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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

Get involved

  1. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

    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.

  2. Post update

    Sochi

    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.

  3. Post update

    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.

  4. Get involved #bbcf1

    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.

  5. Post update

    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."

  6. Post update

    Nico Rosberg

    "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."

  7. Post update

    russian gp

    "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."

  8. Get involved #bbcf1

    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.

  9. Post update

    "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."

  10. Post update

    Eddie Jordan

    BBC F1 chief analyst

    Jenson Button

    "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."

  11. Post update

    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."

  12. Post update

    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."

  13. Get involved #bbcf1

    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.

  14. Post update

    Nico Rosberg (left) and Lewis Hamilton shake hands after qualifying

    "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."

  15. Post update

    Toro Rosso

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

  16. Post update

    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."

  17. Post update

    "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."

  18. Post update

    "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."

  19. Post update

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

  20. Post update

    "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."

  21. Get involved

    #bbcf1

    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

  22. Team radio

    kvyat

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

  23. 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

  24. Post update

    bottas

    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.

  25. Pole position

    Lewis Hamilton takes pole position for the Russian Grand Prix.

    hamilton
  26. Post update

    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?

  27. Get involved #bbcf1

    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

  28. Team radio

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

  29. Post update

    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

  30. Post update

    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.

  31. Post update

    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.

  32. Post update

    rosberg

    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.

  33. Post update

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

  34. Post update

    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.

  35. Final qualifying starts

    Let the battle for pole position begin!

  36. Post update

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

  37. IN

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

  38. Post update

    "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."

  39. Post update

    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.

  40. Get involved #bbcf1

    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.

  41. OUT

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

  42. Second qualifying ends

    hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest in the second part of qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix.

  43. Post update

    vettel

    Sebastian Vettel is pushing but it doesn't look like it'll be enough - and it's not! The four-time world champion misses out on Q3 by 0.123 seconds.

  44. Post update

    Jean-Eric Vergne is on the bubble in 10th, with Sebastian Vettel in danger of getting the boot here. He's down in 15th and needs to improve on his current best by more than 1.3 seconds.

  45. Post update

    Marussia's sole competitor after Jules Bianchi's accident Max Chilton speaking to Jennie Gow on 5 live: "It's been a difficult weekend for us all so far. It's not been easy, so all in all considering the situation we've done well. With the whole team around me we can try to do the best job we can for Jules."

  46. Post update

    Daniel Ricciardo improves to the sixth fastest time with a 1:39.666 with Fernando Alonso slotting into eighth. That moves both Force Indias into the drop zone.

  47. Get involved #bbcf1

    Ben Silveston: Lewis Hamilton is absolutely flying! Some serious pace!

    Reece Young: Lewis Hamilton has definitely put the hammer down today. Stunning pace advantage.

    Jeremiah Kariuki: A massive lap from Lewis Hamilton, taking pole almost guaranteed unless a mistake happens! In total control. Bottas could be 2nd!

  48. Post update

    With five minutes remaining, Lewis Hamilton leads the way, with Nico Rosberg improving to go second. Here's the top 10:

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

    That means Kimi Raikkonen, Adrian Sutil, Esteban Gutierrez, Sebastian Vettel, Romain Grosjean and Fernando Alonso are in the drop zone.

  49. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton smashes it next time around, the Briton clocking a 1:38.338, 0.633 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas.

    Based on this kind of form, the only driver who can stop Hamilton getting pole today is himself.

  50. Post update

    russian gp

    Tidy lap from Valtteri Bottas who goes quickest by just 0.008 seconds in the Williams. The Finn is in with a shout of the front row today or the second at the very least.

  51. Post update

    russian gp

    Nico Rosberg is the early pace-setter, the Mercedes driver clocking a 1:38.979, four tenths quicker than the McLaren of Jenson Button.Lewis Hamilton's first effort is unspectacular and he's down in 10th.

  52. Coverage

    russian gp

    We have our extra camera streams running across qualifying and the race.

