Russian GP: Bottas leads Hamilton as Mercedes start strong in Practice 1

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Valtteri Bottas led Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes set a strong early pace in Practice 1 at the Russian Grand Prix.

The Finn, who is known as a specialist around the Sochi Autodrom, would post a 1m34.427s to finish two-tenths clear of his teammate.

Max Verstappen would move up to third just behind his championship rival with 15 minutes to go, as he ran a shorter, later run plan than everyone.

Charles Leclerc starts this weekend already knowing he'll start at the back of the grid as Ferrari introduce their anticipated engine upgrade, but the extra performance did allow the Monegasque to be fourth fastest.

Behind Leclerc was a seven-tenths gap to former teammate Sebastian Vettel in fifth, who had Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz within 0.03s in sixth and seventh.

Lando Norris was eighth, although did spin and make light contact with the wall entering the pits after the chequered flag, but was still almost a second quicker than Daniel Ricciardo in 14th.

Sergio Perez was ninth in the second Red Bull, as Fernando Alonso rounded out the top 10 in the Alpine.

Further down, Kimi Raikkonen returned to the track after missing the last two races due to Covid-19 and was P15.


Yuki Tsunoda was exactly two seconds behind slower than AlphaTauri teammate Gasly in P16.

After three top 10's in four races, George Russell was 17th ahead of Williams teammate Nicholas Latifi.

Finally, Nikita Mazepin, competing in his first home race, was four-tenths faster than teammate Mick Schumacher as the two Haas' brought up the field.

Full results from Practice 1 can be seen below: