Valtteri Bottas once again set the pace as he doubled up to top second practice for Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix and complete a Friday practice clean sweep.

The Finn headed a Mercedes 1-2 by lapping 0.267s faster than teammate and world championship leader Lewis Hamilton on a 1m33.519s during the Soft tyre runs in the afternoon at Sochi.

Hamilton, who can equal Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91 career wins with a fifth victory in Russia, was on course for a better lap until he locked up and ran wide at Turn 13 having lit the timing screens up purple with the fastest first and second sectors.

The Briton was just able to stop his Mercedes W11 short of the barriers to avoid picking up any damage to his car as he returned to the top two having finished a lowly 19th during a difficult FP1.

The Mercedes duo were in a league of their own in second practice, with Daniel Ricciardo once again impressing to take third in his Renault, albeit a full second down on Bottas’ benchmark.

Carlos Sainz led teammate Lando Norris in what was a strong afternoon showing for McLaren, with Sergio Perez sixth in his Racing Point.

Max Verstappen was only seventh-fastest for Red Bull, with the Dutchman finishing some 1.5s off Bottas and half a second off third-placed Ricciardo.

Verstappen’s tough Friday was further hampered by a lazy spin in his RB16 as he exited Turn 14, before returning to the garage so his team could give his car a full inspection.

Ferrari returned to the top 10 with Charles Leclerc eighth and Sebastian Vettel 10th, split by Renault’s Esteban Ocon.

Pierre Gasly was 11th-fastest, ahead of the second Red Bull of Alex Albon, his AlphaTauri teammate Daniil Kvyat, Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo, and the Williams duo of Nicholas Latifi and George Russell.

After spinning early in the session, Lance Stroll ended up a distant 17th in the FP2 order for Racing Point, ahead of both Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen (18th) and Romain Grosjean (20th) and the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi (19th).


F1-25-09 (7).jpg