Putin jokes with Rosberg after F1 race; Enormous crash in Nascar

Was Nico Rosberg simply “in the zone” or did he deliver a monumental snub to Russian President Vladimir Putin?

After winning the Russian Grand Prix, Rosberg joined Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen in the holding room used before the podium ceremonies.

The German driver appeared to ignore Putin, who was there with his interpreter, shaking Raikkonen’s hand while completely blanking the president.

Rosberg removed some of his gear as he faced the couch with his back to Putin the whole time.

He eventually shook hands with Putin before engaging in some awkward dialogue.

The interpreter asked Rosberg on Putin’s behalf: “Do you like it here? Is everything alright?”

Rosberg replied: “Yeah, everything was good. It’s a great track, and they’ve done a great job – F1 is growing in this country.”

Putin responded by saying the growth was down to the efforts of the drivers to which Rosberg answered, “Oh, we try.”

The Russian president wasn’t finished quite yet, offering Rosberg a rather backhanded compliment.

“You and your colleagues, sincere thanks to you,” he said. “Different segments, different sections of this sport have started to develop in Russia and people take pleasure in watching you do your job, if you can call it a job.”

Rosberg appeared a little bemused and simply responded: “You have some great Russian drivers as well.”

The pair managed to remain professional during the ceremony, with Putin handing Rosberg his trophy after his fourth F1 victory of the season.

While Russian driver Daniil Kvyat was incurring the wrath of Sebastian Vettel for his demolition derby antics in Sochi, the dangers of motorsport came into focus at Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega.

On lap 160 Kurt Busch (No. 41) rear-ended Jamie Johnson (No. 48) into another car, causing a massive pile-up.

The crash caused damage to 17 cars, meaning a total of 28 cars have been involved in crashes at the incident-packed Talladega race.

Despite the shunts, 25 cars were able to rejoin the race on the lead lap for the restart.

There were many highlights of the day, including Dale Earnhardt Jr driving his car one-handed after his steering wheel came off:

Rosberg on pole in Russia as Hamilton’s woes continue

Nico Rosberg claimed pole position Sunday’s Formula 1 race in Russia, but his cause was helped by more bad luck for teammate Lewis Hamilton.

The Mercedes drivers looked set to fill the front row of the grid after dominating practice and the early stages of qualifying.

However, a power unit failure ruled Hamilton out of Q3 to hand Rosberg a comfortable run to pole.

The German driver duly delivered, recording a time of 1:35.417 to finish 0.706 in front of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

“I was quite confident that the lap was good enough out there, because in Q2 the Ferraris were quite far away and I knew Lewis wasn’t taking any further part in qualifying,” said Rosberg.

With Vettel due a five-place grid penalty after an unscheduled gearbox change, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas will join Rosberg at the front of the grid.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, Williams’ Felipe Massa, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Force India’s Sergio Perez round off the top six, with Russian driver Daniil Kyvat securing eighth place.

Hamilton has endured a difficult start to the season and is 36 points behind Rosberg after just three rounds.

He started the previous race in China from the back of the grid after his car broke down in qualifying.

“I went out at the end of Q2 to get a feel and I lost the same power as I lost in China,” Hamilton told Sky F1. “There’s nothing I can do. I never give up.”

The Mercedes team are unsure at this stage if Hamilton will be penalized for the repairs they will make on his car.

“If Lewis didn’t have bad luck he’d have no luck at all at the moment,” said Sky F1’s Martin Brundle.

Q1 saw the Renaults, Manors and Saubers eliminated, with P17 to P22 filled by Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer, Felipe Nasr, Pascal Wehrlein, Rio Haryanto and Marcus Ericsson.

Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, McLaren’s Jenson Button, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, and Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez exited qualifying in Q2.

Qualifying results:

  4. KIMI RƒIKK÷NEN FERRARI 1:36.663

Hamilton leads the way after Friday practice sessions at Sochi

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton topped the standings after Friday’s two practice sessions for Sunday’s Formula 1 race in Russia.

The reigning world champion recorded a best time of 1:37.583, over half a second in front of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who was hit by electrical problems.

Nico Rosberg led the way after the first session but was forced to settle for third, 0.867 seconds behind his Mercedes teammate.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen finished in fourth place, with Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo rounding off the top five.

Hamilton struggled to keep pace with Rosberg during the morning session, but gradually showed his quality despite suffering a couple of spins.

Vettel had set the fastest time 30 minutes into the second session, but the German suffered an electronics failure which forced him out.

Hamilton took full advantage on soft-compound Pirelli tires to roar ahead of Vettel and the rest of the field.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas finished sixth, with Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat in seventh.

Jenson Button in the lead McLaren, Felipe Massa (Williams) and Fernando Alonso (McLaren) completed the top ten.

Kvyat, Russia’s only current F1 driver, said on Thursday he was hoping for a strong showing from the Red Bull team in Sochi.

“Lately we have been competitive on most of the tracks – doesn’t really matter, any kind really, starting with Australia, Bahrain, China we always looked in quite good shape,” he said.

“I think Sochi also in the past for us maybe hasn’t been the easiest track, as a team, but now we are just coming to any track and we are just trying to extract everything the car has got and I believe also here we can fight for quite strong points.”

“We will do our best and I think the car is looking in great.

The 21-year-old collected his second ever podium in last outing in China two weeks ago.

Practice Two Results:

  1. Lewis Hamilton 1:37.583
  2. Sebastian Vettel 1:38.235
  3. Nico Rosberg 1:38.450
  4. Kimi Raikkonen 1:38.793
  5. Daniel Ricciardo 1:39.084
  6. Valtteri Bottas 1:39.185
  7. Daniil Kvyat 1:39.193
  8. Jenson Button 1:39.196
  9. Felipe Massa 1:39.289
  10. Fernando Alonso 1:39.400