Formula 1: Russian Grand Prix Practice 1 And Debut Of The Aeroscreen

By Steve Aibel, Senior F1 Writer

Nico Rosberg led the first practice session for the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, Russia.  Rosberg bested teammate Lewis Hamilton by .722 seconds during the session in which both drivers swapped the lead throughout the 90 minutes session.

Mercedes used 2 engine tokens to further the development of their fuel system and have 11 tokens left for further engine development.

Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen followed the 2 Mercedes in the timesheets. Ferrari  introduced new ICE components, using 3 engine tokens.  They also brought  a new front wing in an effort to decrease the advantage of the leading Mercedes team.

Red Bull Racing made the most headlines, running 1 installation lap with the aeroscreen cockpit protection system on the car of Daniel Ricciardo.  The dramatic system is one of two we have seen so far intended to protect open wheel drivers from debris  and parts flying loose on the track.

Red Bull also released video footage of the aeroscreen deflecting ballistics and entire wheel assemblies during tests to evaluate the effectiveness of this protection system.

The two Red Bull drivers, Ricciardo and Russian Daniil Kvyat placed 6th and 8th in the session.

The aersoscreen is the second protection system shown, the first being the Halo system introduced by Ferrari.

Felipe Massa, of Williams, was just off the pace of the Ferrari pair showing strong  speed for one of the first times this season.  Teammate Valtteri Bottas slotted in 7th during the opening practice session.  With the low degradation of the Sochi circuit, Williams may be a larger factor in this round of the championship.

Russian Sergey Sirotkin, for Renault,  was given a Free Practice 1 opportunity at his home track and out paced teammate Jolyon Palmer.

Free Practice 1 Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:38.127
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:38.849
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:39.175
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:39.332
5 Felipe Massa Williams 1:39.365
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:39.650
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:39.802
8 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:40.218
9 Sergio Perez Force India 1:40.287
10 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:40.654
11 Jenson Button McLaren 1:40.663
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:40.771
13 Sergey Sirotkin Renault 1:40.898
14 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:41.085
15 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso  1:41.134
16 Esteban Gutierrez Haas  1:41.238
17 Romain Grosjean Haas   1:41.385
18 Jolyon Palmer Renault   1:41.671
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber   1:41.962
20 Pascal Wehrlein Manor   1:42.483
21 Rio Haryanto Manor   1:42.687
22 Alfonso Celis Force India   1:43.432

Image: Red Bull Content Pool

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Growing up in a racing family, Steve Aibel was surrounded by Allards, Crosleys and Corvettes! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Steve was drawn to the automobile magazines strewn throughout the house and Formula 1 in particular. With go karts, motorcycles and vintage race cars in the garage, it was inevitable that the torch would be carried by Steve. Lime Rock Park was his own personal playground while still keeping an eye on the pinnacle of motorsports overseas called Formula 1. Now, in the shadows of Circuit of the Americas, Steve is able to not only follow F1, he makes it the object of this racing stories. This passion for Formula 1 is shared weekly writing original articles for both Tribute Racing and Drafting the Circuits. He also participates in two weekly radio shows. Drafting The Circuits, (, which airs Tuesday evening at 7 pm CST and Formula 1 Racing Plus (, which broadcasts throughout the week on Performance Motorsports Network. Steve's motorsports photography can be found at

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