Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen has set the early pace for the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix, edging out his Finnish compatriot Valtteri Bottas in the opening Friday practice session at the Sochi Autodrom.
The duo – who both faced an uncomfortable barrage of questions from the media on Thursday over whether they would be forced into number-two roles at their respective teams – lapped significantly quicker than their respective teammates in the final reckoning.
With he and teammate Sebastian Vettel running a new turbo, Räikkönen posted a 1:36.074 on Super Soft tyres around the 5.848-kilometre circuit in the 90-minute session, edging out Bottas’ Mercedes by just 0.045 seconds.
A full six-tenths of a second slower was Bottas’ teammate Lewis Hamilton, whose fastest lap proved rather untidy and which suggested that the margin to the session’s pace-setters was rather exaggerated.
Fourth-fastest was Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and championship leader Vettel; the Ferrari driver suffered a late spin at Turn 16 after losing control of his car.
Daniel Ricciardo was sixth-quickest in the second Red Bull Racing RB13, lapping just one-tenth of a seocnd slower than Verstappen. He was followed by the Mercedes-powered trio of Force India’s Sergio Pérez and the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll.
Pérez’s teammate Esteban Ocon was tenth-fastest, although the Frenchman triggered a brief red flag during the session when part of his car’s engine cover broke off and landed on the track at Turn 2.
Local crowd favourite Daniil Kvyat was eleventh quickest in his Toro Rosso at his home Grand Prix. The Russian finished ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, who emitted plenty of brake dust following the team’s much-anticipated switch of supplier from Brembo to Carbon Industrie.
Thirteenth-quickest was Fernando Alonso in the unfancied McLaren Honda; worryingly his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne reported a loss of power in the sister MCL32 late in the session. The Belgian finished seven-tenths of a second slower than the two-time World Champion, ending the session 17th-fastest.
The pair sandwiched Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz – who was thwarted by traffic on his final run – Renault’s Jolyon Palmer and the second Haas Ferrari of Romain Grosjean.
The two Saubers of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson were slowest of all and almost four seconds off Räikkönen’s pace.
Languishing at the bottom of the timesheets was Renault’s local reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin – driving in place of Nico Hülkenberg in the session – who failed to post a time after his car struck engine trouble.
Friday’s second practice session at Sochi will begin at 15:00 local time (GMT +3).
|2017 FORMULA 1 VTB RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 1 RESULTS|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Tyre||Laps|
|1.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:36.074||19|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:36.119||24|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:36.681||23|
|4.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:37.174||19|
|5.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:37.230||19|
|6.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:37.290||19|
|7.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:37.457||29|
|8.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:37.900||29|
|9.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:37.944||30|
|10.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:38.065||28|
|11.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:38.496||17|
|12.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:38.747||23|
|13.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||1:38.813||16|
|14.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:38.976||17|
|15.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:39.158||16|
|16.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:39.533||17|
|17.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||1:39.541||19|
|18.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:39.731||21|
|19.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:40.079||20|
|20.||Sergey Sirotkin||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||no time||2|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari