Sebastian Vettel Beats Max Verstappen By 0.050 Seconds in Free Practice 1 At Russia

by Aaron Gillard
Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - FP1

Scuderia Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel starts the Russian Grand Prix weekend with the fastest time in Free Practice 1, with Max Verstappen less than 0.050 seconds slower than the German.

Vettel set a 1m34.488s to go on top ahead of the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver. The Ferrari started his Friday morning session late, heading out on track for the first time thirty minutes into the session. Verstappen produced a strong lap time but was short of taking the top stop away from Vettel.

Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport‘s Lewis Hamilton set the third fastest time of the session with a 1m34.818s, but he set his fastest time on the Soft compound tyres. Hamilton made a few mistakes on track down a Turn 2, using the run off during his laps. His team-mate Valtteri Bottas followed behind in fourth place.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest but his session was cut short when smoke from his RB14 appeared midway through practice. The Australian didn’t appear back on track after the issue.

Racing Point Force India F1 Team‘s Esteban Ocon placed himself in sixth ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen. Kevin Magnussen was the fastest driver to set a time in the 1:36 bracket ahead of Nico Hülkenberg.

Antonio Giovinazzi filled in for Marcus Ericsson in the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team car and managed to produce the tenth fastest time of the session, setting a 1:36.712.

Three FIA Formula 2 drivers took part in the session with Force India, McLaren F1 Team and Renault Sport Formula One Team. Nicolas Latifi, Lando Norris and Artem Markelov all took part in the session, with Norris setting the fastest time out of the trio and sitting thirteenth fastest overall.

Markelov in his first ever F1 Grand Prix session was able to have a clean session and completed development work for Renault. The Russian set the fifteenth fastest time. Latifi placed himself seventeenth fastest overall.

Norris spun at Turn 6 after carrying too much speed in the corner. The McLaren driver was able to escape the incident without any damage and resume his session.

After thirty minutes of the session, Hamilton sat at the top of the session ahead of Verstappen, Bottas and Ricciardo. Vettel set the fifth fastest time ahead of Räikkönen in his sole lap. Ricciardo’s session ended abruptly after smoke came out of the rear of his Red Bull car when he returned back into the garage.

After one hour of the session completed, Vettel improved his time into a 1m34.488s to go fastest overall, nearly half a second faster than Verstappen. The Dutch driver attempted to reclaim the top spot but missed out by 0.050s on his hot lap.

Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg was reported to return back to the pit lane with eight minutes to go, as he crawled his car back to the pit lane.

With the session finished, it was Vettel who finished the session fastest overall ahead of Verstappen, Hamilton, Bottas and Ricciardo. Sergio Pérez, Fernando Alonso and Marcus Ericsson will return for Free Practice 2 in the afternoon.

PosNo.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps
15Sebastian VettelScuderia Ferrari1:34.488
233Max VerstappenAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:34.5380.050
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:34.8180.330
477Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:34.9990.511
53Daniel RicciardoAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:35.5241.036
631Esteban OconRacing Point Force India F1 Team1:35.6631.175
77Kimi RaikkonnenScuderia Ferrari1:35.6961.208
820Kevin MagnussenHaas-F1 Team1:36.1961.708
927Nico HulkenbergRenault Sport Formula One Team1:36.2741.786
1036Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team1:36.7122.224
118Romain GrosjeanHaas-F1 Team1:36.8162.328
1210Pierre GaslyScuderia Toro Rosso1:36.9442.456
1347Lando NorrisMcLaren Formula 1 Team1:37.0222.534
1416Charles LeclercAlfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team1:37.0542.566
1546Artem MarkelovRenault Sport Formula One Team1:37.1832.695
162Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Formula 1 Team1:37.1872.699
1734Nicolas LatifiRacing Point Force India F1 Team1:37.2062.718
1835Sergey SirotkinWilliams Martini Racing1:37.2252.737
1928Brendon HartleyScuderia Toro Rosso1:37.9443.456
2018Lance StrollWilliams Martini Racing1:39.1374.649

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