FP1: Vettel heads opening session in Sochi

Published on 28 Sep 2018 11:30

Sebastian Vettel has topped the first practice session in Russia, setting a best lap time of 1:34.488 The German will be hoping to take the spoils this weekend as he looks into eating away at Lewis Hamilton's championship lead. 

Red Bull will be encouraged by its early pace, as Max Verstappen ended the session just half a tenth of a second behind Vettel. However, Daniel Ricciardo's session was less impressive, as he was forced to take off his helmet early as his car was hit with issues.

Both Red Bull's will start the race from towards the back of the field as they revert to Renault's 'spec B' engine. Smoke was spotted billowing from the rear of Ricciardo's car as he came back into the pits after a run, but Ricciardo says that the mechanic's extensive work on the following the smoke was just a precaution.

Mercedes ended the session in third and fourth, with championship leader Lewis Hamilton leading his teammate Valtteri Bottas. Ricciardo ended up behind the Silver Arrows duo.

Esteban Ocon showed impressive pace in his Force India, finishing the session ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in seventh place. Kevin Magnussen, who was confirmed as a Haas driver for 2019 this morning, set the eighth fastest time of the ninety-minute session.

Nico Hulkenberg was ninth, however Renault came over the radio towards the end of the session telling the German that there was an issue with the car. Behind Hulkenberg in P10 was Antonio Giovinazzi in the Sauber, who will line-up full time for the Swiss squad next year.

Giovinazzi was the only junior free practice driver that managed to get inside the top ten. Lando Norris, who will race with McLaren alongside Carlos Sainz next year was P13, and was lucky to avoid the barriers after a spin early in the session.

Artem Markelov was P15 in the Renault, ahead of the outgoing McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne and Force India's Nicolas Latifi, who took over Sergio Perez's car for the morning outing.

28 September 2018 - Grand Prix of Russia - Free practice 1
  Driver Team Time Difference #
1. DE Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:34.488 19
2. NL Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:34.538 +0.050 22
3. GB Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.818 +0.330 23
4. FI Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:34.999 +0.511 28
5. AU Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:35.524 +1.036 11
6. FR Esteban Ocon Racing Point Force India 1:35.663 +1.175 24
7. FI Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:35.696 +1.208 19
8. DK Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 1:36.196 +1.708 21
9. DE Nico Hülkenberg Renault 1:36.274 +1.786 18
10. IT Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber 1:36.712 +2.224 22
11. FR Romain Grosjean Haas F1 1:36.816 +2.328 23
12. FR Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:36.944 +2.456 25
13. GB Lando Norris McLaren 1:37.022 +2.534 25
14. MC Charles Leclerc Sauber 1:37.054 +2.566 24
15. RU Artem Markelov Renault 1:37.183 +2.695 22
16. BE Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:37.187 +2.699 27
17. CA Nicholas Latifi Racing Point Force India 1:37.206 +2.718 24
18. RU Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:37.225 +2.737 25
19. NZ Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:37.944 +3.456 28
20. CA Lance Stroll Williams 1:39.137 +4.649 13
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