Russian GP: Hamilton leads Bottas by seven tenths in FP3

Lewis Hamilton beat Valtteri Bottas to the top spot in final practice for Formula 1’s 2020 Russian Grand Prix, ahead of McLaren driver Carlos Sainz and Renault’s Esteban Ocon.

Russian GP: Hamilton leads Bottas by seven tenths in FP3

Max Verstappen showed pace to trouble the Mercedes drivers but did not complete his final qualifying simulation run for Red Bull. 

Daniel Ricciardo finished 10th after setting the second and third fastest times in the two Friday practice sessions as a bizarre mirror issue appeared to cost him time on his final lap. 

At the start of the one hour session, Lando Norris established the early benchmark at 1m36.423s on the medium tyres as he toured around the Sochi Autodrom solo in the opening minutes before most of the pack then emerged to set the initial qualifying simulation runs on the soft tyres. 

Bottas was the first Mercedes driver to attempt a lap, but he had to abandon his initial effort after turning in with his left-side wheels on the kerbs at Turn 7, missing the apex and going deep and then off the track beyond the fast right-hander.  

But Bottas went for another lap at the end of his abandoned tour and took the top spot with a 1m35.183s – still setting what was then the fastest third sector despite his tyres having done an extra lap. 

Hamilton also had an off-track moment on his first run – after both Mercedes drivers had had trouble staying on the low-grip asphalt on Friday – as he ran wide and got caught on the large orange kerb beyond Turn 7, with his left-front tyre appearing to hang in the air as he rubbed along the raised track limits deterrent.  

Pierre Gasly briefly took the top spot with a 1m34.930s on his first soft tyre run, but a few moments later Bottas blasted back to P1 with 1m34.289s on his next set of softs, with Hamilton then using his own second set to go second at that stage, 0.2s slower than his team-mate. 

Verstappen did not set a timed lap until halfway through the session, but when he did he split the Mercedes cars, just 0.017s adrift of the top spot. 

After a brief lull in action, Bottas took his latest set of softs and improved the P1 benchmark to 1m34.055s. 

But Hamilton seized control with his full run – despite appearing to go slightly deep at Turn 2 at the end of the main straight – as he set rapid pace in the second and third sectors to take P1 with a 1m33.29s. 

Sainz jumped to third on his final qualifying simulation run, but Verstappen was poised to improve as he set the fastest time of the session in the opening sector with eight minutes remaining. 

But the Red Bull lost time early in the second sector and he abandoned his lap, ending up shuffled down to sixth by Ocon and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez. 

Sebastian Vettel put his Ferrari seventh despite running very wide out of the final corner late on, asking his team to check his car for damage, with Lance Stroll and Daniil Kvyat taking eighth and ninth. 

Ricciardo had gone fractionally quicker than Ocon in the first sector, but as his final lap wore on he began reaching out of his cockpit to adjust his right-side mirror, which was twisting on its carbonfibre arm as he raced around the track. 

The Australian driver lost time as the lap wore on, with the mirror continuing to bounce around, and although he jumped up from P16 he finished 10th in the final standings.  

Several drivers had additional off-track moments – including Gasly (who finished 11th) and Romain Grosjean (P14) spinning at the slower left of Turn 15 after their cars were unsettled on a bump, which also caught out Alex Albon although he stayed pointing in the right direction.  

Albon wound up 19th in the final classification after cutting across the kerbs at Turn 2 on his final flying lap, which is a track limits offence that cost him a spot in the top 10. 

Norris brought up the rear of the field after abandoning his final flying run.

Russian GP - FP3 results:

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 16 1'33.279  
2 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 19 1'34.055 0.776
3 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren 17 1'34.096 0.817
4 France Esteban Ocon Renault 13 1'34.239 0.960
5 Mexico Sergio Perez Racing Point 14 1'34.252 0.973
6 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 11 1'34.306 1.027
7 Germany Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 14 1'34.594 1.315
8 Canada Lance Stroll Racing Point 13 1'34.732 1.453
9 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri 14 1'34.768 1.489
10 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Renault 12 1'34.787 1.508
11 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 12 1'34.792 1.513
12 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 14 1'34.806 1.527
13 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 16 1'34.979 1.700
14 France Romain Grosjean Haas 14 1'35.257 1.978
15 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 14 1'35.292 2.013
16 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas 14 1'35.451 2.172
17 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 15 1'35.590 2.311
18 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 15 1'35.599 2.320
19 Thailand Alex Albon Red Bull 14 1'35.603 2.324
20 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 17 1'35.981 2.702
shares
comments
The upgrades Ferrari brought after hitting 'rock bottom'
Previous article

The upgrades Ferrari brought after hitting 'rock bottom'

Next article

Norris to race with new McLaren F1 nose concept

Norris to race with new McLaren F1 nose concept
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021