Sainz promises Russian fight after surprise front row

26 September 2021 03:30:14 GMTPlus11
Sainz expects Mercedes improvement

Lando Norris secured his first pole position following a dramatic rain-affected qualifying session of the Russian Grand Prix but nearest challenger Carlos Sainz warned the British youngster he would "put up a fight" when the race starts on Sunday.

Norris is 11/4 to make the most of the advantage by winning the Russian Grand Prix and it's an unexpected front grid with Spaniard Sainz qualifying second. Sainz is offered at 12/1 with third-fastest George Russell available at 55/1 and Lewis Hamilton at 8/11 to fight his way to the front from fourth spot.

Hamilton crash

Seven-time world champion Hamilton crashed in the pit lane on a drama-filled afternoon as he failed to make the most of current championship leader Max Verstappen's penalty which sees him starting at the back of the grid in Sochi alongside Charles Leclerc and Nicholas Lafti, who are also punished for engine penalties.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth and Fernando Alonso claimed sixth.

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It all left McLaren's Norris in the perfect place to claim his first pole as those on slick tyres were proved to have made the right call, although rain is again forecast for the race on Sunday so it won't be an easy ride for any of the drivers.

"Very tricky," was how Sainz described qualifying to BBC Sport and the Ferrari driver added: "This weekend we are looking strong. Probably our weakest conditions were on the inters.

Sainz ready to fight

"There are the two Mercedes and the Red Bulls who we expect to be much quicker tomorrow but we will put up a fight.

"I need to make sure I do my homework overnight to make sure we don't lose too much on the line on the dirty side."

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