Sebastian Vettel said Ferrari have some catching up to do after Friday’s practice sessions and it was the same story as Valtteri Bottas took pole ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the Russian Grand Prix.
Back-to-back victories have given Hamilton a 40-point lead over Vettel in the battle for the Formula One world title.
Vettel may have taken a crumb of comfort in seeing Hamilton make a mistake on his final lap to miss out on pole, but the Silver Arrows looked ominous as they locked out the front row for the fifth time this season.
Bottas, winner of the race last year, broke the track record on hypersoft tyres as he maintained his record of never been out-qualified by a team-mate in Sochi.
Vettel will start in third place ahead of fellow Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen after the German was over half a second slower than Bottas on a dominant day for Mercedes.
Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were third and fourth respectively in Q1 but were not seen again on track after that as they face an engine penalty along with Brendon Hartley, Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso.
Mercedes have won every edition of the Russian Grand Prix and will be expected to maintain that record on Sunday.
Maiden win last year, pole this… @ValtteriBottas sure likes the @SochiAutodrom #RussianGP