    You can access the driver tracker, pit lane feed, onboard and live timing via the console at the top of this page.

  53. Second qualifying starts

    It's time for Q2. Fifteen minutes and only 10 drivers can progress to Q3.

  54. Get involved #bbcf1

    Reece Young: How slow is the lotus when a sick Williams is still quicker than one of their cars. Poor showing from Maldonado as usual.

    Lucy Bloor: Such a shame for Felipe, his bad luck continues this season.

    Liam Dove: Can see @McLarenF1 getting on the second row here

  55. IN

    1) Hamilton 2) Rosberg 3) Bottas 4) Button 5) Magnussen 6) Kvyat 7) Raikkonen 8) Alonso 9) Hulkenberg 10) Vergne 11) Vettel 12) Ricciardo 13) Perez 14) Sutil 15) Gutierrez 16) Grosjean

  56. Post update

    "We're going to have to look into it, but from the radio communications, it's something to do the engine," says Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams of Felipe Mass's problem. "It's a real shame, after the pace we have shown this weekend, for Felipe not to make Q2 - it's so disappointing."

  57. Post update

    "I have some contact with F1 teams, but it's not about the F1 talent anymore, it's about the money," says former Renault and Caterham driver Vitaly Petrov. "Of course I want to come back."

  58. Team radio

    Pastor Maldonado's engineer: "Sorry about that Pastor, a complete shambles."

  59. OUT

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

  60. First qualifying ends

    Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest in the first part of qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix.

    russian gp
  61. Chequered flag

    The chequered flag is out but anyone on a flying lap can complete it.

  62. Team radio

    Felipe Massa: "Is there nothing you can do?"

    "We're doing everything we can," comes the reply.

  63. Get involved #bbcf1

    Tim Arstall: Solid times from Jenson here, clearly going out with a point to prove.

    Tone: Looks like Button is on it today, carrying form from yesterday. Good to see.

    Phil Slocombe: Yes we want an exciting race, but more important is a safe race.

  64. Post update

    russian gp

    Felipe Massa improves to 17th, but it's clear he's struggling because it takes what feels like an age to pass a Caterham on a slow lap. It's a shame for the Brazilian whose Williams team have shown the pace to contend for at least the second row.

  65. Post update

    Marcus Ericsson, Kamui Kobayashi, Max Chilton, Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado are currently in the drop zone.

    Massa reports issues with his engine, but the team effectively tell him that he just needs to get on with it and do what he can because there's nothing they can do until the car is back in the garage.

    Three minutes to go.

  66. Post update

    hamilton

    Super lap from Lewis Hamilton who almost matches his quick lap from this morning's final practice session with a 1:38.759. He's 0.317 clear of Nico Rosberg, who locks up and runs wide before aborting his latest lap and pitting.

  67. Post update

    Back comes Nico Rosberg, the German clocking 1:29.076 to move back to the top of the pile, two tenths quicker than his title rival Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso is third, a further 1.3 seconds adrift.

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

    Seven minutes to go.

  68. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton improves on his next attempt, the Briton clocks a 1:39.282, to go 0.010 seconds quicker than Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

  69. Post update

    Jenson Button is out there on the medium compound tyre and goes third quickest with a 1:40.953, 1.661 seconds off the pace.

  70. Post update

    Nico Rosberg makes a better job of it than his team-mate Lewis Hamilton on his first flier, the German clocking a 1:39.292 which is 0.769 seconds quick. "Nico, we expect that to be quick enough to get through but we'll still do another lap," says Rosberg's engineer.

  71. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton's first effort is a 1:40.061 is good enough for the quickest time so far. However, there's more to come as he will have lost time locking up into Turn 13.

  72. Post update

    Traffic could be a problem in this session, especially if drivers are having to do a number of laps on their soft tyres before getting their best time.

  73. Get involved #bbcf1

    Old Nicodemus: I still want to know if Red Bull have compensated Vettel for not "giving him wings" this season. He has a strong case.

    Claire Brough: Maybe Ricciardo will get a chance to shine once Vettel leaves, future champ maybe?

