F1 - Bottas quickest in first practice for Russian Grand Prix | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

F1 - Bottas quickest in first practice for Russian Grand Prix

24.09.21

Two-time Russian Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas went quickest in the opening practice session for this year’s event at Sochi Autodrom, with the Mercedes driving beating team-mate by two tenths of a second. Championship leader Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull Racing. 

Bottas first rose to the top of the order 15 minutes into the session, using hard tyres to move ahead of early pacesetter Charles Leclerc thanks to a lap of 1:36.412s. Leclerc had taken top spot on soft tyres as he used new hybrid elements in his Ferrari power unit for the first time. The arrival of the new components means the Monegasque will start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid. 

Vertsappen them emerged, also on soft tyres, and across a a multi-lap run on the red-banded tyres he steadily found more time and eventually took P1 with a best time of 1:35.616 just short of halfway way through the one-hour session. 

Both Mercedes cars then went out on soft tyres and Bottas soon reclaimed P1 with a lap of 1:34.427, while Hamilton took second place just 0.211s behind his team-mate. He might have eclipsed the Finn but a mistake in the penultimate corner cost him time. 

The focus then switched to longer runs, but with 15 minutes left on the clock Red Bull Racing sent Verstappen out again on softs for a qualifying simulation. The championship leader went quickest of all in the middle sector but losses early in the lap and in the final corners meant he finished the session 0.227s adrift of the Mercedes man.

Leclerc finished in fourth place ahead of Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel, while Pierre Gasly took sixth for AlphaTauri, finishing ahead of the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and McLaren's Lando Norris, as Perez and Fernando Alonso rounded out the top 10.

Norris has an odd incident after the chequered flag when he spun at low speed reporting that the rear end of his car had locked. He also clipped the inside of the pit entry wall on his return to his garage causing minor damage to his front wing.

2020 FIA Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix - Frree Practice 1
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes  1:34.427 25 222.953
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes  1:34.638 0.211 23 222.456
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda  1:34.654 0.227 13 222.418
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari  1:35.117 0.690 22 221.335
5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes  1:35.781 1.354 23 219.801
6 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda  1:35.794 1.367 24 219.771
7 Carlos Sainz Ferrari  1:35.811 1.384 25 219.732
8 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes  1:35.959 1.532 24 219.393
9 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda  1:36.188 1.761 22 218.871
10 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault  1:36.225 1.798 21 218.787
11 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault  1:36.236 1.809 25 218.762
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes  1:36.522 2.095 21 218.114
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari  1:36.795 2.368 23 217.498
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes  1:36.877 2.450 23 217.314
15 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari  1:36.952 2.525 20 217.146
16 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Honda  1:37.794 3.367 26 215.277
17 George Russell Williams/Mercedes  1:38.013 3.586 23 214.795
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes  1:38.155 3.728 21 214.485
19 Nikita Mazepin Haas/Ferrari  1:38.586 4.159 22 213.547
20 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari  1:38.977 4.550 23 212.703