Max third in Sochi practice opener

Published on 25 September 2020 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen clocked the third fastest time of the Russian Grand Prix’s opening practice session. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was quickest around the Sochi circuit, followed by teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Thirty minutes in, Max sets the fastest lap thus far, soon followed by Bottas claiming top spot. Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz loses control of his McLaren at high speed and crashes into the tyre barriers. Despite a broken rear wing, he is able to drive back to the pits.

Just after the halfway mark, Max heads out on the soft Pirelli compound. Sadly, he is unable to set a time on the fresh tyres; a red flag caused by Nicolas Latifi hinders Max’ attempt. The Canadian loses control of his Williams in turn ten and hits the barriers with the rear of his car.

The session is resumed with little under half an hour on the clock. Max is one of the first drivers back on track. He does so on the soft tyres he used on his run prior to Latifi’s crash. A good lap with two green and one purple sector, propels the Dutchman in to second behind Bottas.

In the closing minutes, Lewis Hamilton splits Bottas and Max/ The latter appears to retaliate with two purple sectors but is forced to abandon his flying lap due to traffic, meaning Max ends the first Friday session in third, behind Mercedes.

Russian GP contest: win a signed Max Verstappen cap and a 1:43 RB12 scale model!

Results first free practice Russia:

1Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:34.923 13
2Daniel RicciardoRICRenault1:35.430+0.507s22
3Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:35.577+0.654s22
4Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:35.796+0.873s23
5Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:35.965+1.042s20
6Esteban OconOCORenault1:36.061+1.138s23
7Daniil KvyatKVYAlphaTauri Honda1:36.230+1.307s21
8Alexander AlbonALBRed Bull Racing Honda1:36.254+1.331s24
9Sebastian VettelVETFerrari1:36.323+1.400s22
10Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda1:36.706+1.783s25
11Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:36.896+1.973s23
12Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault1:36.970+2.047s8
13Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault1:37.110+2.187s28
14Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:37.201+2.278s17
15Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:37.230+2.307s23
16Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:37.430+2.507s22
17George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:37.595+2.672s23
18Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari1:37.649+2.726s24
19Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:37.716+2.793s18
20Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:37.784+2.861s11