Russian GP: Vettel outpaces Verstappen by 0.050s in FP1

The Ferrari driver was fractionally quicker than Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.

The margin at the top of the timesheets between the two was just 0.050 seconds, both times being set on the hypersoft tyre at this 5.8km circuit on the shores of the Black Sea.

Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton was third quickest, 0.3s down on championship rival Vettel, but like his teammate Valtteri Bottas – who was fourth fastest – the Briton spent most of the 90-minute session running on the soft tyre.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth overall, but had to sit out most of practice after he came into the pits early with smoke billowing from the rear of his Red Bull.

His mechanics took the floor off his car to investigate the problem.

Ricciardo will face a grid penalty for Sunday’s race for power unit changes, along with his teammate Verstappen and three other drivers. They include the Toro Rosso duo of Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley and also Fernando Alonso (McLaren).

Friday morning’s first practice session at Sochi took place in warm and overcast conditions without any major incident.

There was spin by Williams’s Lance Stroll half an hour before the end of the session, while early on Lando Norris also looped his McLaren around at Turn 4.

Norris was one of four driver changes for the opening session of the weekend. Norris took over Alonso’s seat, while local driver Artem Markelov was in for Carlos Sainz at Renault.

Esteban Ocon was sixth fastest for Force India ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari and Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.

Nico Hulkenberg was ninth in the timesheets but was forced to pit before the end of the session with an issue with his Renault.

Sauber’s new signing for 2019, Antonio Giovinazzi stepped in for Marcus Ericsson while Nicholas Latifi replaced Sergio Perez at Force India for the 90-minute session.

   Pos  Driver   Car / Engine                  Time             Gap  Laps 
Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’34.488   19
Max Verstappen Red Bull/TAG Heuer 1’34.538 0.050 22
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’34.818 0.330 23
Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’34.999 0.511 28
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/TAG Heuer 1’35.524 1.036 11
Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1’35.663 1.175 24
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’35.696 1.208 19
Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1’36.196 1.708 21
Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1’36.274 1.786 18
10  Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber/Ferrari 1’36.712 2.224 22
11  Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1’36.816 2.328 23
12  Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1’36.944 2.456 25
13  Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1’37.022 2.534 25
14  Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1’37.054 2.566 24
15  Artem Markelov Renault 1’37.183 2.695 22
16  Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1’37.187 2.699 27
17  Nicholas Latifi Force India/Mercedes 1’37.206 2.718 24
18  Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1’37.225 2.737 25
19  Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1’37.944 3.456 28
20  Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1’39.137 4.649 13