Verstappen tops practice in Russia
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ended the opening day’s running fastest at the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.
The Dutchman headed the second practice session from Charles Leclerc, the pair reversing the order from the day’s opening session.
Lewis Hamilton was only fourth fastest, trailing his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas as he’d done earlier in the day.
The second session was largely divided in half, with teams splitting programs between medium and soft compound tyres.
Early running saw the bulk of the field fit the slower medium compound rubber as they assessed race pace, switching to the softer compound later in the session.
Verstappen had been just fourth fastest in the early running, the pace set by Leclerc in the opening exchanges before the qualifying simulations began, which is when the Dutchman emerged fastest.
Fifth fastest at session’s end was Sebastian Vettel, followed by Pierre Gasly, Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Lance Stroll, and Alex Albon rounded out the top 10.
Daniel Ricciardo ended the session 14th fastest, down from eighth in the opening session.
Hamilton and Albon nearly came together a high speed in the Turn 3 sweeper late on, the Mercedes driver on a hot lap having to dive to the inside of the Red Bull.
Albon was touring around on a slow down lap, unaware of the approaching Mercedes, with the moment limited to nothing more serious than a near miss.
Ricciardo had not been so lucky in Practice 1, the Australian spinning his Renault in the morning session and damaging the rear wing on his car.
There were rear wing problems for Mercedes too in Practice 1, with Bottas’ DRS not closing under braking at Turn 2 before the top plane became partially detached.
He was able to return to the pits without incident with the wings on both his and Hamilton’s car assessed prior to Practice 2.
Leclerc had topped the opening session narrowly from Versatppen, with Vettel some half a second further back.
Hamilton could do no better than fifth, two tenths slower than Bottas, with Albon rounding out the runners from the top three teams.
Best of the rest was Hulkenberg from Ricciardo, while Perez and Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10.
Practice continues on Saturday ahead of qualifying at 2200 AEST.
Results: Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix, Practice 1
|2||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda||1:34.544||+0.082s|
|6||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Honda||1:35.484||+1.022s|
|9||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point Mercedes||1:36.321||+1.859s|
|10||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||1:36.516||+2.054s|
|11||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||1:36.523||+2.061s|
|12||10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso Honda||1:36.538||+2.076s|
|13||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:36.596||+2.134s|
|14||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point Mercedes||1:36.714||+2.252s|
|15||7||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:36.770||+2.308s|
|16||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||1:36.844||+2.382s|
|17||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:37.328||+2.866s|
|18||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||1:38.520||+4.058s|
|19||26||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso Honda||1:38.550||+4.088s|
|20||88||Robert Kubica||Williams Mercedes||1:38.670||+4.208s|
Result: Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix, Practice 2
|1||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda||1:33.162|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso Honda||1:34.971||+1.809s|
|7||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point Mercedes||1:34.998||+1.836s|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point Mercedes||1:35.176||+2.014s|
|10||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Honda||1:35.216||+2.054s|
|11||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||1:35.223||+2.061s|
|12||26||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso Honda||1:35.337||+2.175s|
|13||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:35.351||+2.189s|
|15||7||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:35.374||+2.212s|
|16||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||1:35.593||+2.431s|
|17||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||1:35.635||+2.473s|
|18||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:36.004||+2.842s|
|19||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||1:36.785||+3.623s|
|20||88||Robert Kubica||Williams Mercedes||1:37.838||+4.676s|