Lewis Hamilton leads a Mercedes one-two in second practice for this weekend Russian Grand Prix. The four times champion was just under two tenths faster than Valtteri Bottas with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo third and fourth.
Since Sochi joined the calendar in 2014, it has been a race where Mercedes has been a very strong taking victory in the last four years and both its current drivers being in the top four in three of the four races here.
Hamilton and Bottas both set there fastest lap on the hypersofts tyres when they were doing the qualifying simulations. Bottas set the initial pace on the hypersoft tyres before Hamilton responded with a lap just .001 off the two-tenths mark.
The Red Bulls were four tenths off the overall pace, with Verstappen leading his teammate by one-hundredth of a second. Both Red Bull drivers know while they have grid penalties, Sochi should be a circuit which favours the Red Bull.
The strong pace however by Red Bull should see them be able to navigate their way through traffic when the penalties are applied after qualifying for engine changes.
Sebastian Vettel, who needs a good strong result this weekend was fifth fastest half a second faster than his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen. The German who needs a good result this weekend spun on his race runs, earlier in the day he had been fastest in FP1.
Vettel knows that his own mistakes have cost him points this season, his session saw him spin and bickering with Ferrari. Ferrari knows that they should be in a better position as their own mistakes have cost them points this season.
However, Ferrari tends to not show its full hand on a Friday and last April proved to be a very strong challenge to Mercedes in Sochi. But post-Singapore it believed that now Mercedes are in a stronger position this weekend.
Sergio Perez showed strong pace from Force India going seventh fastest and his teammate Esteban Ocon was less than three tenths off in ninth. The duo separated by the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly in eighth with the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson tenth.
Kevin Magnussen was eleventh fastest with Haas teammate Romain Grosjean fifteenth. It was a rather low key day for the US team as they are normally in the fight with the midfield.
Renault’s Carlos Sainz was twelfth and teammate Nico Hulkenberg fourteenth, the pair split by the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley.
Fernando Alonso was the lead of those cars in 17th, six tenths up on team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, while Lance Stroll was rock bottom for Williams in a mistake-ridden outing.