Nico Rosberg was fastest during first practice for the Russian Grand Prix comfortably going ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were just behind the two Mercedes.
While Rosberg was fastest much of the focus was on Red Bull who was testing out there ‘aeroscreen’ on track which is designed to protect drivers from debris. Daniel Riccardo who tested the device finished sixth ahead of Valtteri Bottas and team-mate Daniil Kvyat.
The screen maybe introduced next season to give greater head protection following a number of accidents across all categories of motorsport in recent years.
Kvyat wasn’t the only Russian on track as new Renault test driver Sergey Sirotkin returned to drive the Renault finishing ahead of team-mate Jolyon Palmer. Alfonso Celis drove the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg’s car, setting the 22nd fastest time.
As ever it was the Mercedes who once again appeared to be the team to beat around the Olympic Park ahead of Ferrari. Hamilton appeared to be closer on the soft tyres with a .21 second gap from Rosberg. But on the faster super soft tyres he was .72 down on Rosberg which suggests he made a mistake.
Vettel was the faster of the Ferrari’s but the team chose not to run the faster super soft tyres, the gap on the soft tyres to Rosberg .07 slower. As ever track evolution and when Ferrari use the super softs expect and when track temperatures rises the gap to close.
The times also suggest Hamilton must have made a mistake on his run on the super-softs. The super-softs will be the tyres used in qualifying tomorrow. Vettel also made mistakes early in the session but once the track rubbered in he made some progress suggesting he might of gone faster.
Jenson button was also another spinner spinning in the same place as Vettel but still finished ahead of team-mate Fernando Alonso. Alonso missed much of the final half of the session after a technical issue.-