    Dean: Is it just me or does the Russian F1 Track look absolutely stunning?

  74. Post update

    Romain Grosjean and Adrian Sutil are among the first drivers on track for this opening session. Lewis Hamilton follows them out - he's selected the soft tyres, which are the option compound this weekend.

  75. First qualifying starts

    It's time. Eighteen minutes, 21 drivers and only 16 places available in Q2.

  76. Get involved

    Who is your tip for pole? Fire over your thoughts using the #bbcf1 hashtag, by texting 81111 (UK only) or by leaving a comment on the BBC Sport Facebook page.

  77. Post update

    It's a beautiful day at the Sochi Autodrom, bright blue skies and toasty temperatures welcoming the fans, who have flocked to the race. An impressive 20,000 people turned up at the circuit on Thursday for an autograph session - and there wasn't even any track action.

  78. Post update

    Max Chilton

    Marussia's Max Chilton (pictured, McLaren's Kevin Magnussen and Force India's Nico Hulkenberg will drop five places on the grid after being penalised for making gearbox changes.

  79. Get involved #bbcf1

    russian gp

    James Weir: Eddie Jordan and @therealdcf1 both going for a green and purple dress code today. The Joker would be proud.

    Daniel Beaumont: David, Eddie... Wow! how long is the wardrobe meeting?

  80. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Sochi

    russian gp

    "Jules Bianchi's accident at Suzuka has reopened the debate on forward head protection for drivers in Formula 1. Governing body the FIA is continuing research on the subject, but problems have arisen because of the forces involved in needing to deflect a bouncing wheel, the main focus of the research. 'It's very difficult to find something that is strong enough to stop the wheel and allows driver to drive the car without being affected by the structure,' said race director Charlie Whiting (pictured).

    "'We found it had to be 20m higher than drivers head, which makes it a substantial structure. But research is still going on and will continue to be so until we find a solution.' As for finding something robust enough to withstand the forces seen in Bianchi's crash, Whiting said: 'The forces on the roll structure were way in excess of the test loads. I have a strong suspicion that under those exact circumstances it would be hard to find a solution, given how hard it is to find a solution to a wheel hitting the driver's head.'"

  81. Post update

    Daniel Ricciardo

    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo only has to out-qualify Sebastian Vettel once more to clinch a decisive 10-6 advantage in the season head-to-head.

    The Australian would become the first team-mate to out-qualify Vettel over a whole season. Tonio Liuzzi beat Vettel 4-3 but that was only a partial season in 2007.

  82. Post update

    Daniil Kvyat

    "I think it's going to be very exciting for everyone," says Daniil Kvyat, 20, who is set to become the first Russian to compete in his home race.

    "I think the fans are passionate, I think you will be surprised at how people will be cheering for the sport."

    This may be his home race, but Kvyat's hometown is Ufa, which is 2,300km away from Sochi. Big country, Russia.

  83. Post update

    "He's fast but he's on the edge," says BBC F1 commentator David Coulthard of Lewis Hamilton who finished quickest this morning but lost it underbraking but kept it out of the barriers. You can watch it here.

  84. Post update

    Daniel Ricciardo on track

    Qualifying gets under way in just 20 minutes. Don't forget there is live coverage available on BBC One or the video console at the top of the page.

  85. Get involved #bbcf1

    Elton Lam: Fascinating piece on @KevinMagnussen on #BBCF1. Such a great, inspiring guy and doing a solid job for @McLarenF1.

    Sue: Lovely piece on Kevin Magnussen on #BBCF1 from when he was a young boy, so cute.

    Mark: What a brilliant Kevin feature then. I hope he keeps his seat for next year.

  86. Post update

    Kevin Magnussen

    Kevin Magnussen (pictured) and Daniil Kvyat are the only drivers on the grid never to have failed to make it through from Q1 to Q2.

  87. Get involved #bbcf1

    Faseeh Warind: Nico must be wondering where it all went wrong for him. Lewis is just too quick for him.

