Coming from Bahrain, the Formula 1 circus returned for the first time this weekend with Free Practice 1 for the Russian Grand Prix. The 90 minute long session saw a lot of action out on track, with teams testing new parts on their cars and drivers getting in as much practice as they could ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race.
Kimi Raikkonen tops Practice 1 ahead of Russian Grand Prix
Kimi Raikkonen topped the time sheet for the first practice session of the race weekend after setting a 1:36.074 on the supersoft tyre compound, completing 19 laps. Closely following Raikkonen was his fellow countryman Valtteri Bottas for Mercedes. Bottas also set his fastest lap on the supersoft tyre and was only 0.045 seconds slower than the Ferrari driver despite being faster in sectors 1 and 2, setting a 1:36.119. Bottas ultimately edged out his team mate in the session, with Lewis Hamilton ending the session in third place, 0.6 seconds slower than the fastest lap time of the session.
Max Verstappen ended the session in fourth place for Red Bull Racing, 1.1 seconds off the pace, just faster than Sebastian Vettel who was fifth fastest. Vettel experienced a fairly difficult session, being caught out by a red flag caused by Esteban Ocon and having a scruffy time towards the end of practice, spinning in sector 3. Vettel however, managed to split the two Red Bulls, with Daniel Ricciardo being sixth fastest.
Sergio Perez was the best of the rest and headed up Formula 1’s midfield pack in seventh place, only 0.1 seconds slower than Ricciardo. After setting a best lap time of a 1:37.457, Perez was considerably faster than the two Williams drivers of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll who were eighth and ninth fastest with both of their lap times being in the 1:37.9s. Esteban Ocon rounded out the top ten in the session in the second Force India, just under two seconds off the pace.
Daniil Kvyat finished the session down in 11th place for Toro Rosso in what is his home Grand Prix, followed by Kevin Magnussen who was 12th fastest in FP1 for Haas F1.
Closely following Magnussen was Fernando Alonso for McLaren, who was only 0.066 seconds slower than the Danish driver which is an encouraging time for the team that have struggled so far this season.
Carlos Sainz Jr ended the session down in 14th place in the second Toro Rosso, and was just ahead of Jolyon Palmer for Renault who was down in 15th place, being split by just over 0.1 seconds.
Romain Grosjean finished the session considerably lower than his team mate in 16th place, 0.786 seconds slower than Magnussen. Stoffel Vandoorne closely followed Grosjean in 17th place, only 0.008 seconds slower than the Frenchman.
The two Sauber drivers of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson rounded out the session in 18th in 19th place, setting the slowest laps of the session.
Sergey Sirotkin finished the session in 20th place after standing in for Nico Hulkenberg in the Renault for FP1. Sirotkin failed to set a lap in the session after stopping out on track during his first out lap and failing to restart his car.
After the first practice session of the weekend ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, the field is once again looking close in terms of performance. In the other sessions of the weekend, it will be interesting to see if Ferrari can hold onto their current performance on what should be a circuit that benefits Mercedes. It will also be interesting to see if Williams can close the gap to Force India to lead the front of the midfield this weekend.
Formula 1 returns at 13:00 GMT on April 28th for FP2 ahead of the Russian Grand Prix.
Results from Practice 1 of the Russian Grand Prix:
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:36.074
- Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:36.119
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:36.681
- Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1:37.174
- Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:37.230
- Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, 1:37.290
- Sergio Perex, Force India, 1:37.457
- Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:37.900
- Lance Stroll, Williams, 1:37.944
- Esteban Ocon, Force India, 1:38.065
- Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1:38.496
- Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1, 1:38.747
- Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:38.813
- Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 1:38.976
- Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1:39.158
- Romain Grosjean, Haas F1, 1:39.533
- Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:39.541
- Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, 1:39.731
- Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:40.079
- Sergey Sirotkin, Renault, No time