Hulkenberg tops delayed Sochi practice

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

127Nico HulkenbergGERForce India-Mercedes1m44.355s
26Nico RosbergGERMercedes1m44.407s
35Sebastian VettelGERFerrari1m44.986s
411Sergio PerezMEXForce India-Mercedes1m45.146s
53Daniel RicciardoAUSRed Bull-Renault1m45.233s
655Carlos Sainz JrESPToro Rosso-Renault1m45.488s
744Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes1m45.691s
877Valtteri BottasFINWilliams-Mercedes1m45.746s
933Max VerstappenNEDToro Rosso-Renault1m46.203s
107Kimi RaikkonenFINFerrari1m46.215s
1122Jenson ButtonGBRMcLaren-Honda1m46.231s
1219Felipe MassaBRZWilliams-Mercedes1m46.333s
1312Felipe NasrBRZSauber-Ferrari1m46.747s
1414Fernando AlonsoESPMcLaren-Honda1m47.443s
1513Pastor MaldonadoVENLotus-Mercedes1m48.006s
1626Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull-Renault1m48.096s
1730Jolyon PalmerGBRLotus-Mercedes1m49.094s
1898Roberto MerhiESPManor-Ferrari1m52.994s
199Marcus EricssonSWESauber-Ferrari1m54.272s
2028Will StevensGBRManor-Ferrari1m58.254s