    Alex Ballard: The Sochi track looks beautiful, nice addition to the circuit.

    Jonathan Foster: Where is Hamilton gaining so much time on everyone on the fast laps, he is creaming everyone.

  88. Post update

    russian gp

    One for the Magnussen family photo album this. It's Kevin Magnussen, aged just two, driving around in a miniature McLaren Formula 1 car.

  89. Post update

    rssian gp

    Lovely interview with Kevin Magnussen on BBC One just now. The Dane is a huge name in his home country and talks about how he spoke to Martin Whitmarsh after winning the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2013 and put pressure on the then McLaren chief to give him a seat. "I just went up to him and said 'Come on, I can do it. Just give me the seat, I can do better than the guys you have got'.

  90. Post update

    russian gp

    Worth remembering that the sport lost driver Andrea De Cesaris at the age of 55 last Sunday. The Italian, who started 208 races in F1 between 1980 and 1994 but never won a grand prix, was killed in a motorbike accident in Rome.

  91. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton

    Having spent much of the season chasing, Lewis Hamilton is now defending a lead. The Briton, who won the title in 2008, heads Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by 10 points with four races and 125 points remaining.

  92. Post update

    This morning, Lewis Hamilton finished quickest in final practice with a stunning lap, but his session was tainted when he had a spin late on. Luckily for him, he kept it out of the barriers.

  93. Post update

    Marussia on Twitter: Thank you for the continued warmth and concern, and for providing the strength to help us keep pushing on. #JB17 #RememberingMaria

  94. Post update

    russian gp

    "It's been an incredibly difficult week for F1 and our team," Marussia president Graeme Lowdon tells Suzi Perry. "But we have been helped enormously by the F1 family. It would have been enormously difficult to get through this week without the help of some key people.

    "Jules is an exceptional F1 driver and an exceptional human being. I don't know anyone who doesn't like him. He has so many friends that it has hit a lot of people very hard.

    "The main thing we wanted to do was something useful for Jules and his family but also we're lying ninth in the world championship, a very important position for us and we're largely in that position because of Jules. He's a racing driver and he will want us to do the best we can.

    "We thought the right thing to do was come here, take part in the event but as a mark of support for Jules and respect for his mum and day and family we would withdraw the second car. Its fully scrutineered and ready to go. It has his race number on it."

  95. Post update

    Daniil Kvyat

    Here's a shot of Russian Daniil Kvyat placing a sticker with the hashtag #JB17, which is Jules Bianchi's race number, alongside his own name on his Toro Rosso.

  96. Post update

    Daniel Ricciardo's helmet

    All the drivers have the slogan Tous Avec Jules #17 in support of Jules Bianchi, who is critical but stable after suffering severe head injuries in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix when he crashed into a recovery vehicle.

  97. Post update

    Kimi Raikkonen

    Morning everybody and welcome to our live coverage of qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix - an event that has been seven years in the making.

    The Black Sea resort of Sochi is our host - you may recognise the venue as it hosted this year's Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

  98. Post update

    The honour of becoming the first man to ever start on pole position for the Russian Grand Prix is up for grabs. Who is going to take it?

  99. Post update

    russian gp

    It's all going to plan for Lewis Hamilton, the Briton looking mighty around the Sochi Autodrom while his Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg struggles to keep up.

    But will that spin at the end of the session play on the 2008 world champion's mind when crunch time comes in qualifying shortly? Join me in a bit to find out.

  100. Post update

    Time to park this live text, but I'll be back at 11:15 BST to begin building up to qualifying. BBC One goes live at the same with BBC Radio 5 live going on air at 12:00, when the one-hour session starts.

  101. Post update

    Lotus on Twitter: Pretty intense dance music playing across the main straight right now. Might even feature a touch of old-school techno... Anyone dancing?

  102. Post update

    "It was a tremendous lap, he seems to extract the maximum out of the car at the moment," says Mercedes co-team boss Toto Wolff of Lewis Hamilton, who finished 0.29 seconds clear of the field.

