Russian GP: Bottas heads incident-filled first practice

Valtteri Bottas topped a disrupted opening practice session at Formula 1's 2020 Russian Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton ending up 19th after his run on the softest tyres was interrupted.

Russian GP: Bottas heads incident-filled first practice

Although the times at the top of the table changed little, the session featured several spins and crashes – with Williams driver Nicholas Latifi's accident bringing out the red flags – as the drivers got up to speed in Sochi.

Unusually, the Mercedes pair claimed the top spots during the early installation running as they opted to head out at the start of the session instead of waiting in their garages, with Hamilton setting the initial pace at 1m37.313s before Bottas arrived and improved the top spot by 0.403s.

After a lull in action of over 10 minutes, the pack gradually headed back out to complete more laps on the medium and hard rubber – with Sergio Perez, Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo all enjoying brief spells in first place.

Just before the opening half hour of the 90-minute session had been completed, Verstappen went quickest with 1m36.751s on the mediums, as the Mercedes pair took to the track on the softs.

Bottas used the red walled rubber to set a new quickest time at 1m34.923s, which remained as the fastest time for the rest of the session as the first of two major disruptions occurred shortly afterwards.

Hamilton did not get to set his soft tyre lap as Carlos Sainz lost the rear of his McLaren after putting his left-side wheels onto the outside kerbs approaching the Turn 7 left-hander and he spun off, hitting the barriers backwards and breaking his rear wing.

Sainz toured his damaged car back to the pits, with Kvyat then spinning his AlphaTauri and the slow and tight left of Turn 15 early in the third sector, the virtual safety car was the activated.

Once the cars were allowed back to full speed, the Mercedes pair switched back to the harder rubber and both had off-track moments.

Hamilton locked up briefly but dramatically going into the race overtaking spot at Turn 2 at the session's halfway point, quickly cutting across the runoff area and then declaring his tyres were "done", while a few minutes later Bottas locked up and went deep at the Turn 13 right – where Sainz had his enormous accident at the same event in 2015.

At the 53-minute mark, Latifi lost the rear of his Williams going through Turn 10, the 90-degree right that runs onto the track's long acceleration zone leading to the big stop at Turn 13, and he spun off backwards at high-speed.

Unlike Sainz's incident, Latifi's car was buried in the barriers and the session had to be stopped for nine-minutes while it was recovered.

The teams took different approaches to the session's final third, with Red Bull sending Verstappen out on the softs to claim second with 25 minutes to go before he was later deposed by Ricciardo five minutes later, while Mercedes stuck to data gathering on the harder rubber.

Perez ended up fourth ahead of his Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll and Renault's Esteban Ocon.

Kvyat finished seventh, with Alex Albon, Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10.

Charles Leclerc, who cut the Turn 2 runoff shortly after the Sainz crash when he turned in ahead of Romain Grosjean, with the Ferrari driver saying his Haas rival "thought we were in a race", finished 11th in the second Ferrari.

Sainz finished 12th in the standings ahead of his teammate Lando Norris, but only completed eight laps as a result of his incident, after which he did not return to the track.

Russell and Grosjean both had offs at Turn 15, with Russell locking up in a similarly dramatic way to Bottas and going deep, while the Haas driver spun going through the right-hander shortly after Verstappen had set his fastest time of the session.

They ended up 17th and 18th ahead of Hamilton and Latifi.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 13 1'34.923  
2 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Renault 22 1'35.430 0.507
3 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 22 1'35.577 0.654
4 Mexico Sergio Perez Racing Point 23 1'35.796 0.873
5 Canada Lance Stroll Racing Point 21 1'35.965 1.042
6 France Esteban Ocon Renault 23 1'36.061 1.138
7 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri 22 1'36.230 1.307
8 Thailand Alex Albon Red Bull 24 1'36.254 1.331
9 Germany Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 23 1'36.323 1.400
10 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 25 1'36.706 1.783
11 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 23 1'36.896 1.973
12 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren 8 1'36.970 2.047
13 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 28 1'37.110 2.187
14 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 17 1'37.201 2.278
15 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 23 1'37.230 2.307
16 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas 22 1'37.430 2.507
17 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 24 1'37.595 2.672
18 France Romain Grosjean Haas 24 1'37.649 2.726
19 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 18 1'37.716 2.793
20 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 11 1'37.784 2.861
shares
comments

Related video

McLaren could race new nose in Russian GP
Previous article

McLaren could race new nose in Russian GP

Next article

Renault could use filming day for Alonso test

Renault could use filming day for Alonso test
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.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
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