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Sebastian Vettel

Sochi FP2: Vettel fastest as Ferrari have upper hand

Sebastian Vettel

Much has been written about the fact that Mercedes have never been beaten at the Russian Grand Prix, but after the first day of free practice at Sochi Autodrom it appears that Ferrari are intent on changing this statistic as Sebastian Vettel ended the day fastest of all with teammate Kimi Raikkonen second best on the day.

Vettel’s best lap time of 1:34.120 was a quarter second faster than Raikkonen’s best, which also happened to be 3.5 seconds faster than the time set in the same session last year.

Next up were the Mercedes duo with Valtteri Bottas fractionally faster than teammate Lewis Hamilton, but notably they were over half a second shy of Vettel’s top time.

Fifth place in the session went to Max Verstappen whose qualifying run resulted in a three tenths of a second advantage over sixth-place team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. The session ended in disappointment for the Dutchman, though, as he was force to pull over at the side of the track 20 minutes before the end, reporting a power loss.

Behind the top three teams the midfield battle again looks tight, with just three tenths of a second separating seventh-placed Felipe Massa of Williams from tenth-place Sergio Perez of Force India.

Massa finished just six hundredth of a second clear of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen just under two tenths further back in ninth place.

Elsewhere, Fernando Alonso was a decent 12th for McLaren, finishing behind the second Force India of Esetban Ocon, but there were more problems for the team as it was forced to change Stoffel Vandoorne’s power unit.

Lance Stroll was the only driver not to use ultrasoft tyres during the session, with the result that the second Williams driver finished in 19th place, 1.5 seconds slower than team-mate Massa.

Russian Grand Prix, Sochi Autodrom – Free Practice 2, Best Lap Times

POSNODRIVERCARTIMEGAPLAPS
15Sebastian VettelFERRARI1:34.120 36
27Kimi RäikkönenFERRARI1:34.383+0.263s36
377Valtteri BottasMERCEDES1:34.790+0.670s36
444Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:34.829+0.709s34
533Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING TAG HEUER1:35.540+1.420s15
63Daniel RicciardoRED BULL RACING TAG HEUER1:35.910+1.790s26
719Felipe MassaWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:36.261+2.141s39
827Nico HulkenbergRENAULT1:36.329+2.209s38
920Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI1:36.506+2.386s31
1011Sergio PerezFORCE INDIA MERCEDES1:36.600+2.480s38
1131Esteban OconFORCE INDIA MERCEDES1:36.654+2.534s39
1214Fernando AlonsoMCLAREN HONDA1:36.765+2.645s27
1330Jolyon PalmerRENAULT1:36.771+2.651s22
148Romain GrosjeanHAAS FERRARI1:37.039+2.919s31
1555Carlos SainzTORO ROSSO1:37.083+2.963s36
162Stoffel VandoorneMCLAREN HONDA1:37.125+3.005s25
1726Daniil KvyatTORO ROSSO1:37.300+3.180s35
1894Pascal WehrleinSAUBER FERRARI1:37.441+3.321s30
1918Lance StrollWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:37.747+3.627s36
209Marcus EricssonSAUBER FERRARI1:37.819+3.699s29