    The other Mercedes of Nico Rosberg took longer to get up to speed. "It's bizarre, we have just discussed it," adds Wolff. "Somehow, Lewis seem to nail it on first lap, Nico seems to struggle a bit more, but this is just practice.

    "Bottas seems to be going really fast, but [there is an] engine mode question mark. Let's see what happens in qualifying."

  103. Post update

    Jenson Button

    Massively disappointing from McLaren today, with Jenson Button showing such good pace on Friday but he's down in 13th today, 1.6 seconds off the quickest time. The team continue to struggle on one-lap pace.

  104. Final practice standings

    1) Lewis Hamilton 2) Nico Rosberg 3) Valtteri Bottas 4) Daniel Ricciardo 5) Felipe Massa 6) Daniil Kvyat 7) Kimi Raikkonen 8) Fernando Alonso 9) Jean-Eric Vergne 10) Sebastian Vettel 11) Jenson Button

    12) Nico Hulkenberg 13) Sergio Perez 14) Adrian Sutil 15) Esteban Gutierrez 16) Romain Grosjean 17) Kevin Magnussen 18) Marcus Ericsson 19) Kamui Kobayashi 20) Max Chilton 21) Pastor Maldonado

  105. Chequered flag

    Lewis Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton finishes quickest in final practice for the Russian Grand Prix.

  106. Chequered flag

    The chequered flag is out, but there are a few drivers on quick laps out there who will be allowed to complete them.

  107. Post update

    Nico Rosberg finally gets a decent lap in, on his seventh lap on that set of soft tyres, to go second with 1:39.016, 0.290 seconds off his team-mate Lewis Hamilton's pace.

  108. Post update

    Valtteri Bottas has done seven laps on that set of soft tyres and is going quicker and quicker. The Finn closes to 0.371 seconds off pace-setter Lewis Hamilton and is a contender for a front row grid slow.

  109. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton is back in the pits. That's probably his session over with only a few minutes remaining, but he'll still be pretty pleased with his efforts this morning.

  110. Spin!

    russian gp

    Huge moment for Lewis Hamilton. Crikey. The Briton is loving it out there, he seems so hooked up around this new track.

    He goes quickest in the first sector, but makes a mistake under braking for the penultimate corner. The tyres are destroyed, but there's plenty of run-off and the Briton's well clear of the wall.

  111. Get involved #bbcf1

    Paul Marsh: Daniel Ricciardo looks very uncomfortable with that Red Bull this morning and not a threat to the Mercs or Williams.

    Aaron Skitterall: Not gonna lie, I really want Williams to do well today, think Bottas can still do it.

  112. Post update

    Valtteri Bottas goes second quickest, but he's still 0.924 seconds off the pace set by Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton's team-mate Nico Rosberg can't respond and goes third, 0.960 seconds adrift of his title rival.

    bottas
  113. Post update

    Daniel Ricciardo goes fifth quickest with a 1:40.392 but he's 1.6 seconds off the pace. Red Bull are going to struggle to compete for a podium this weekend based on their form so far.

  114. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton absolutely smashes it, despite a lock-up at Turn 13, to go quickest with a 1:38.726 on the soft tyres. That will be depressing for the rest.

  115. Post update

    Kimi Raikkonen improves to sixth fastest on the soft tyres, but he's bumped down a place when Jenson Button clocks a 1:40.707 to move into fourth. However, they will continue on those tyres as based on yesterday's sessions, the best lap doesn't come on the opening effort.

  116. Post update

    russian gp

    Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen heads out on the soft tyres, closely followed by Jenson Button's McLaren. Qualifying-simulations on their way. Expect the times to tumble shortly.

  117. Post update

    With 17 minutes to go, here's the top 10: 1) Ros 2) Bot 3) Mas 4) Ham 5) Kvy 6) Alo 7) Vet 8) Hul 9) Per 10) Ver

  118. Get involved #bbcf1

    Tony Foster: Err, where exactly are those bumps on Turn 2? They don't seem to be stopping the drivers exceeding track limits!

