Charles Leclerc topped the final practice session for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix , as Scuderia Ferrari look set to continue their FIA Formula 1 World Championship resurgence in Sochi.
Scuderia Ferrari continued their supremacy in the session’s early stages with Leclerc leading Sebastian Vettel. However, this did contrast the form of the championship-leading Mercedes AMG Petronas team who sat third and fourth with Valtteri Bottas ahead of Lewis Hamilton – over a second from the Ferrari’s.
Max Verstappen then split the Ferrari’s to continue his strong Sochi form so far this weekend, following this Bottas managed to leap up to second to revive Mercedes’ weekend some what.
In the final qualifying simulations Leclerc reaffirmed his speed, going fastest of all in the session, Vettel managed to recover to second, albeit firmly in arrears of his Monegasque team-mate. Hamilton and Bottas completed the top four as Mercedes seem poised to strike should the Prancing Horse fail to maximise their package. Verstappen then completed the top five, although a late clash with the wall saw the Dutchman fail to complete a final representative run.
Romain Grosjean was best of the rest for Haas, ahead of the struggling Red Bull of Alex Albon. The duelling manufactures of Renault and McLaren coming home eighth and ninth respectively, with Nico Hülkenberg ahead of Lando Norris. Behind them, Kevin Magnussen reinstated Haas’ surprise form to round out the top ten.
Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz Jr. were all on the precipice of a top ten birth in the final practice session, Gasly in particular continued to show real progress following his return to Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda.
Alfa Romeo Racing and SportPesa Racing Point all struggled in Sochi, with the pair of teams monopolising the positions between fourteenth and seventeenth. Antonio Giovinazzi was the leading driver in the quartet, ahead of the Racing Point pairing of Sergio Pérez and Lance Stroll. Kimi Räikkönen struggled heavily down in seventeenth as Giovinazzi comfortably went quicker than his world champion team-mate.
Daniil Kvyat‘s Russian Grand Prix continued to struggle due to another power unit problem that left his car stricken at the side of the circuit, and will mean that he misses qualifying. This allowed George Russell‘s ROKit Williams Racing to get ahead of the Russian, as Robert Kubica rounded out the field.