With a recap of the news and notes from the Sochi Autodrom paddock on Friday, Julianne Cerasoli brings you her paddock notebook.

- The day started with the expected confirmation that Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will remain at Haas, officially closing two more doors for 2019. Given that at Force India, the announcement that Sergio Perez will partner Lance Stroll in 2019 seems to be only a formality, there are realistically only seats free at Toro Rosso (one which will be taken by Daniil Kvyat) and Williams.

- On the latter, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he doesn’t “expect there to be any news in the next week”. His two drivers, Esteban Ocon and George Russell are believed to have chances to drive for Williams, but the team may favour a pay driver instead of a reduced engine deal.

COTA #2 - Tremendous Turn 1

- After getting rid of all the unknowns that were surrounding his career for the past 18 months since his last disappointing appearance with Sauber in China, Antonio Giovinazzi said he did feel the difference of driving without the pressure to deliver and try to secure an F1 seat when he took over the Swiss car in FP1, having been confirmed for 2019 earlier this week. “The tranquility of knowing I have a seat makes a huge difference. I arrived here much calmer, without having to show anything and that’s something important that I have to bring also to next year”, said the Italian.

- Giovinazzi will race alongside Kimi Raikkonen in 2019, and he is pretty happy with having the Finn as his new teammate: “Kimi is the perfect drive for me to learn from. He is experienced and, if you ask him something, he will answer and help you.”

- If there was someone in the Sochi paddock who knew what Giovanazzi was talking about, it was Artem Markelov. The outspoken Russian recognised he was “nervous” when he drove the Renault at FP1, making his first F1 race weekend appearance. “Everyone is saying I did a good job but I don’t believe them!” he said. One of the possibilities for Williams in 2019, Markelov said he has been ready for a seat in F1 “for four years” and was very clear about his thoughts on doing one more year in F2: “No, no. That’s enough!”

- The Hypersofts had a little bit of everything this Friday in Sochi: degradation, graining and blistering. Graining, in fact, was so bad that Kimi Raikkonen thought he had a puncture at one point - no wonder why Pirelli boss Mario Isola said he expects Mercedes and Ferrari to try to go through Q2 on the Ultrasofts. They seem to be the best race tyre, as the Softs probably will be too slow. The expected delta time between the compounds is 0.8s.

- The difficulty of running on the Hypersofts could result in a situation where drivers do not try to get through Q2, instead favouring a free choice of starting compound by starting the race outside the top 10 grid positions. This was seen in Singapore, where the drivers starting 11th downwards had a significant strategic advantage over the midfield runners who reached Q3.

- “Difficult” and “strange” were some of the adjectives used to explain the Sochi’s circuit characteristics regarding tyre behaviour. Even though the asphalt is quite smooth, different corners but different tyres of stress in the rubber, meaning that, depending on the setup, cars were having more trouble with the fronts or the rears. Even so, it should be an one-stop race, as Lewis Hamilton pointed out: “I don’t know what they could do with this track to make it better, because it should be a boring race for the fans.”

- It could be a boring race, but not as easy for Mercedes as it looked like this Friday, as even after the 1-2 in FP2, Valtteri Bottas was alerting that he doubted Ferrari was showing its hand yet. “We’ve seen Ferrari not giving everything they’ve got," he said. "Normally they are very strong in the straights but today they didn’t seem to be running with full power”. But Sebastian Vettel was not so sure about Ferrari’s form in Russia: “We were struggling a little bit to squeeze the best out of the tyre for one lap and then trying to make it last for several laps.”

- There is a clear darker patch covering the top three starting positions on the grid, where the track was resurfaced recently, and should generate more grip. Everyone saw it, but what only Mercedes realised this Friday was that there was a resurfaced stretch also on the pit exit - and Hamilton and Bottas were the only ones who practiced starts on both types of tarmac.

- As expected, Max Verstappen’s claims that Red Bull needed to use the B spec engine in the altitude on Thursday didn’t go down well at Renault. The manufacturer's F1 boss, Cyril Abiteboul, said that the engine change was decided with the engineering department “and not the driver department”.

- Verstappen was one of five drivers to have power unit changes confirmed on Friday heading into the weekend. Along with Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo, the Toro Rosso pair of Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly, and McLaren's Fernando Alonso, Verstappen will start in the lower reaches of the grid. All five cars affected got out early in the pit lane in FP1 as their penalties would be applied in that order, with the McLaren leading the two Red Bulls, followed by the two Toro Rossos.

- Both Red Bull drivers have also taken a new gearbox for this race weekend, with the penalty being redundant given their power unit drops. Esteban Ocon and Charles Leclerc also have new gearboxes, but neither trigger a penalty.

- Friday's GP3 qualifying took place after sunset in Sochi, seemingly after a schedule mix-up. Nikita Mazepin took his maiden pole position in the series in almost-dark conditions, with the main light on the track coming off the LED panels on the airboxes of the cars.