    Lawrence Burden: The whole of the Sochi track looks the same. At classic tracks every corner's unique and special, there isn't a soul at new tracks.

    Eleanor Sowden: Loving the new circuit, hating McLaren's bad luck. Loving #FP so we can see the other drivers, not just the front runners!

  119. Post update

    Big lock up for Russian Daniil Kvyat at Turn 13. He keeps his Toro Rosso out of the barriers, but those tyres look shot.

  120. Post update

    Sochi

    Ferrari on Twitter: For safety reasons some bumps have been placed on turn 2. New pit lane speed limit: 60 km/h.

  121. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Sochi

    "Marcus Ericsson has made a real step forward in the last couple of races in the Caterham. There are a couple of reasons for this, the team believe. One is that he gained a lot of confidence from the Singapore race, where he held off Jules Bianchi's Marussia in the closing laps for 15th place. Ericsson then out-paced his experienced team-mate Kamui Kobayashi in Japan, and is doing so again here in Russia.

    "However, the cars are not in the same spec. Kobayashi's crash on his third lap of practice in Suzuka destroyed the only set of new parts available to him, and this new front wing and floor make a significant difference to the car's pace. As the cars have come straight from Japan to Russia, with no facility for extra spares to be introduced because of the logistics here, Ericsson has the new bits and Kobayashi doesn't."

  122. Post update

    Nico Rosberg moves back into top spot with a 1:40.178 in his Mercedes, having completed 15 laps. Valtteri Bottas then demonstrates that Williams could be Mercedes' closest challenger this weekend as he foes second, just 0.035 seconds off the pace.

  123. Post update

    Work continues on Pastor Maldonado's Lotus. He's the only driver who has yet to set a timed lap.

  124. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Sochi

    "There has inevitably been a lot of focus here on the accident in Suzuka that left Jules Bianchi with such grave injuries. Governing body the FIA held a press conference, detailing the events that day in Suzuka, with the aid of videos. It transpires that there was an initial brief delay - of about 20 seconds - in scrambling the medical and safety cars after Bianchi's crash because initially race control did not know what had happened.

    "That was because Bianchi's car was not visible on the monitors and the systems that indicate to race control that a car has had an accident were destroyed by the size of the impact. But the FIA doctors said that other than that, all the medical and extrication processes were handled seamlessly."

  125. Post update

    Very committed lap from Valtteri Bottas in the Williams, the Finn moving to the top of the pile with a 1:40.655 on the medium tyres.

  126. Post update

    With half an hour gone, there's still half an hour to go. Force India's Sergio Perez looks like the first driver to head out on the soft tyre for a qualifying-simulation run.

  127. Post update

    Drivers were really struggling for grip during Friday practice, the new surface proving to be very greasy.

    That remains the case today, with Felipe Massa finding himself with an armful of opposite lock and he grabs control of the rear end of his Williams at Turn 15.

  128. Post update

    Kamui Kobayashi goes off at Turn Four but continues in his Caterham. Williams' Valtteri Bottas also runs wide there, but no real harm done.

  129. Go! Go! Go!

    The track is clear and we're back under way.

  130. Post update

    russian gp

    More bad luck for Pastor Maldonado. He's not going anywhere as his car is up on the jacks while the team change the battery. The Venezuelan has yet to complete a timed lap this morning. His Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean is 13th.

  131. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Sochi

    "A glance at the circuit map and a walk around the track suggests Turn Three, a long, negative camber left-hander, would be the most interesting corner on the track. But it turns out that is pretty much flat for everyone - and Lewis Hamilton does not even bother to tuck the Mercedes in tight, preferring a wider line.

    "The trickiest corner has ended up being Turn 13, one of many apparently nondescript 90-degree right-handers, but this one is at the end of a long straight and with a braking zone through a left-hand kink. There were a lot of locked wheels and cars running wide there on Friday. 'It's bumpy and the left wheel is unweighted so it's very easy to lock it,' Jenson Button said."

