New Delhi: Nico Rosberg overshadowed his Mercedes team-mate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton to claim pole position for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday.
In a scintillating series of drives, the German driver dominated all three sessions, setting quickest times in all sectors to put pressure on Hamilton, who failed to turn up after running wide at Turn 13 on his second attempt of Q3.
Rosberg clocked and impressive time of 1.37.113, while Hamilton managed 1.37.433 in his limited opportunity.
This is the second successive pole for Rosberg, and third for the season. In Japan, he started ahead of Hamilton, but finished behind the defending champion, in a repeat of order from the Spaniard GP.
Williams' break-out star Valtteri Bottas followed the Silver Arrows duo at the Sochi Autodrom circuit. Then, Ferrari's two former world champions Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen followed the Finn, to complete the two front rows for tomorrow's race.
The qualifying session also witnessed both the Sahara Force India drivers producing goods, earning sixth (Nico Hulkenberg) and seventh (Sergio Perez) positions. Lotus' Romain Grosjean, Scuderia Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo completed the top-ten. Ricciardo's team-mate Daniil Kvyat, at P11 will start ahead of Sauber's Felipe Nasr.
Earlier, during the final practice session, Grosjean's team-make Carlos Sainz survived a huge crash. But the Spaniard, who was airlifted to hospital failed to take part in the qualifying. Scans in hospital have confirmed that he has suffered no injuries, he will be kept in hospital overnight as a precaution.
McLaren's somehow produced a relatively better qualifying time with Jenson Button celebrating with a decent 13th place, but his team-mate and multiple world champion Fernando Alonso could managed only a 16th place.
Lotus' Pastor Maldonado will start from 14th, ahead of Williams senior pro Felipe Massa, who had a disappointing qualifying session.
Sauber's Marcus Ericsson at 17th, is followed by two Manor Marussia drivers Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi.
There will be only 19 drivers competing tomorrow, injured Sainz out of picture.
Formula One returns to Russian for the first time since 1950, and it is the fifteenth round of the 2015 season.
Hamilton of dominant Mercedes team leads to Driver's championship race with 277 points, 48 points ahead of Rosberg. Vettel is on third, with 218 points.
TO keep the championship fight alive, Rosberg will need the pole position to a win. There are four more races to go after the Russian GP, at United States, Mexico, Brazil and United Arab Emirates.