The team Mercedes has dominated with authority the first day of free practice of the Russian Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas in front of Lewis hamilton, while the Spanish Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Fernando Alonso (Alpine) have started seventh and eighth, respectively, and Max verstappen (Red bull) has changed the engine and will start at the end of the grid on Sunday.
Mercedes is the historical dominator at the Sochi circuit, where he has always won in the seven previous editions of the test, and this Friday he continued his good feelings in the search for the eighth consecutive victory on the shores of the Black Sea, both for his good performance and for Verstappen’s sanction .
With the sun shining without a single cloud, before the rain that is expected to fall during the rest of the weekend, Bottas, double winner in Russia (2017 and 2020), stopped the clock at 1: 33.593. The Finn surpassed by 44 thousandths his partner from Hamilton and in third position he surprised Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri).
For his part, Verstappen did not press the accelerator fully and was confirmed with sixth position, already more than a second behind the leader, aware of the complicated weekend that awaits him. The World Cup leader He arrived in Sochi with a penalty of three places and the same what Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), will start at the tail of the grid after changing the power unit of his car.
Thus, Verstappen is bound for a great comeback on Sunday if he doesn’t want the top spot in the standings to return to Hamilton, who is five points ahead of him after the two collided with each other and dropped out in the last round in Italy.
Fourth was Lando norris (Mclaren), half a second behind Bottas, and fifth was placed Esteban Ocon (Alpine), who this time won the first pulse from Fernando Alonso, eighth to 1.1 seconds. Just ahead of the Asturian was his compatriot Carlos Sainz, who surpassed him by just 84 thousandths, while Leclerc closed the ‘Top 10’ behind Sebastian vettel (Aston martin), nineth.
Russian GP qualifying and race schedule
Saturday October 25
Free practice 3: 11.00 hours
Classification: 2:00 p.m.
Sunday October 26
Race: 2:00 p.m.