  132. Get involved #bbcf1

    Matt Harrod: Would love to see Mclaren do well. They have been through the wars this year. #ForzaJules

    James Smith: Sochi's a street track with all the excitement of a street track taken away. No danger of touching a wall on exit of a corner.

    Adam Gardner: Am watching #BBCF1 Practice 3 at the #RussianGP near Sochi. Great track; should be an excellent qualifying session! Good luck #lewishamilton

  133. Post update

    russian gp

    The session will restart at 09:23. While we wait for the marshals to remove the McLaren from the track, here's the top 10:

    1) Ham 2) Ros 3) Kvy 4) Vet 5) Hul 6) But 7) Per 8) Mag 9) Sut 10) Ver

  134. Red flag

    russian gp

    And now he's come to a stop. Replays show the rear end just snapped, with Kevin Magnussen suggesting it could be a puncture, and the Dane did very well to catch it and wrestle back control to keep the car out of the wall. The session has been red-flagged.

  135. Yellow flag

    McLaren's Kevin Magnussen has slowed to a snail's pace, bringing out the yellow flags.

  136. Post update

    Nico Hulkenberg, who faces a five-place grid penalty after changing his gearbox, goes fifth quickest in the Force India, nine tenths of a second off the pace.

  137. Post update

    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo is the only driver not to venture out on track so far this morning with 45 minutes remaining.

  138. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Sochi

    "It feels more trivial than normal in the circumstances, but there is a grand prix to be run here, of course, and Mercedes appear to be in a race of their own. Lewis Hamilton was nearly a second clear of anyone else on Friday.

    "Team-mate Nico Rosberg's pace was less impressive but the two were on divergent set-ups as they analysed the Sochi track and also made a mistake on his quickest lap. The Williams of Valtteri Bottas was quicker than both on the longer runs in the second session, but the 0.35 seconds margin suggests that is not a like-for-like comparison. Expected a Hamilton v Roberg battle for pole later."

  139. Post update

    russian gp

    Lewis Hamilton goes quickest with a 1:40.725 in his Mercedes, with his team-mate Nico Rosberg crossing the line shortly after 0.4 seconds adrift.

  140. Post update

    Mercedes are doing something new this weekend, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg pulling out of the garage, stopping after a couple of metres to do a senor system reset, and then accelerating away, reports BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson. The team won't tell Tom why they're doing it, but it will be related to the team's ongoing push to cut out the reliability issues that have affected them this season.

  141. Post update

    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel pulls into the pit lane, only to cut back across at the last moment after being told that the plan is to get straight down to work, rather than peel in after an installation lap. "Sorry," replies the German.

  142. Post update

    russian gp

    Fernando Alonso steps into his car and is buckled in ahead of his first run in this session. The Spaniard suffered his second mechanical retirement in the last three races in Japan, having gone 86 races without one. Will he have better luck this weekend?

  143. Go! Go! Go!

    It's a beautiful day in Sochi, bright blue skies and glorious sunshine. Perfect conditions, then, for third practice. Let the session begin!

  144. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton

    Mercedes on Twitter: Final practice about to kick off here @SochiAutodrom. @LewisHamilton sharing a quick joke with his crew.

  145. Get involved #bbcf1

    Mr Ree: These new #F1 tracks are soulless, there's no character to them, they're all too.... Samey.

    David Dalton: So after missing FP1 and 2, now is my first opportunity to have a look at the Sochi Autodrom Circuit.

    David Budd: Hamilton will be on the podium alongside Bottas and Rosberg. Williams seem to be the only team that can upset the Mercs.

  146. Live BBC coverage

    Lee McKenzie is live on BBC Two and the video console at the top of the page with Jennie Gow and Tom Clarkson in the pit-lane. Ben Edwards and Tony Dodgins are in the commentary box.

  147. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Sochi

    "Race director Charlie Whiting has held a meeting with the teams this morning to discuss changes that could be implemented in the context of Jules Bianchi's accident in Japan.

