Photo: FIA

Bottas Continues to Set the Pace in Sochi


Valtteri Bottas once again went quickest at the Sochi Autodrom, with the Finn beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by almost three tenths of a second in second practice as his good start to the Russian Grand Prix weekend continued. Third place in the session went to Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Bottas topped the opening practice session in the morning and in the afternoon session he was quickly back at the sharp end of the timesheet taking P2 behind Hamilton on hard tires in the early running as he lapped on the hard compound Pirelli tire while his team-mate ran on mediums.

The Finn then moved to soft compound tires and claimed top spot with a lap of 1:33.883 before Hamilton jumped ahead of him with what would ultimately be his best lap of the session, a 1:33.786.

The pair then opted for a second run on the soft tires and this time Bottas showed better pace, though largely in the first two sectors. There he was almost seven tenths of a second quicker than championship leader Hamilton but a ragged final sector lost Bottas half a second.

Hamilton’s lap also featured a mistake and though he was 0.7s up on his own benchmark from earlier he locked up heavily at Turn 13 and had to abandon the lap.

Despite Bottas’ scruff final sector he ended the session with a best time of 1:33.519, 0.267s ahead of his teammate.

Ricciardo slotted into third place, 1.058s behind Bottas’s best, while Carlos Sainz was fourth ahead of McLaren team-mate Lando Norris.

Sergio Pérez was sixth in a Racing Point missing a suite of upgrades that featured on team-mate Lance Stroll’s car. The Canadian found the going tough on the slippery track, however, and ended the session in a lowly 17th place.

It was a tricky day too for Red Bull Racing. Max Verstappen finished in P7 but might have claimed a better position. The Dutchman went for a second qualifying run on soft tires but lost the rear of his RB16 at the exit of Turn 14 and spun. He was able to regain control and carry on but was forced to settle for seventh ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who edged Renault’s Esteban Ocon for eighth place. Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top 10 in the second Ferrari.

2020 FIA Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:33.519 37 225.117
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.786 0.267 33 224.477
3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:34.577 1.058 27 222.599
4 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1:34.723 1.204 36 222.256
5 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1:34.847 1.328 33 221.965
6 Sergio Pérez Racing Point/Mercedes 1:34.890 1.371 35 221.865
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:35.048 1.529 30 221.496
8 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:35.052 1.533 35 221.487
9 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:35.139 1.620 28 221.284
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:35.183 1.664 35 221.182
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:35.210 1.691 35 221.119
12 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1:35.242 1.723 31 221.045
13 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 1:35.461 1.942 37 220.538
14 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:35.516 1.997 33 220.411
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:35.563 2.044 31 220.302
16 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:35.575 2.056 30 220.275
17 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1:35.627 2.108 34 220.155
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:35.729 2.210 32 219.920
19 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:36.053 2.534 36 219.178
20 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:36.858 3.339 32 217.357

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