McLaren driver Norris capitalised on a well-timed switch to slick tyres to claim his first career pole in damp and slippery conditions, admitting he “risked quite a bit” to lap 0.517 seconds faster than former team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr in the Ferrari.
A late improvement by Williams driver George Russell, also running slick tyres at the end, vaulted the 2022 Mercedes driver into third and into a position to target a second podium finish of the season after his breakthrough result in the rain-aborted Belgian Grand Prix.
With championship rival Max Verstappen set to start last after taking a fresh power unit and taking no meaningful part in qualifying, Lewis Hamilton had been on course to take maximum advantage by setting the fastest times in the early stages of Q3 on intermediate tyres, but dropped to fourth after two crashes at the end of the session that left him feeling “incredibly disappointed in myself”.
Daniel Ricciardo survived an investigation for impeding Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin and will start fifth for McLaren, ahead of Alpine driver Fernando Alonso, the second Mercedes of Friday pace-setter Valtteri Bottas and Stroll.
Sergio Perez was a disappointed ninth in the sole Red Bull to participate in qualifying, as Alonso’s team-mate Esteban Ocon completed the top 10.
Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
When is the F1 Russian Grand Prix?
Date: Sunday 26th September 2021
Start time: 1pm BST, 3pm local time
The 15th round of the 2021 F1 season, the Russian GP at Sochi, gets underway at 3pm local time (1pm BST) on Sunday 26th September.
How can I watch the Russian GP?
In the United Kingdom, Sky Sports will be live broadcasting the Russian GP, with the race shown live on Sky Sports F1.
Sky Sports F1 pre-race coverage will be starting at 11:30am BST ahead of the race start at 1pm BST.
Channel: Sky Sports F1
Start time: 11:30am BST, Sunday 26th September
Autosport will be running a live text coverage of the Russian GP here.
When can I watch the Russian GP highlights?
In the United Kingdom Channel 4 is also broadcasting highlights of the Russian GP at 5:30pm BST on Sunday. The full programme will run for two-and-a-half hours, covering the pre-race, the race highlights and the initial post-race reaction to wrap up the major talking points of the race weekend.
For the entire 2021 F1 season, Channel 4 will broadcast highlights of every qualifying and race on the Saturday and Sunday of each event. The highlights will also be available on Channel 4’s on demand catch up services.
Channel: Channel 4
Start time: 5:30pm BST, Sunday 26th September
George Russell, Williams FW43B
Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
Will the Russian GP be on the radio?
Live radio coverage of every practice, qualifying and race for the 2021 F1 season will be available on the BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra stations and the via the BBC Sport website.
Live coverage of the Russian GP will start at 1pm BST on the BBC Sport website and on the BBC Sounds app.
Weather forecast for the Russian GP?
Current weather forecasts predict mixed conditions at Sochi, with a chance of rain during the race and overcast conditions throughout. The temperature is expected to be 19 degrees Celsius for the start of the race – nine degrees cooler than the Italian GP.
How many laps is the Russian GP?
The race is scheduled to complete 53 laps of the Sochi circuit, covering a total race distance of 309.745km.