    "They are pursuing the idea of the 'virtual safety car', where in the event of a recovery vehicle on track and when race control feels any incident can be cleared relatively quickly and therefore would not normally need a safety car, the F1 cars would have to stay within a certain pre-defined lap time - they have to stay 'positive' on their dashboards.

    "There will be stringent penalties for any driver not obeying. But it will not be implemented yet. The rules need to be re-written and the systems have to be implemented in the cars. There will almost certainly be a trial of the new system after first practice at the next race in Austin, Texas."

  148. Post update

    russian gp

    We have our extra camera streams function working for you across all sessions for this weekend's Russian GP, instead of just qualifying and the race.

    You can access the driver tracker, pit lane feed, onboard and live timing via the console at the top of this page.

  149. Post update

    russian gp

    All the drivers are wearing the slogan Tous Avec Jules #17 in support of Jules Bianchi. There's some powerful stuff from Lewis Hamilton on the Frenchman and the risks of racing in F1 in his latest BBC Sport column if you've not read it already. You can find it on the F1 pages.

  150. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Sochi

    "This race is taking place in an uneasy atmosphere following Jules Bianchi's accident. The teams and the FIA are discussing what changes can be made to procedures to ensure such an incident could not happen again - and this is focusing on taking how much the cars slow during a caution period out of the drivers' hands. Race director Charlie Whiting has said tractor recovery vehicles will be used 'with extreme caution'. And that caution has extended to a decision to lower the pit-lane speed limit here from 80km/h to 60km/h - the same as in Melbourne, Monaco and Singapore."

  151. Post update

    Daniel Ricciardo

    Drivers will have spent plenty of time in the simulator - and probably a few hours on a games console - learning the circuit, but nothing beats a cycle round the track to spot the bumps and any potentially tricky kerbs. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo clearly thinks so.

  152. Post update

    David Coulthard

    BBC F1 co-commentator

    russian gp

    "Sochi looks fantastic. The track goes around all of the various Winter Olympic venues so it looks great. They have done a remarkable job in making sure they have a legacy beyond the Winter Olympics.

    "I believe the initial contract is a seven years and if that runs its course then clearly we will be coming here for some time.

    "There is a semi-permanent feel to the race track, so it's not a full street circuit like Singapore. So a lot of the permanent facilities here are making it more much comfortable for the teams."

  153. Post update

    Just spotted BBC co-commentator David Coulthard's ensemble for today and it's a cracker - purple shirt with leaf green trousers. It has to be seen to be believed.

  154. Post update

    So final practice starts at 09:00 BST and will be available in the video console at the top of the page as well as BBC Two and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra from five minutes before the session starts.

    Qualifying follows at 12:00, with the programme kicking off at 11:15 on BBC One and again in the video console above.

  155. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Sochi

    Daniel Ricciardo on track

    "There's a Disneyland-meets-the-Caucasus feel to the Sochi race track. The Olympic stadiums around which the circuit winds are nestled on a coastal plane between hills on either side of the town. The plane used to be marshland, but it now houses a theme park, complete with rollercoasters and a hotel that is remarkably reminiscent of the Disney palace.

    "As for the track itself, it has overtones of unloved Valencia, but the drivers were generally positive. 'It's got a really nice flow to it,' Lewis Hamilton said. 'It's not too bumpy, the corners are challenging - if you can get the lines just perfect you can put together really nice sectors. The tyres are also not falling apart, which they do at other tracks, so it's even more fun because you can do lap after lap and enjoy it.'"

  156. Post update

    Morning! Everyone ready for a bit of qualifying action? Well you'll have a little longer to wait as we've got one hour of practice for the Russian Grand Prix to get through first before pole position is dished out later on.

  157. Post update

    Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull at Sochi

    It's been seven years in the making but at last, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has got his wish - a Formula 1 race in Russia. Will the new purpose-built circuit, which weaves its way around the Olympic Park that hosted this year's Winter Games, deliver an exciting race? We'll get one step closer to finding out shortly.