Lando Norris tops the FIA Formula 2 practice session at the Sochi Autodrom, beating Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing‘s Nyck de Vries and championship rival George Russell.
The Carlin Motorsport driver set a 1m48.231s to top practice ahead of an important qualifying session for the British driver as he aims to reduce the points gap to Russell.
Dutch driver Nyck de Vries was able to split the two championship contenders with the second best time, 0.172 seconds slower than the Carlin of Norris.
ART Grand Prix driver George Russell could only set the third best time in practice. Russell set impressive pace and looked to take the top spot on the time sheets, but a lock up at Turn 13 prevented him from doing so.
Norris’ team-mate Sérgio Sette Câmara placed himself in fourth ahead of DAMS‘ Nicholas Latifi. Italy feature race winner Tadasuke Makino continued to show his impressive pace with sixth place ahead of Jack Aitken and Alexander Albon.
Two Italian drivers rounds off the top ten, with Luca Ghiotto beating his fellow countryman Antonio Fuoco in his Charouz Racing System.
Niko Kari in his first F2 practice session placed himself thirteenth overall, being 1.1 seconds slower than Norris’ fastest time whilst Roberto Merhi in his return to the series could only get nineteenth overall.
The sole practice session began with Dorian Boccalacci in the MP Motorsport was the first out on track, followed by Sette Câmara and de Vries.
After the drivers completed their reconnaissance laps, Alexander Albon in the DAMS set the initial pace with a 1m48.890s ahead of team-mate Latifi and Sette Câmara. Championship rivals Norris and Russell traded the top of the standing, both beating Albon’s time but Norris getting one ahead of the ART driver of Russel, with a 1m48.231s time.
Russell attempted to head back on top of the time sheets with the fastest time in sector one and two, but a lock up at Turn 13 nearly caused a scary moment for the British driver. Russell was able to slow the car down on track but was forced to abandoned his lap.
Maximilian Günther ran over a kerb at Turn 5, which caused a puncture on his rear left tyre as crawled his way back to the pits.
With twenty minutes of the session left, Norris remains on top but de Vries improved on his time to take the second place spot away from Russell, who lies in third. Sette Câmara and Latifi round off the top five.
Aitken made the jump into the top ten with the sixth fastest time in practice with over ten minutes remaining, over half a second slower than Norris. Makino joined the Anglo-Korean driver in the top ten, surpassing Aiken for sixth and only 0.003 seconds slower than Latifi in fifth with seven minutes of the session remaining.
At the end of the session, Markleov was able to improve on his time from the bottom of the field, but could only improve up to fourteenth fastest. Norris remained at the top to end the session fastest ahead of de Vries and Russell as they prepare for qualifying.
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