F1: Hamilton Stomps Field; Mercedes Fastest in Early Russian Grand Prix Practice

RaceChaser Staff Featured, Formula One, International, Sprints & Midgets 0 Comments

SOCHI, Russia – official release — Mercedes photo — Russia, meet Mercedes.

The Silver Arrows dominated practice at the Sochi Autodrom on Friday, with Nico Rosberg pacing opening practice and teammate Lewis Hamilton owning the top spot on the overall practice sheets after a blazing lap in second practice pulped the opposition ahead of Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix.

Hamilton was the only man to break into the 1:39 range and ended the second practice session more than eight tenths clear of the chasing pack.

Hamilton’s surge came as the field switched onto the yellow-marked soft tire in the second practice. He first ran a 1:39.817, then cut that to 1:39.630. Teammate Nico Rosberg, who had earlier been fastest on the hard tire with 1:41.508, made a mistake and ran wide on the best of his own flying laps and was left in fourth place at 1:40.542 after his soft-tire runs.

Between them McLaren showed some strength as rookie Kevin Magnussen jumped to second at 1:40.494, albeit .864 of a second down on Hamilton. Fernando Alonso made a big improvement in the final half hour to finish third for Ferrari after several laps on the soft tire, with 1:40.504.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas recovered from a tire blanket malfunction in the morning practice to slot into fifth overall at 1:40.573 – three hundredths of a second down on Rosberg and fractions ahead of Jenson Button, who timed in at 1:40.718 in the second McLaren.

Felipe Massa was seventh with a time of 1:40.731 for Williams, while Daniil Kvyat described his Toro Rosso as “lazy” but remained the fastest Renault-engined runner in eighth, on 1m 41.108s.

Red Bull’s soon-to-be deperating four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel was ninth, while team mate Daniel Ricciardo never got out of the midfield and then suffered an early exit when his RB10 rolled to a halt in Turn 11 with eight minutes of the session remaining, briefly bringing out the red flags. The Australian ended the session 13th.

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