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Sochi, FP1: Bottas quickest in opening practice for Russian GP

Ricciardo 2nd, Verstappen 3rd


By Olivier Ferret

25 September 2020 - 11:33
Sochi, FP1: Bottas quickest in (...)

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas set the pace in the opening practice session for the 2020 FIA Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix, finishing almost half a second clear of Renault’s Daniel Riccirado at the end of a session that featured a number of incidents.

Bottas, who won in Sochi in 2017 and who has three other podium finishes to his name at the Black Sea circuit, used the re-banded soft tyre to claim top spot and the Finn set a time of 1:34.923 to eclipse Ricciardo who put in a good lap of 1:35.430 to edge Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen by a little under 1500ths of a second.

Mercedes led the way in the early phase of the session as Bottas went out on the C4 compound medium tyres and Hamilton chose the C4 hard tyre as the team sought to get a read on the durability of the softest end of Pirelli’s range of rubber. Hamilton topped the order first with a time of 1:37.313s before Bottas establisher a new benchmark, four tenths clear of his team-mate.

Around the half-hour mark Verstappen took over at the top with a medium-tyre lap of 1:36.751s.

Merrcedes, though, soon returned to the track on soft compound tyres with Bottas setting his session-best time. Hamilton, however, didn’t get a soft lap in as McLaren’s Carlos Sainz went off track and into the barriers.

Sainz lost control of his car on entry to Turn 7 and spun backwards into the barriers, breaking his rear wing. He was, however, able to limp back to the pits.

Within moments AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat also had a spin at Turn 15, though he avoided damage, and the Virtual Safety Car was deployed, ending Hamilton’s hot lap.

While Sainz’s crash resulted in a VSC, the red flags had to be shown just before the hour mark when Nicholas Latifi went off at Turn 10. The Canadian drivers also went backwards into the barrier but unlike Sainz he was unable to continue and the session was stopped to allow for recovery of his car.

Fourth place in the session went to Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez with teammate Lance Stroll fifth ahead of the second Renault of Esteban Ocon. Kvyat ended the session in seventh place, with the second Red Bull of Alex Albon in eighth place ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.

01 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W11 1:34.923 13
02 Daniel Ricciardo Renault RS20 1:35.430 22
03 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16 1:35.577 22
04 Sergio Perez Racing Point Mercedes RP20 1:35.796 23
05 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes RP20 1:35.965 21
06 Esteban Ocon Renault RS20 1:36.061 23
07 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri Honda AT01 1:36.230 22
08 Alex Albon Red Bull Honda RB16 1:36.254 24
09 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF1000 1:36.323 23
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT01 1:36.706 25
11 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF1000 1:36.896 23
12 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault MCL35 1:36.970 8
13 Lando Norris McLaren Renault MCL35 1:37.110 28
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39 1:37.201 17
15 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39 1:37.230 23
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-20 1:37.430 22
17 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43 1:37.595 24
18 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari VF-20 1:37.649 24
19 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W11 1:37.716 18
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43 1:37.784 11

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