Russian GP: Bottas heads incident-filled first practice

Valtteri Bottas topped a disrupted opening practice session at Formula 1's 2020 Russian Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton ending up 19th after his run on the softest tyres was interrupted.

Russian GP: Bottas heads incident-filled first practice

Although the times at the top of the table changed little, the session featured several spins and crashes – with Williams driver Nicholas Latifi's accident bringing out the red flags – as the drivers got up to speed in Sochi.

Unusually, the Mercedes pair claimed the top spots during the early installation running as they opted to head out at the start of the session instead of waiting in their garages, with Hamilton setting the initial pace at 1m37.313s before Bottas arrived and improved the top spot by 0.403s.

After a lull in action of over 10 minutes, the pack gradually headed back out to complete more laps on the medium and hard rubber – with Sergio Perez, Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo all enjoying brief spells in first place.

Just before the opening half hour of the 90-minute session had been completed, Verstappen went quickest with 1m36.751s on the mediums, as the Mercedes pair took to the track on the softs.

Bottas used the red walled rubber to set a new quickest time at 1m34.923s, which remained as the fastest time for the rest of the session as the first of two major disruptions occurred shortly afterwards.

Hamilton did not get to set his soft tyre lap as Carlos Sainz lost the rear of his McLaren after putting his left-side wheels onto the outside kerbs approaching the Turn 7 left-hander and he spun off, hitting the barriers backwards and breaking his rear wing.

Sainz toured his damaged car back to the pits, with Kvyat then spinning his AlphaTauri and the slow and tight left of Turn 15 early in the third sector, the virtual safety car was the activated.

Once the cars were allowed back to full speed, the Mercedes pair switched back to the harder rubber and both had off-track moments.

Hamilton locked up briefly but dramatically going into the race overtaking spot at Turn 2 at the session's halfway point, quickly cutting across the runoff area and then declaring his tyres were "done", while a few minutes later Bottas locked up and went deep at the Turn 13 right – where Sainz had his enormous accident at the same event in 2015.

At the 53-minute mark, Latifi lost the rear of his Williams going through Turn 10, the 90-degree right that runs onto the track's long acceleration zone leading to the big stop at Turn 13, and he spun off backwards at high-speed.

Unlike Sainz's incident, Latifi's car was buried in the barriers and the session had to be stopped for nine-minutes while it was recovered.

The teams took different approaches to the session's final third, with Red Bull sending Verstappen out on the softs to claim second with 25 minutes to go before he was later deposed by Ricciardo five minutes later, while Mercedes stuck to data gathering on the harder rubber.

Perez ended up fourth ahead of his Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll and Renault's Esteban Ocon.

Kvyat finished seventh, with Alex Albon, Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10.

Charles Leclerc, who cut the Turn 2 runoff shortly after the Sainz crash when he turned in ahead of Romain Grosjean, with the Ferrari driver saying his Haas rival "thought we were in a race", finished 11th in the second Ferrari.

Sainz finished 12th in the standings ahead of his teammate Lando Norris, but only completed eight laps as a result of his incident, after which he did not return to the track.

Russell and Grosjean both had offs at Turn 15, with Russell locking up in a similarly dramatic way to Bottas and going deep, while the Haas driver spun going through the right-hander shortly after Verstappen had set his fastest time of the session.

They ended up 17th and 18th ahead of Hamilton and Latifi.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 13 1'34.923
2 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
Renault 22 1'35.430 0.507
3 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 22 1'35.577 0.654
4 Mexico Sergio Perez
Racing Point 23 1'35.796 0.873
5 Canada Lance Stroll
Racing Point 21 1'35.965 1.042
6 France Esteban Ocon
Renault 23 1'36.061 1.138
7 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
AlphaTauri 22 1'36.230 1.307
8 Thailand Alex Albon
Red Bull 24 1'36.254 1.331
9 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari 23 1'36.323 1.400
10 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 25 1'36.706 1.783
11 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 23 1'36.896 1.973
12 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
McLaren 8 1'36.970 2.047
13 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 28 1'37.110 2.187
14 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 17 1'37.201 2.278
15 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 23 1'37.230 2.307
16 Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Haas 22 1'37.430 2.507
17 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 24 1'37.595 2.672
18 France Romain Grosjean
Haas 24 1'37.649 2.726
19 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 18 1'37.716 2.793
20 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 11 1'37.784 2.861
shares
comments

Related video

McLaren could race new nose in Russian GP
Previous article

McLaren could race new nose in Russian GP

Next article

Renault could use filming day for Alonso test

Renault could use filming day for Alonso test
Load comments
The inevitable consequence of the Liberty F1 popularity boom Prime

The inevitable consequence of the Liberty F1 popularity boom

Sell out crowds at Formula 1 races are the norm rather than the exception these days, as grand prix racing is enjoying a massive boom under Liberty Media. But the Spanish Grand Prix highlighted numerous issues some circuits may face as demand for F1 soars

The danger for Red Bull in its Barcelona F1 team orders choice Prime

The danger for Red Bull in its Barcelona F1 team orders choice

OPINION: Red Bull walked into a team orders saga on its way to taking a Spanish Grand Prix 1-2 last weekend, where it took the lead of the 2022 Formula 1 world championships for the first time. But its decisions have added an element of risk to later races.

Why Mercedes' Spanish GP gains aren't as grand as they seemed Prime

Why Mercedes' Spanish GP gains aren't as grand as they seemed

Mercedes' strong showing in last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix prompted team boss Toto Wolff to say it had halved its deficit to the leaders and its Formula 1 title chances were back on after a rocky start to the 2022 campaign. But a closer inspection of the team's performance suggests its gains aren't as grand as they first appeared

Formula 1
May 24, 2022
What's next for the Green Red Bull controversy? Prime

What's next for the Green Red Bull controversy?

From the 'pink Mercedes' to the 'Green Red Bull', the Silverstone-based team has received suspicious glares from up and down the Formula 1 paddock over its car design exploits. But after being cleared by the FIA over its Spanish Grand Prix updates amid a backdrop of cries of foul play, what's next in this saga?

Formula 1
May 24, 2022
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

In an unusually hectic Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc was denied a dominant performance by his Ferrari engine letting go which allowed Max Verstappen to pick up the pieces. But numerous flashpoints kept the race twisting and turning throughout, with one perfect score from an emerging contender

Formula 1
May 23, 2022
How Verstappen overcame his and Red Bull’s errors to win in Spain Prime

How Verstappen overcame his and Red Bull’s errors to win in Spain

Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari engine disaster offered an open goal for Max Verstappen and Red Bull to strike, but the reigning Formula 1 world champion still had to solve multiple errors and profit from a begrudged assist from team-mate Sergio Perez, which created an unexpectedly eventful Spanish Grand Prix

Formula 1
May 23, 2022
Why Red Bull can win a Spanish GP that looked perfect for Ferrari Prime

Why Red Bull can win a Spanish GP that looked perfect for Ferrari

Formula 1's return to Spain on Friday ended with Ferrari leading the way from Mercedes, while Red Bull could only manage third fastest overall courtesy of Max Verstappen. But its chances of victory are far from remote with a deeper dig into the times despite Ferrari's strong start...

Formula 1
May 20, 2022
The key aspects of Porsche and Audi's planned F1 entries Prime

The key aspects of Porsche and Audi's planned F1 entries

The VW Group’s German superpowers of sportscar racing have all but confirmed they are coming to F1 when the next set of engine rules come into force in 2026. Here's why both manufacturers are all set to take the plunge, and crucially how it might work

Formula 1
May 19, 2022