Formula 1 may have ventured to a new venue, but it was an all too similar result in the opening practice session for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix.

Nico Rosberg led a Mercedes one-two, just 0.065 seconds ahead of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton’s session was slightly interrupted after he complained of vibrations from his car under braking. The team sorted the issue out quickly and he eventually completed 20 laps in the session, one more than Rosberg.

Jenson Button was the early pacesetter, a clear one second faster than the rest of the field after 30 minutes. He ended the session in third position and within two-tenths of Rosberg’s benchmark.

Drivers spent most of the session familiarising themselves with the 5.8km circuit, and having to deal with the lack of grip a new track provides. Button spun at Turn Eight while many drivers found themselves understeering through Turn Two.


Sergey Sirotkin debuting for Sauber

Sergey Sirotkin made his Formula 1 debut with Sauber, stepping in for Esteban Gutiérrez for the first practice session. After an initial learning curve, Sirotkin ended up four-tenths behind Adrian Sutil in the other Sauber.

Kamui Kobayashi found himself watching FP1 from the sidelines again, as Roberto Merhi made another appearance for the Caterham outfit.

Valtteri Bottas’ session ended prematurely after his tyre blankets malfunctioned and damaged his medium set of tyres, burning a hole in the blanket.

The Red Bulls seemed to struggle throughout the session, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing in twelfth position and 1.5 seconds off Rosberg’s pace. Sebastian Vettel was two places behind and over two seconds off the Mercedes pair.

The debate over track limits will be raised again, as many drivers were cutting through the second corner both while on the limit and out-braking themselves.

There is plenty of run-off area without any sausage kerbs or sleeping policemen to penalise cars for running wide, so it’s easy for drivers to take advantage of cutting a corner.

2014 Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Results:

Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W05 1:42.311 29
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W05 1:42.376 + 0.065 25
3. Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 1:42.507 + 0.196 28
4. Fernando Alonso Scuderia Ferrari F14T 1:42.720 + 0.409 27
5. Kevin Magnussen McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 1:43.026 + 0.715 28
6. Sergio Pérez Force India Mercedes Mercedes VJM07 1:43.129 + 0.818 26
7. Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR9 1:43.164 + 0.853 29
8. Kimi Räikkönen Scuderia Ferrari F14T 1:43.212 + 0.901 23
9. Jean-Éric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR9 1:43.327 + 1.016 24
10. Valtteri Bottas Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW36 1:43.542 + 1.231 9
11. Felipe Massa Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW36 1:43.741 + 1.430 22
12. Daniel Ricciardo Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB10 1:43.821 + 1.510 25
13. Nico Hülkenberg Force India Mercedes Mercedes VJM07 1:43.976 + 1.665 21
14. Sebastian Vettel Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB10 1:44.506 + 2.195 30
15. Adrian Sutil Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C33 1:44.625 + 2.314 26
16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus F1 Team Renault E22 1:44.876 + 2.565 26
17. Sergey Sirotkin Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C33 1:45.032 + 2.721 22
18. Romain Grosjean Lotus F1 Team Renault E22 1:45.190 + 2.879 25
19. Roberto Merhi Caterham F1 Team Renault CT05 1:46.782 + 4.471 18
20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham F1 Team Renault CT05 1:46.922 + 4.611 18
21. Max Chilton Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03 1:47.284 + 4.973 26

Images via XPB Images

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