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F1 will run Russian GP qualifying "by hook or by crook"

F1 will run Russian GP qualifying "by hook or by crook"

F1 News

F1 will run Russian GP qualifying "by hook or by crook"

F1 will run Russian GP qualifying "by hook or by crook"

Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer has no doubt F1 will run qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix "by hook or by crook".

Heavy rain is forecast across the Sochi Autodrom on Saturday, threatening to force the qualifying session into Sunday morning ahead of the race.

Earlier this week, the support paddock found itself under water [main picture] after a torrential downpour hit the circuit.

Due to concerns over the forecast, the FIA switched Saturday morning's F3 race to Friday evening.

Szafnauer even feels some teams ran close to ideal one-lap pace in second practice should there be no qualifying session at all and grid times are taken from FP2.

Pierre Gasly was third quickest for AlphaTauri behind Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.

Reflecting on his own team's programme, Szafnauer said: "We didn't alter much. We went through our programme thinking we will qualify tomorrow or Sunday morning. We've done that before, too.

"It's the understanding it will be wet in the morning and it will try to clear up in the afternoon, so we didn't alter our programme that much.

"I think some other people tried to perhaps get higher up on the timesheets just in case the session [FP2] is used for the grid. Well, we didn't do any of that."

Asked of Szafnauer 'that's not your feeling that's going to happen', he replied: "No. I think we'll get qualifying in - by hook or by crook."

Drivers Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll finished FP2 ninth and 15th quickest, with the four-time F1 champion declaring he enjoyed "a productive day of running", and sensing an opportunity if qualifying takes place in the wet.

"We covered a good number of laps and found a decent balance with the car," added Vettel.

"That is positive because it can be tricky to find the flow in Sochi, so I think we have a good starting point.

"But it looks like it will rain tomorrow. That could make for an interesting qualifying session and, because it will mix up the field, it could lead to some opportunities for us, especially with some other drivers taking grid penalties already this weekend.

"Sunday is looking drier, so today’s positive work is still important. We will make sure we are well prepared tonight and then see what tomorrow brings.”


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