Sochi, FP3: Hamilton leads the way in final practice for Russian Grand Prix
Bottas 2nd, Sainz 3rd
Lewis Hamilton headed a Mercedes one-two in final practice for Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix beating team-mate Valtteri Bottas by almost eight tenths of a second. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz finished third, just fourth hundredths of a second behind Bottas.
The Mercedes drivers were to the fore from the start of the session, with Bottas leading the way on soft tyres with a lap of 1:35.183. Hamilton, on the same compound, was two tenths off the pace after a mistake on his opening run led to a second attempt.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen didn’t appear until the session had almost reach the halfway point. When he did emerge from the team’s garage he did so on soft tyres and on his first flying lap he split the Mercedes with a lap of 1:34.306, just 0.017s off Bottas’ early benchmark.
There was brief pause as drivers prepared for their final qualifying simulations. Bottas was quickly back on track and he returned to the top of the order with a lap of 1:34.055. Hamilton though was behind the Finn on track and with a much tidier lap reclaimed top spot with a blistering lap of 1:33.279 to eclipse his team-mate by almost eight tenths of a second. Sainz then moved to third place ahead of Verstappen with a good lap of 1:34.096.
After displaying good pace early in the session, Verstappen looked set to challenge Mercedes again as he went quickest of all in Sector 1 at the start of his qualifying run. However, he lost a large amount time in second sector, possible through traffic, and backed out of the remainder of the lap.
That allowed Renault’s Esteban Ocon and Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez to steal fourth and fifth places respectively, with Verstappen being shuffled down to sixth place.
Verstappen’s team-mate Alex Albon also failed to get the most out of his qualifying sim. The Thai driver went wide in Turn 2 and had his lap deleted for a track limits infringement. He would finish in P19.
Seventh place in the session went to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with the four-time champion finishing five place and two tenths of a second ahead of team-mate Charles Leclerc. Lance Stroll took eighth place ahead of Daniil Kvyat and the final top 10 place went to Daniel Ricciardo.
The Australian suffered a bizarre technical problem on his final flying lap as his right side mirror twisted around and he lost time as he frequently adjusted the mirror arm.
|01||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W11||1:33.279||16|
|02||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes W11||1:34.055||19|
|03||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault MCL35||1:34.096||17|
|04||Esteban Ocon||Renault RS20||1:34.239||13|
|05||Sergio Perez||Racing Point Mercedes RP20||1:34.252||14|
|06||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RB16||1:34.306||11|
|07||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari SF1000||1:34.594||14|
|08||Lance Stroll||Racing Point Mercedes RP20||1:34.732||13|
|09||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri Honda AT01||1:34.768||14|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault RS20||1:37.787||12|
|11||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda AT01||1:34.792||12|
|12||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF1000||1:34.806||14|
|13||George Russell||Williams Mercedes FW43||1:34.979||16|
|14||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari VF-20||1:35.257||14|
|15||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW43||1:35.292||14|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-20||1:35.451||14|
|17||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39||1:35.590||15|
|18||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39||1:35.599||15|
|19||Alex Albon||Red Bull Honda RB16||1:35.735||14|
|20||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault MCL35||1:35.981||17|