Mercedes showed their usual pace around Sochi in the first practice session for the Russian Grand Prix. Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton headed the the times in their W12s. However Max Verstappen was just two-tenths away from the pace in his Red Bull.
Regarding Scuderia Ferrari’s engine upgrade, the Maranello team had to put it in Charles Leclerc’s car mainly due to the problems at Monza. But the full power will not be available already in Sochi for reliability reasons. It will only have 8 horsepower more than the old engine.
Charles Leclerc’s best effort on the soft tyres (1m35.117s) in the first free practice session at Sochi Autodrom put him ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly, the Ferrari driver being nearly seven tenths off Valtteri Bottas’ mark. Charles Leclerc was therefore the only driver outside the big three to be anywhere near those top times. Teammate Carlos Sainz finished in P7, with a best lap time of 1m35.811s, a further seven tenths back as compared to the Monegasque drier.
Scuderia Ferrari, like many other teams, focused mainly on doing long runs, because of the long-term weather forecast: there is due to be a lot of rain tomorrow, which means the qualifying session will most likely take place in wet conditions, but the race on Sunday in dry conditions. Friday practice is therefore the best opportunity to test the tyres and identify the ideal set-up on a dry track.
Russian Grand Prix – Here are the complete results from free practice one ahead of this weekend’s 2021 F1 World Championship race at Sochi.
Valtteri Bottas Mercedes – 1:34.427
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.211
Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing +0.227
Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari +0.690
Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin +1.354
Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +1.367
Carlos Sainz Scuderia Ferrari +1.384
Lando Norris McLaren +1.532
Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing +1.761
Fernando Alonso Alpine +1.798
Esteban Ocon Alpine +1.809
Lance Stroll Aston Martin +2.095
Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo +2.368
Daniel Ricciardo McLaren +2.450
Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo +2.525
Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri +3.367
George Russell Williams Racing +3.586
Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing +3.728
Nikita Mazepin Haas +4.159
Mick Schumacher Haas +4.550