Valtteri Bottas destroyed the competition in FP1 for the Russian GP as Carlos Sainz lost a wing and Nicholas Latifi brought out the red flags.
Spicing things up for the Russian Grand Prix, Pirelli arrived at the circuit with its softest range of tyres in the hope of creating a two-stop race with a bit of degradation. Mother Nature signed up for her part, upping the temperature compared to previous seasons.
Max Verstappen, powered by a brand new Honda engine, was the first man out, doing an installation lap to check everything was in order before heading back to the pits without a time.
Mercedes was quickly into the action with Lewis Hamilton clocking a 1:37.7 on the medium tyres while Valtteri Bottas did a 1:37.3.
The 1-2, though, didn’t last long as the rest of the field left the pits to begin their morning programmes.
Russian driver Daniil Kvyat hit the front with a 1:37.1 with Sergio Perez, who doesn’t have Racing Point’s upgrades, second quickest ahead of Bottas and Kevin Magnussen.
Verstappen, on the medium tyres, took over at the front with a 1:36.7 with his former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo up to second in the Renault.
Tricky moment for Daniel Ricciardo as he runs wide ?
But the Australian has impressed so far
He is top of the time sheets early on in FP1 with a 1:36.852 ⏱️#RussianGP ?? #F1 pic.twitter.com/zRgxTkFY16
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 25, 2020
However, Mercedes’ swap to the faster soft tyres changed the make up of the timesheet.
Bottas hit the front with a 1:34.9, 1.6s on Perez with Verstappen a further two-tenths down.
Carlos Sainz brought out the first yellow flag as he got it wrong at Turn 7, spun his McLaren and hit the barrier damaging his rear wing.
The Spaniard limped back to the pits leaving behind a few pieces of wing on his way. That became a Virtual Safety Car as the marshals picked up pieces of wing.
— Ky (@FiftyBucksss) September 25, 2020
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The drivers all went back into the pits with Antonio Giovinazzi the only one without a time on the board at the 40-minute mark. He had, however, covered six laps.
Hamilton was the first back out when the drivers were given the green light, the championship leader leaving the pits on a set of hard tyres.
The Brit had a lock up that caused a flat spot. He reported that “these tyres are done”.
Bottas left the pits on a new set of mediums and he too had a bit of a lock up, although he managed to run down a small escape road, avoiding a massive flat spot.
As others left the pits the session was red flagged with Nicholas Latifi putting his Williams into the barrier. “I crashed,” he said.
He ran a bit too wide at Turn 10, lost the back end of his Williams and hit the barrier with the rear of the car before slamming back into it with the left side of the FW43.
Oh Nicholas, but he's ok. pic.twitter.com/NWr9N2K7aL
— Ky (@FiftyBucksss) September 25, 2020
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Adding to the drama, a fire extinguisher went off by itself at the back of the Red Bull garage.
The session resumed with 27 minutes on the clock and Verstappen on the soft tyres. He leapt up to second place but was still 0.6s down on Bottas’ best.
Romain Grosjean added to the incident list with a spin at Turn 13 before Ricciardo slotted into second, 0.5s off the pace.
Verstappen and Pierre Gasly were both left swearing at the traffic.
The session ended with Bottas quickest ahead of Ricciardo, Verstappen, Perez, Lance Stroll and Ocon.
Kvyat, Alex Albon, Sebastian Vettel and Gasly completed the top ten.
Hands off Liverpool, Seb's an Eintracht Frankfurt fan. #F1 pic.twitter.com/K8GdPxprSF
— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) September 25, 2020
Hamilton was P19 as he focused on race pace on the hard tyres.
1Valtteri BottasMercedes1:34.923 soft
2Daniel RicciardoRenault0.507s soft
3Max VerstappenRed Bull0.654 soft
4Sergio PerezRacing Point0.873s soft
5Lance StrollRacing Point1.042s soft
6Esteban OconRenault1.138s soft
7Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri1.307s medium
8Alex AlbonRed Bull1.331s soft
9Sebastian VettelFerrari1.400s medium
10Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri1.783s medium
11Charles LeclercFerrari1.973s soft
12Carlos SainzMcLaren2.047s medium
13Lando NorrisMcLaren2.187s soft
14Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing2.278s soft
15Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo Racing2.307s soft
16Kevin MagnussenHaas2.507s soft
17George RussellWilliams2.672s soft
18Romain GrosjeanHaas2.726s medium
19Lewis HamiltonMercedes2.793s hard
20Nicholas LatifiWilliams2.861s soft
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