Ferrari will head into qualifying for the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix as favourites to claim pole position after completing a clean sweep of the event’s three practice sessions.

As was the case in Friday’s second practice session, championship leader Sebastian Vettel edged out teammate Kimi Räikkönen to go to post the fastest lap time seen so far this weekend, giving the team a 1-2 result on the session timesheets ahead of the Mercedes drivers.

The German whittled his way down to a 1:34.001 lap time during a stint on the Ultra Soft Pirelli tyres, posting a succession of fast times over the course of the run.

Räikkönen too looked tidy, finishing three-tenths of a second off his teammate’s pace to mirror his FP2 result after being the fast driver in the opening practice session.

His Finnish compatriot Valtteri Bottas was a mere fraction behind in the first of the Mercedes’, with teammate Lewis Hamilton fourth-fastest. Hamilton appeared to be right on the limit and narrowly avoided clouting the wall when his car suffered snap oversteer.

The ‘best of the rest’ honours once again went to Red Bull Racing with Max Verstappen going fifth-fastest, albeit a full 1.5 seconds off the pace of the Ferraris.

His teammate Daniel Ricciardo suffered a momentary loss of power in his RB13 which compromised his final run and left the Australian eighth-fastest behind Williams’ Felipe Massa and Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg.

Carlos Sainz Jr took his Toro Rosso ninth-fastest ahead of Kevin Magnussen, whose Haas F1 Team elected to abandon their switch to Carbon Industrie brakes and reverted to Brembo after running with the former on Friday.

The switch back to Brembo did nothing to reduce teammate Romain Grosjean’s almost constant complaints over the pit-to-car radio. The Frenchman was bitterly unhappy with the handling of his car, which lapped half a second slower than Magnussen and confined him to sixteenth-fastest overall.

Williams rookie Lance Stroll had his first hit-out on the Ultra Soft tyres this weekend and put the sticky rubber to good use by placing eleventh-quickest. The Canadian teenager was, however, still over a second slower than teammate Massa on the same tyres.

Force India teammates Esteban Ocon and Sergio Pérez were twelfth- and fifteenth-fastest in the session, sandwiching the second Toro Rosso of local driver Daniil Kvyat and Fernando Alonso, who once again led McLaren Honda’s charge.

Alonso’s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne was seventeenth on the timing screens, ahead of the two Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.

Jolyon Palmer’s troubled weekend continued, with the Englishman failing to set a time in the session. His Renault team opted to switch him to the spare chassis for the rest of the weekend, completing an overnight assembly in a marathon session for his mechanics. Unfortunately he encountered troubles with the power unit early on, forcing the team to spend the rest of the session swapping that out so he can make it out in time for qualifying later in the afternoon.

Saturday’s qualifying session at Sochi will begin at 15:00 local time (GMT +3).

Driver Team / Entry Time Tyre Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:34.001 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
2. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:34.338 Pirelli Ultra Soft 16
3. Valtteri Bottas fi Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:34.364 Pirelli Ultra Soft 20
4. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:34.542 Pirelli Ultra Soft 19
5. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:35.452 Pirelli Ultra Soft 21
6. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:35.471 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
7. Nico Hulkenberg de Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:35.662 Pirelli Ultra Soft 15
8. Daniel Ricciardo au Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:35.830 Pirelli Ultra Soft 24
9. Carlos Sainz Jr es Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:36.164 Pirelli Ultra Soft 20
10. Kevin Magnussen dk Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:36.556 Pirelli Ultra Soft 19
11. Lance Stroll ca Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:36.649 Pirelli Ultra Soft 19
12. Esteban Ocon fr Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:36.676 Pirelli Ultra Soft 22
13. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:36.846 Pirelli Ultra Soft 18
14. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MP4-31 1:36.869 Pirelli Ultra Soft 12
15. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:36.962 Pirelli Ultra Soft 21
16. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:37.164 Pirelli Ultra Soft 20
17. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda MP4-31 1:37.182 Pirelli Ultra Soft 15
18. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:37.503 Pirelli Ultra Soft 21
19. Pascal Wehrlein de Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:37.657 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
20. Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 no time Pirelli Super Soft 4

Image via Scuderia Ferrari

The following two tabs change content below.

Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.