The second Formula 1 practice session of the day has concluded, and it’s Valtteri Bottas who headed the pack once again at the Sochi Autodrom street circuit.
The track- which surrounds Russia’s Olympic Park- has been tricky to master all day, and lots of drivers have found out that the dusty surface is a force to be reckoned with. As the circuit began to rubber-in, more and more of the field were confident enough to push their cars harder, and Free Practice Two saw quicker lap times and braver drivers.
The session began at 13:00 BST, and Romain Grosjean was the first out of the pits and onto the windier track. Contrary to the first session of the day, only a few drivers were on-circuit early on, and it was a tentative start for all.
The first incident of the session occurred fifteen minutes in, and saw Lance Stroll spinning into turn thirteen. The Canadian was unaffected, and went on to finish seventeenth.
After struggling with lockups in the earlier session, Lewis Hamilton fell victim to the tell-tale tyre stresses once more at turn thirteen- compromising his purple sector times and effectively scrapping the lap. Just seconds later, his team-mate Valtteri Bottas also had an incident on a purple lap and lost time through sector three. Both Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team drivers were certainly testing the limits in anticipation of a thrilling Qualifying tomorrow.
Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris shined at the half way mark, setting lap times good enough for third and fourth respectively. Not long after, Max Verstappen fell victim to an innocuous spin at turn fourteen- topping off a slightly lacklustre day at Sochi. The Dutchman finished the session seventh.
Traffic proved to be an issue when all cars were on track, and George Russell was one driver unhappy about this particular issue. As usual, he pushed his Williams FW43 as hard as he could but could only manage a 1:35.5 to earn him sixteenth only. His team-mate Nicholas Latifi was most likely tip-toeing around the circuit after a crash in Free Practice One rendered him unable to complete any more running, and the Canadian ended up in fifteenth place.
There was also action in the paddock as well as the track during the session, and with twenty minutes to go it was officially announced that ex-Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali would replace Chase Carey as the CEO of Formula 1. Domenicali will undertake the role on New Years Day next year.
As the session ended, it was Bottas 0.267s faster than team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes pair were eons ahead of the rest of the field in both sessions today, and it was Ricciardo who finished closest to the duo in third.
Carlos Sainz was the fastest of the two McLaren’s, and finished fourth- one place ahead of Norris. The top ten was completed by Sergio Pérez, Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel
|1||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:33.519||N/A||37|
|2||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:33.786||0.267s||33|
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Renault DP World F1 Team||1:34.577||1.058s||27|
|4||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||McLaren F1 Team||1:34.723||1.204s||36|
|5||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1:34.847||1.328s||33|
|6||11||Sergio Pérez||MEX||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||1:34.890||1.371s||35|
|7||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:35.048||1.529s||30|
|8||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:35.052||1.533s||35|
|9||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Renault DP World F1 Team||1:35.139||1.620s||28|
|10||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Scuderia Ferrari||1:35.183||1.664s||35|
|11||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:35.210||1.691s||35|
|12||23||Alexander Albon||THA||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:35.242||1.723s||31|
|13||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:35.461||1.942s||37|
|14||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:35.516||1.997s||33|
|15||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:35.563||2.044s||31|
|16||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:35.575||2.056s||30|
|17||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||1:35.627||2.108s||34|
|18||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||1:35.729||2.210s||32|
|19||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:36.053||2.534s||36|
|20||8||Romain Grosjean||FRA||Haas F1 Team||1:36.858||3.339s||32|