Nico Hulkenberg was fastest in a delayed opening practice at the Sochi Autodrom, although much of the useful running was negated by a damp track.
The session was delayed by half an hour following an oil spill caused by a support truck that required clearing up, and left a couple of sections of the track wet, which caused a few cars to run off track as they exceeded the limit of grip.
Drivers initially ventured out onto the track using either the intermediate or wet tyres, before switching over to the dry tyres, and it was Hulkenberg in his Sahara Force India who go the best lap of the session, crossing the line just as the chequered flag fell.
Hulkenberg was able to better the time set by fellow Germans Nico Rosberg of the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team and Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari by 0.052s and 0.631s respectively.
Sergio Perez made it a good session for Force India with the fourth fastest time ahead of Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo, with Carlos Sainz Jr sixth for Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Lewis Hamilton was only seventh in the second Mercedes, but was on course to improve his lap time hugely late on but span at the penultimate corner.
Valtteri Bottas was the leading Williams Martini Racing entry in eighth, with Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari completing the top ten.
A number of drivers had moments during the session, with Vettel, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Daniil Kvyat and Marcus Ericsson all finding themselves running off track.
Sochi Free Practice 1 Result
|1||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||1m44.355s|
|4||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||1m45.146s|
|5||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Renault||1m45.233s|
|6||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso-Renault||1m45.488s|
|9||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Toro Rosso-Renault||1m46.203s|
|16||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Red Bull-Renault||1m48.096s|