Championship leader Sebastian Vettel admitted it felt fantastic to lead Ferrari to their first front row lock out in nine years after he took pole position in Saturday’s thrilling qualifying session for the Russian Grand Prix.
The four-time world champion’s blistering fastest lap and Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen’s second place on the grid brought to an end rivals champions Mercedes long and dominant supremacy in qualifying.
The 29-year-old German outpaced Raikkonen by 0.059 seconds with another Finn, Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes, third fastest with less than a tenth of a second separating the top three.
Britain’s Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest, the first time Mercedes failed to have a car on the front row for 31 races.
It was Vettel’s first pole this year, his second for Ferrari and the 47th of his career. Ferrari also achieved a front row lockout for the first time in 127 races going back to the 2008 French Grand Prix, where Raikkonen took pole.
Vettel’s success also brought to an end Mercedes’ run of 18 straight pole positions dating back to last year’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Red Bull ahead of Brazilian Felipe Massa of Williams, Dutch teenager Max Verstappen in the second Red Bull and German Nico Hulkenberg of Renault.
Mexican Sergio Perez was ninth for Force India ahead of his team-mate Frenchman Esteban Ocon.