Bottas, who has won at Sochi on two occasions in 2017 and 2020, posted a best lap of 1m33.593s to set the benchmark during the qualifying simulation runs.

Having trailed Bottas by over two-tenths of a second in opening practice, championship contender Lewis Hamilton closed to within just 0.044s of his teammate’s pace in the second 60-minute session.

Hamilton knocked over his front jack man who was unharmed in a bizarre incident in the pits after the seven-time world champion slightly overshot his box as he returned to the garage. The Briton reported over team radio that his “magic” brake bias altering setting was still on.

During the session, Red Bull confirmed that it had elected to install a new Honda engine in Max Verstappen’s car, meaning the championship leader will start Sunday’s race from the very back of the grid.

A grid penalty had been inevitable for Verstappen after the Dutchman lost a power unit from his 2021 pool in his hefty shunt at Silverstone following contact with main title rival Hamilton.

Behind the Mercedes duo came Pierre Gasly, who produced an impressive lap to sit third for AlphaTauri. The Frenchman ended FP2 without a front wing after launching over the Turn 2 kerbs in the final minutes of the session.

McLaren’s Lando Norris was half a second down in fifth, ahead of Alpine driver Esteban Ocon and Verstappen, who finished a full second off the pace.

Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc - who will join Verstappen on the back row for the Russian GP - completed the top 10 for Ferrari, Alpine and Aston Martin.

A crash for Antonio Giovinazzi punctuated the session and disrupted the high-fuel running when the Alfa Romeo driver hit the wall and brought out a red flag in the closing stages.

The Italian, who is fighting to keep his seat for next year, took no further part in FP2 after destroying the rear wing on his car after spinning backwards into the Turn 8 barriers.

Haas’ rookie pairing were slowest of all as home favourite Nikita Mazepin once again got the better of teammate Mick Schumacher.

Full second practice results for the 2021 Russian Grand Prix.