demoted five places with a penalty for changing a gearbox.

Ricciardo was the best-placed Red Bull driver in seventh, ahead of the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, with the second Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne 10th, 0.743secs slower than Kvyat.

Lewis Hamilton 'had no idea' of pole

The weekend has been overshadowed by the accident at last Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix which left Marussia's Jules Bianchi in a critical condition with severe head injuries.

F1 is determined to learn lessons from the accident and is working on implementing extra safety measures.

Russian Grand Prix coverage details

Russian GP qualifying result

Russian driver Daniil Kvyat qualified fifth at home for Toro Rosso
The sea resort of Sochi is a "beautiful place", according to Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton's pole position is his seventh of the season

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