Sochi, FP2: Hamilton heads Mercedes one-two

Verstappen 3rd, Ricciardo 4th


By Olivier Ferret

28 September 2018 - 15:37
Sochi, FP2: Hamilton heads Mercedes (...)

Lewis Hamilton headed a Mercedes one-two in second practice for the Russian Grand Prix, the FIA Formula 1 World Championship Drivers’ title leader beating team-mate Valtteri Bottas by just under two tenths of a second.

Hamilton, who comes into this weekend carrying a 40-point championship lead over chief rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, posted a time of 1:33.584 a third of the way through the session after bolting on a set of hypersoft compound tyres as the field set about qualifying simulations. The Briton’s time saw him finish 0.199s ahead of Bottas.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third fastest at the Sochi Autodrom, with the Dutch driver recording a best time of 1:33.827. That left him just under two hundredths of a second clear of fourth-placed team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, with both driver just over four tenths of a second off Hamilton’s pace.

After opening his Sochi account with the fastest time of the morning session, Vettel slipped to fourth in the afternoon, his time of 1:33.928 leaving him 0.543s adrift of Hamilton on a circuit where Mercedes have never been beaten in the race. The German’s Ferrari team-mate Kimi Räikkönen took sixth place in the session, though the Finn ended up almost half a second behind Vettel and 1.003s down on the P1 pace.

Best of the rest status went to Racing Point Force India’s Sergio Perez, whose seventh-place time was over 1.7s off Hamilton table-topping time. The Mexican driver was separated from ninth-placed team-mate Esteban Ocon by Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly who edged his French compatriot by just one hundredth of a second.

Marcus Ericsson, who had made way for his 2019 Sauber replacement Antonio Giovinazzi in the morning session rounded out the top 10 with a good time of 1:35.295, 0.137s ahead of 13th-placed team-mate Charles Leclerc.

Kevin Magnussen finished in 11th place, four spots ahead of Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean. Carlos Sainz, who had given up his Renault to Russian tester Artem Markelov in the morning, ended his first session of the weekend in 12th place. Team-mate Nico Hulkenberg was 14th behind Leclerc and Grosjean, with Brendon Hartley 16th in the second Toro Rosso.

The final places were taken by the McLarens of 17th-placed Fernando Alonso and team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, and then the Williams cars of local hero Sergey Sirotkin and Canada’s Lance Stroll, with the pairing more than three seconds off the pace.

01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:33.385 35
02 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG 1:33.584 33
03 Max Verstappen Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:33.827 32
04 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:33.844 37
05 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:33.928 33
06 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:34.388 31
07 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:35.122 30
08 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda 1:35.137 28
09 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:35.147 33
10 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:35.295 35
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:35.331 33
12 Carlos Sainz Renault F1 1:35.341 37
13 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:35.432 32
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault F1 1:35.568 35
15 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:35.911 35
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda 1:36.024 29
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1:36.074 34
18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 1:36.617 31
19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1:36.861 39
20 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:37.001 35

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