Nico Rosberg continued his strong season into this weekend after topping the first practice session ahead of the Russian Grand Prix as competitors struggled for grip.
The German finished the session with a time of 1m 38.127s at the Sochi Autodrom, 0.722s ahead of his Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team-mate Lewis Hamilton who had an early spin, bringing out yellow flags in the opening corners. Sebastian Vettel finished 0.157s ahead of his Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen to finish third.
Felipe Massa finished in the top five for Williams Martini Racing with a time of 1m 39.365s, while the Red Bull Racing of Daniel Ricciardo split the two Williams drivers, this is the first time Williams have finished FP1 in the top ten. Behind Valtteri Bottas was the second Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat, who also struggle with grip and spun at the penultimate corner. Sahara Force India‘s Sergio Perez was ninth with a time of 1m 40.287s ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr, who completed the top ten for Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Just missing out on tenth was Jenson Button, who set a time of 1m 40.663s after suffering a spin in turn 15. He was only one tenths faster than his McLaren-Honda team-mate Fernando Alonso. In his first run for Renault Sport, taking the wheel of Kevin Magnussen’s RB12, Sergey Sirotkin finished the session in thirteenth, while full-time driver Jolyon Palmer struggled with grip, finishing the session in seventeenth place.
Sauber’s Felipe Nasr finished the session in fourteenth place, ahead of Max Verstappen, who for the first time this season, finished FP1 outside of the top ten. Esteban Gutierrez took his Haas F1 car to sixteenth place, only 0.147s ahead of team-mate Romain Grosjean. Marcus Ericsson finished the session in nineteenth.
Pascal Wehrlein finished ahead of Manor Racing team-mate Rio Haryanto who started his FP1 quite late into the session. Force India’s development driver Alfonso Celis Jr took the wheel of Nico Hulkenberg’s VJM09 to finish the session behind both Manor drivers.
The Ferrari duo and Sainz were the only drivers in the top ten to run FP1 on the soft tyres rather than the super soft.
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