Valtteri Bottas was fastest in the second practice for the Russian Grand Prix after going two tenths faster than his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. The Finn showed that the German manufacturer continues to have the speed and performance in Sochi.
However, both drivers managed to make mistakes on their final runs on the soft tyres, with Hamilton being forced to abort his fastest lap after locking up. The two drivers again looked unstoppable as the Black Arrows were more than a second ahead of the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo.
Hamilton, this weekend is looking for a record-equalling ninety-first win, but could face a tougher challenge from Bottas who throughout his career has been continent around Sochi. Ricciardo, slotted into third following his soft runs, going almost half a hundredth faster than the McLaren’s.
Hamilton had just set the best times in the opening two sectors and was 0.7s up on his best time when he locked up at the big stop of the Turn Thirteen. Bottas made his make at the final corner, getting on the grass strip and lost time.
Carlos Sainz was almost a tenth and a half ahead of his teammate Lando Norris, McLaren looking to be strong and in the battle with Racing Point. Sainz bouncing back from an FP1 crash, to go a tenth faster than Sergio Perez.
Red Bull who have been the main challenger to Mercedes could only go seventh, Max Verstappen a second off the pace. But the Dutchman struggled to get a qualifying simulation in after making mistakes on both of his runs.
Verstappen looked to have gone quickest in the first two sectors when he lost the rear at Turn Fourteen, his second, came a corner earlier when he spun his car.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was eighth and teammate Sebastian Vettel tenth, they were spilt by the Renault of Esteban Ocon. Possibly a chance for the team to get some decent points following a couple of difficult weekends.
After the qualifying simulations had been completed, the teams switched to the traditional long run data gathering, where both Mercedes drivers had issues.
Pierre Gasly was eleventh fastest going ahead of the second Red Bull of Alex Albon. Gasly’s teammate Daniil Kvyat was three tenths slower in thirteenth, he was half a tenth ahead of the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen.
Williams appears to be on course for a good weekend, Nicolas Latifi going fifteenth, just over a hundredth faster than teammate George Russell. Lance Stroll couldn’t match Perez, he was seventeenth, the Canadian eight tenths behind his teammate.
The Haas of Kevin Magnussen was eighteenth with teammate Romain Grosjean twentieth, the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi.