Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg has put in a late flying lap to steal top position away from Nico Rosberg in a disrupted first practice session for the Russian Grand Prix.
The delay in the session was due to a substantial diesel spill between Turns 6 and 10, which was scrubbed off with the help from the hose of a fire engine. This meant that no one was able to run in the first 30 minutes of practice, and that the free appointed tyres used in that time could not be used.
The session got underway with an hour left to run, and the drivers completed their installation laps using the intermediate compound tyre. Valtteri Bottas was the only driver to choose the full wets, as a large portion of the track was still drying from the clean-up.
After a bit of a lull where there was little track action, Fernando Alonso took to the circuit on Intermediates and was the first driver to make the switch to the soft tyre. Just like everyone on the wet-weather tyres, Alonso tentatively made his way around the green track, as the mess from the clean-up was still present.
Many drivers were caught out by the lack of grip, especially at Turn Eight, including Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen who spun as a result of the slippery conditions.
The last eight minutes of the session saw almost every driver hit the evolving track, where Sebastian Vettel posted the fastest time of a 1:45.491. Lewis Hamilton came close in the closing stages as he was just two-tenths of a second slower than the four-time World Champion.
Hamilton was able to improve to close the gap to 0.7 seconds, but Hülkenberg split the two by slotting into second position by a tenth of a second.
Nico Rosberg then jumped to the top of the table on his final attempt as teammate Hamilton spun on the penultimate corner, until Hülkenberg responded once the chequered flag dropped going fastest by 0.052 seconds.
Marcus Ericsson’s engine cut out at the end of pit lane when attempting a practice start and was left to get the marshals to push his Sauber back to the garage. He finished the session down in 19th position ahead of Will Stevens.
Friday’s second practice session at Sochi begins at 14:00 local time (GMT +3).
|2015 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B||1:44.355||11|
|2.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:44.407||+ 0.052||15|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:44.986||+ 0.631||15|
|4.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B||1:45.146||+ 0.791||11|
|5.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:45.233||+ 0.878||10|
|6.||Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:45.488||+ 1.133||13|
|7.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:45.691||+ 1.336||10|
|8.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:45.746||+ 1.391||13|
|9.||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:46.203||+ 1.848||13|
|10.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:46.215||+ 1.860||16|
|11.||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:46.231||+ 1.876||12|
|12.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:46.333||+ 1.978||12|
|13.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:46.747||+ 2.392||13|
|14.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:47.443||+ 3.088||16|
|15.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||1:48.006||+ 3.651||9|
|16.||Daniil Kvyat||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:48.096||+ 3.741||9|
|17.||Jolyon Palmer||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||1:49.094||+ 4.739||9|
|18.||Roberto Merhi||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B||1:52.994||+ 8.639||12|
|19.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:54.272||+ 9.917||12|
|20.||Will Stevens||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B||1:58.254||+ 13.899||6|
Image via XPB Images
Image via Force India F1 Team