Bottas sets the Russian GP pace in Sochi

Bottas sets the Russian GP pace in Sochi


After topping the timesheets in the morning, Valtteri Bottas continued to lead the way in the second practice for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by the narrow margin of four hundredths of a second. Meanwhile, championship leader Max Verstappen opted to take a fresh power unit and will thus start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid. The Red Bull driver finished the session in sixth place.

With heavy rain expected to cause disruption on Saturday the session got off to a busy start with Alfa Romeo’s returning Kimi Raikkonen posting the first time of the session, a lap of 1:37.019, on the medium tyres. He was soon bounced out of top spot by AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and then Ferrar’s Carlos Sainz both of whom also used medium tyres.

Charles Leclerc then used the soft tyres to go quickest with a lap of 1:35.508 before Bottas jumped to the top of the order with a medium-tyre lap of 1:35.298s. Leclerc reclaimed P1 but as the session reached the quarter-hour mark Alpine’s Fernando Alonso posted a lap of 1:34.762 to rise to P1.

Five minutes later Verstappen and both Mercedes drivers emerged on softs for their qualifying simulations.

Bottas’ 1:33.593 vaulted him back to top spot but Verstappen’s lap was well off the pace and ended up more than a second adrift of the Mercedes driver. Hamilton ran quicker than his team-mate in the opening sector but his pace ebbed marginally over the remainder of the lap and he finished with a best time of 1:33.637, 0.044s behind the Finn.

After the qualifying simulations teams once again switched to long runs but those were interrupted when Alfa Romeo’s Giovinazzi crashed. The Italian got on the astroturf in Turn 8 and spun backwards into the barriers causing significant damage to the rear of his car. The Alfa Romeo driver tried to limp back to the pit lane but he was quickly ordered to pull over by engineers as he scattered debris across the track.

The red flags were shown and running was halted for 10 minutes. Teams then resumed long runs as the remainder of the session was given over to data gathering.

Pierre Gasly took third place for AlphaTauri with McLaren’s Lando Norris three tenths off the French driver in fourth place. Gasly’s session ended early, however, as his front wing broke when he ran over the sausage kerb at the exit of Turn 2 in the closing minutes of the session. Esteban Ocon was fifth for Alpine ahead of Verstappen, while Carlos Sainz was seventh for Ferrari ahead of the second Alpine of Fernando Alonso. Sebastian Vettel took ninth place for Aston Martin and the top 10 was rounded out by Leclerc.

2021 FIA Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix - Free Practice 2

1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:33.593 19 224.939

2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.637 0.044 22 224.834

3 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:33.845 0.252 22 224.335

4 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:34.154 0.561 17 223.599

5 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:34.402 0.809 23 223.012

6 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:34.621 1.028 20 222.496

7 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:34.678 1.085 22 222.362

8 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1:34.762 1.169 21 222.165

9 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:34.837 1.244 22 221.989

10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:34.925 1.332 24 221.783

11 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda 1:34.938 1.345 22 221.753

12 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:35.052 1.459 23 221.487

13 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:35.094 1.501 19 221.389

14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:35.178 1.585 15 221.193

15 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:35.334 1.741 21 220.832

16 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:35.411 1.818 19 220.653

17 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1:35.630 2.037 12 220.148

18 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Honda 1:35.954 2.361 23 219.405

19 Nikita Mazepin Haas/Ferrari 1:36.099 2.506 19 219.074

20 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1:36.230 2.637 20 218.775

Related Motorsport Articles

84,554 articles