Mercedes fastest in Russian GP FP2 with Bottas on top followed by Hamilton

Mercedes fastest in Russian GP FP2 with Bottas on top followed by Hamilton

Valtteri Bottas led a Mercedes 1-2 during second practice for Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix, with Pierre Gasly third for AlphaTauri.

Bottas set a time of 1:33.593s to finish 0.044s in front of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, as the duo replicated their positions from the first practice session.

Mercedes has not been beaten since Formula 1’s arrival at Sochi Autodrom in 2014, with Bottas taking his maiden win at the venue in 2017, as well as his most recent victory last year.

While Friday’s running took place in fine and sunny conditions, teams and drivers are also braced for potential disruption to Saturday’s track action due to forecasted heavy rain.

Qualifying could be shifted to Sunday morning in the event of rain not abating, though current forecasts indicate a potential improvement towards the end of Saturday.

Pierre Gasly maintained his and AlphaTauri’s recent strong one-lap form as he placed third, behind only the two Mercedes, just two-tenths behind Bottas.

His position was in stark contrast to rookie team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, who placed only 18th, two seconds adrift of Gasly.

However it was not plain sailing for Gasly after an unusual incident at Turn 2 late in the session.

Gasly went wide into the corner and ran heavily over the raised orange kerb to such an extent that the AT02’s front wing detached from the car.

There were also contrasting fortunes at McLaren.

Lando Norris finished the session in fourth place but team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was a low-key 17th.

However Ricciardo’s Soft tyre run came late in the session, and was far from a clean lap, after his entry into the session was delayed while McLaren fitted an old-spec power unit to his MCL35M.

That decision came after an issue was found on Ricciardo’s original power unit which McLaren expects to repair in time for Saturday’s running.

Red Bull had been tipped to equip Verstappen’s RB16B with a fresh Honda power unit and made the call after the opening practice session.

As a result Verstappen will start Sunday’s grand prix from the back row of the grid, alongside Charles Leclerc, who has also taken on fresh components in the wake of Ferrari readying its new hybrid system.

Verstappen previously started from the back in Russia in 2018, having taken on a fresh power unit, and from there he raced to fifth position.

The decision to take a fresh power unit effectively eradicates the impact of the three-place drop Verstappen received for colliding with Hamilton in Italy.

Antonio Giovinazzi is in the midst of a fight to save his Formula 1 career at Alfa Romeo but suffered an untimely crash during the session.

Giovinazzi, on a qualifying simulation, skated wide exiting Turn 8 and backed the Alfa Romeo C41 into the barriers.

The rear of the C41 sustained substantial damage and while Giovinazzi was able to continue driving he was swiftly told by the team to halt the car.

The session was halted while repairs were undertaken to the barriers.


1Valtteri BottasFINMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m33.593s
2Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m33.637s
3Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1m33.845s
4Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m34.154s
5Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 Team1m34.402s
6Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing1m34.621s
7Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow1m34.678s
8Fernando AlonsoCHIAlpine F1 Team1m34.762s
9Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1m34.837s
10Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow1m34.925s
11Sergio PerezMEXRed Bull Racing1m34.938s
12Kimi RaikkonenFINAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1m35.052s
13George RussellISRWilliams Racing1m35.094s
14Antonio GiovinazziGBRAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1m35.178s
15Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1m35.334s
16Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1m35.411s
17Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m35.630s
18Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1m35.934s
19Nikita MazepinRUSUralkali Haas F1 Team1m36.099s
20Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team1m36.230s

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