In first practise for the Russian Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas led the way for Mercedes ahead of title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Fresh off a good showing at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago, the Finn set the best time of 1m34.427s, defeating teammate Hamilton by 0.211 seconds.
Bottas is the best GP in Russia
Verstappen finished third, 0.016s behind the leaders, despite the title leader using a second set of fresh soft tyres late in the hour to post his best time, taking advantage of rapidly improving conditions on the dusty street circuit. The Dutchman’s morning was brightened by this, and he finished the session with only 13 laps under his belt and his car on jacks in the garage. It was a unique first practise session on the red-walled rubber, which is generally kept in its blankets for more representative afternoon conditions. Due to the strong likelihood of rain on Saturday, including during qualifying, teams were able to utilise the fastest tyre in what is normally a setup exploration session, with each driver utilising at least one set. Charles Leclerc was fourth fastest, his Ferrari powered by a new and improved engine.
The Monegasque got out early and simply utilised the soft tyre to bed in the motor, and he was 0.69s off the pace after 22 circuits. Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel finished sixth, 1.354s off the pace at the head of a tight pack. Pierre Gasly was just 0.013s behind in the second Ferrari, with Carlos Sainz 0.017s behind in the third. Lando Norris was ninth fastest, but the Briton had a damaged front wing following a bizarre spin on the penultimate corner on his way into pit lane. The McLaren driver speculated that his rear axle had locked unexpectedly, throwing him gently into the wall, although he was able to walk back to his pit box on his own.
Sergio Perez finished seventh, 1.7 seconds behind the leaders, with Alpine teammates Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon close behind. Lance Stroll finished 12th, about two seconds behind than the leader, with Antonio Giovinazzi, Daniel Ricciardo, and Kimi Raikkonen close behind. Yuki Tsunoda finished 3.3 seconds behind the leader, stating that his AlphaTauri car was “very tense” during the session. Williams teammates George Russell and Nicholas Latifi finished second and third, respectively, while newly re-signed Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher were more than four seconds back in fourth and fifth.
You can click on the image below to owning our products
Homepage: SWAGTEESHIRT Store