An eventful and wet start for Ferrari at Sochi

Sebastian Vettel: "Usually, you use the Friday to lay some rubber down, but that was not possible today."

The fifteenth round of the Formula 1 World Championship, the second ever Russian Grand Prix, got off to a shaky start this morning. The first free practice session had to be shortened to 60 minutes because a diesel spillage from a service vehicle had to be cleaned off the track, between turns 9 and 13. Quickest in the short time available was the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg (1.44.355,) ahead of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg (1.44.407.)

Rounding off the top three was Sebastian Vettel who took his SF15-T round in 1.44.986, while in the sister car, Kimi Raikkonen was tenth in 1.46.215 on the slippery Russian track. The Ferrari men used Intermediate tyres for their first four laps, before fitting the Soft compound tyres for their final run. The programme, shortened by half, as it was also affected by light rain with half an hour remaining, focused on electronic settings as well as practice starts and pit stops.

Vettel second for Ferrari in FP2

After a loss of track time in the first session because of a diesel spill that, despite attempts to clean it up, meant the track was in a bad state and more or less undriveable, the second free practice session in Sochi was even less productive. Rain arrived at the start and gradually intensified. Only eight drivers set times over the 90 minutes, including a second fastest time of 2.00.659 for Sebastian Vettel, who ventured out on track on the Wet tyres. He worked on some electronic settings and did a few practice starts. His Ferrari was the only one on the short time sheet, splitting the two Williams of Felipe Massa (2.00.458) and Valtteri Bottas (2.00.688.)

Kimi Raikkonen: “Today the weather conditions were not very nice, we could not get much running and we learned pretty much nothing. The first practice was dry, but at the beginning of the session there was an issue with the tarmac surface and they had to wash it away. So we lost time and when we got to the track some parts were still wet. In the second session, the weather turned out to be a bit tricky and it rained most of the time. It’s one of those days you do absolutely nothing but that’s how it goes. It was not ideal today but it was the same for everybody. Hopefully tomorrow it will be dry, and we’ll see how the tires work. We’ll do our normal program and try to make the best out of it.”

Sebastian Vettel: “Today we did learn a few things, but nothing that we can really use for the weekend. The first impression of the car is good, but I can’t really say a lot more as we really didn’t get enough track action today. This morning we couldn’t drive much as some of the corners were covered with Diesel fuel, and it took a while to clean it all up. In the afternoon it started raining, but tomorrow and Sunday it is supposed to be dry! In general, it won’t be easy to get into the right rhythm, as the track tomorrow will feel the same like… yesterday. That is, green and with poor grip. Usually, you use the Friday to lay some rubber down, but that was not possible today.”

Scuderia Ferrari


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Russian GP
Sub-event Friday practice 2
Track Sochi Autodrom
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen , Sebastian Vettel
Teams Ferrari
Article type Practice report