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Ferrari’s Vettel, Raikkonen grip front row to start 2017 F1 Russian Grand Prix

April 29, 2017, 16:32 updated at: April 29, 2017, 23:34 UTC+3 SOCHI

The four-time F1 world champion from Germany showed the best lap result of 1 minute 34.493 seconds

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SOCHI, April 29. /TASS/. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel clinched the last minutes best time of the qualification session on Saturday to win the pole position ahead of the 2017 Formula One Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.

The four-time F1 world champion from Germany showed the best lap result of 1 minute 34.493 seconds. His teammate Kimi Raikkonen clocked the second best result, thus putting both Ferraris on the first line of the starting grid for the Sunday GP in Sochi.

"I think it's been a mega qualifying. The car was really nice to drive and it's a track when the car comes alive it's really pleasant," Vettel told journalists after winning the pole position.

Asked how important it was to have his teammate Kimi alongside on the front row of the starting grid tomorrow, Vettel said "Well, if I could choose I would put Kimi alongside and I think he would say the same."

The 37-year old Finnish racer from Finland, Raikkonen, who won the F1 World Championship in 2007, was heading Saturday’s qualification in Sochi until the very last minute of the session. He was about to conquer the pole position after an almost decade-long pause, as the last time Kimi started a race from the top position was way back in 2008 at the French Grand Prix, but Vettel managed to beat him by only 0.059 seconds.

"Obviously the aim is to be on the front," Raikkonen told journalists. "The feeling has been more better this weekend and now we just got some traffic on the pout lap on the last set and couldn't really make the tyres work as well as the first run and it was a bit more tricky."

Team Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton finished the Saturday qualification in the third and fourth places respectively.

Speaking after the qualifying Bottas, who joined Team Mercedes this season coming from Williams, said Ferrari was at the higher level than Mercedes throughout the weekend, but the second line of the starting grid was also good and the starting lap of the race tomorrow would see which team is better.

"To be honest all weekend they (Ferrari) have had the upper hand and they have been able to extract much mire, especially from the ultrasoft tyre, and that's where we really struggled yesterday," Bottas told journalists. "We made improvements for today but obviously not quite enough."

"As always, tomorrow is the day that really counts and I think a second-row start is that much of a bad thing - it's a pretty long run into Turn One," the Finnish driver, who stepped on the third step of the podium at the inaugural Russia GP in 2014, added.

Russia’s Daniil Kvyat from Scuderia Toro Rosso will start his home race from the 13th position on Sunday afternoon.

"After this morning's FP3 (Free Practice, Session 3), I'm happy with my result in today's qualifying session," Kvyat said commenting on his performance during the qualifying. "The car has been difficult to drive all weekend and we also had a few issues this morning which we couldn't completely solve for qualifying."

"But I drove well and I'm happy with my lap. Tomorrow we will try our best to fight for points!" the 23-year-old Russian added.

With comfortable temperatures soaring above 20 degrees Centigrade (over 70 Fahrenheit) this week in Sochi, team Ferrari was dominant during three practice sessions on Friday and Saturday with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Rakkonen clocking the best lap times and leaving behind in the third and fourth places drivers from their main rival Team Mercedes.

Beginning with Russia’s first-ever F1 race in October 2014 the trophies of Sochi went to Team Mercedes’ drivers.

The inaugural race in2014 was grabbed by Lewis Hamilton, who held the grip in Russia on the title next year again showing the best result in winning the Russian GP.

His teammate Nico Roseberg broke the spell of victorious Lewis, winning the race last year and eventually getting the world champion's title.

This year Russia holds its fourth FIA Formula One racing Grand Prix in Sochi from April 28 to April 30.

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