RECAP: Bottas quickest in FP1 at Sochi

Formula One – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Italian GP 2021. Valtteri Bottas. Credits: Daimler.

Valtteri Bottas tops the timesheets of the opening practice session of the Russian GP.

Formula 1 had its first session at Sochi Autodrom of the weekend on Friday.

The green flag was out at the pit lane exit and the drivers rushed to get to the track. The weather was a big talking point ahead of the race weekend, but the sun was out at the start of the session.

Lewis Hamilton was the early pacesetter in the practice, followed by Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc. However, lap times were progressing and the Mercedes driver lost the lead quickly to Leclerc.

Sochi Autodrom suits Valtteri Bottas well and he showed that by beating Leclerc’s time by nearly three-tenths of a second on hard tires. Max Verstappen hit the track after a slight absence and his first flying lap was enough to get to 4th. The Dutchman kept going and set the new fastest lap.

The battle between Mercedes and Red Bull Racing continued as both Bottas and Verstappen improved their lap times – the Finn got ahead, while the Dutchman was not happy with the battery charge.

A brief Virtual Safety Car was deployed to remove debris at the pit lane exit in the second half of the session. After that, the drivers kept exploring the track and setting more lap times.

The situation upfront had not changed significantly as Bottas remained in the lead in FP1. Hamilton was second, while Verstappen completed the top 3.

The results of the Formula 1 Russian GP FP1:

1Valtteri BottasMercedes1:34.427
2Lewis Hamilton Mercedes+0.211
3Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing+0.227
4Charles LeclercFerrari+0.690
5Sebastian VettelAston Martin+1.354
6Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri+1.367
7Carlos SainzFerrari+1.384
8Lando NorrisMcLaren+1.532
9Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing+1.761
10Fernando AlonsoAlpine+1.798
11Esteban OconAlpine+1.809
12Lance StrollAston Martin+2.095
13Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing+2.368
14Daniel RicciardoMcLaren+2.450
15Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo Racing+2.525
16Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri+3.367
17George RussellWilliams+3.586
18Nicholas LatifiWilliams+3.728
19Nikita MazepinHaas+4.159
20Mick SchumacherHaas+4.550
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