Grand Prix practice results: Bottas fastest in Sochi F1

Valtteri Bottas was fastest on the opening day of Russian Grand Prix practice at Sochi on Friday, the 15th round of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship season.

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Bottas was fastest in both FP1 and FP2, twice beating his reigning world champion Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton around a track where he's always excelled.

Russian Grand Prix FP1 results: Bottas fastest from Hamilton

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 25 1'34.427     222.953
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 23 1'34.638 0.211 0.211 222.456
3 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 13 1'34.654 0.227 0.016 222.418
4 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 22 1'35.117 0.690 0.463 221.335
5 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 23 1'35.781 1.354 0.664 219.801
6 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 24 1'35.794 1.367 0.013 219.771
7 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 25 1'35.811 1.384 0.017 219.732
8 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 24 1'35.959 1.532 0.148 219.393
9 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 22 1'36.188 1.761 0.229 218.871
10 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 21 1'36.225 1.798 0.037 218.787
11 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 25 1'36.236 1.809 0.011 218.762
12 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 21 1'36.522 2.095 0.286 218.114
13 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 23 1'36.795 2.368 0.273 217.498
14 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 23 1'36.877 2.450 0.082 217.314
15 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 20 1'36.952 2.525 0.075 217.146
16 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 26 1'37.794 3.367 0.842 215.277
17 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 23 1'38.013 3.586 0.219 214.795
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 21 1'38.155 3.728 0.142 214.485
19 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 22 1'38.586 4.159 0.431 213.547
20 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 23 1'38.977 4.550 0.391 212.703

What happened in Free Practice 1?

Red Bull's Max Verstappen set the benchmark fastest time on soft-compound tyres at 1m35.616s just before the halfway point, quickly beaten by Bottas on 1m34.427s – which remained as the fastest time of the session.

Hamilton got within 0.211s of Bottas on his first flying lap on the softs. Verstappen went again near the end on fresh softs, lowering his time to 1m34.654s by setting the fastest middle sector, just 0.016s slower than Hamilton overall.

Charles Leclerc was best of the rest for Ferrari, 0.690s off the pace, ahead of Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Lando Norris (McLaren). Norris suffered a bizarre incident when he half spun as he returned to the pits.

Sergio Perez was ninth in the second Red Bull, with Fernando Alonso’s Alpine rounding out the top 10.

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Russian Grand Prix FP2 results: Bottas fastest from Hamilton

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 19 1'33.593     224.939
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 22 1'33.637 0.044 0.044 224.834
3 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 22 1'33.845 0.252 0.208 224.335
4 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 17 1'34.154 0.561 0.309 223.599
5 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 23 1'34.402 0.809 0.248 223.012
6 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 20 1'34.621 1.028 0.219 222.496
7 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 22 1'34.678 1.085 0.057 222.362
8 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 21 1'34.762 1.169 0.084 222.165
9 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 22 1'34.837 1.244 0.075 221.989
10 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 24 1'34.925 1.332 0.088 221.783
11 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 22 1'34.938 1.345 0.013 221.753
12 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 23 1'35.052 1.459 0.114 221.487
13 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 19 1'35.094 1.501 0.042 221.389
14 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 15 1'35.178 1.585 0.084 221.193
15 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 21 1'35.334 1.741 0.156 220.832
16 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 19 1'35.411 1.818 0.077 220.653
17 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 12 1'35.630 2.037 0.219 220.148
18 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 23 1'35.954 2.361 0.324 219.405
19 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 19 1'36.099 2.506 0.145 219.074
20 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 20 1'36.230 2.637 0.131 218.775

What happened in Free Practice 2?

In FP2, Leclerc set the initial soft-tyre pace, beating his morning time with 1m34.925s, while the frontrunners lapped on mediums from the start. Alonso topped his fastest lap with 1m34.762s after 15 minutes.

Hamilton mowed down his front jack man in a practice pitstop, apologizing and admitting that his ‘brake magic’ button – which puts almost all the brake bias to the front wheels – was engaged by mistake.

Bottas lapped in 1m33.593s, taking over P1 a second clear of Verstappen – who will start from the back of the grid on Sunday after taking a new power unit, and therefore was unlikely to be doing any low-fuel runs. Hamilton then took P2, 0.044s off his teammate, with Norris rising to third, half a second off the Mercs.

Also during the session, Verstappen complained of difficulty passing cars on the straights.

Gasly then took third, getting to within a quarter of a second of the Mercedes duo, just before a red flag for Antonio Giovinazzi, who spun his Alfa Romeo into the wall at Turn 9. Leclerc had previously suffered a spin there without hitting anything.

Gasly lost his front wing in the closing moments of the session after smashing it against the kerb at Turn 2.

Ocon ended the session fifth quickest, ahead of Verstappen, Sainz, Alonso, Vettel, Leclerc and Perez.

After a day of dry running, rain is forecast for the rest of the weekend and could disrupt Saturday's qualifying.

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