Free-practice 1 began under sunny skies and warm temperatures in Russia’s Black Sea resort, Sochi. Daniil Kvyat is the home favourite for the race but there was another Russian, Sergey Sirotkin, out on track on Friday. Unfortunately, though, it wasn’t to be his day as his Renault broke down before he could set a flying lap and he wouldn’t be able to take to the track again in the session.
The Mercedes boys set the early pace on the soft tyres, with Lewis Hamilton three-tenths of a second faster than Valtteri Bottas. Sebastian Vettel comfortably beat the Mercedes’ times but Bottas would claim the top spot after a rapid lap on the Supersofts. Hamilton also set a lap on the red-stripes but was six-tenths off his teammate.
However, it was the other Finn, Kimi Raikkonen, who would set the fastest time of the session, a 1:36.074, just 0.045 seconds faster than Bottas. With 23 minutes remaining, the red flags were brought out for Esteban Ocon’s engine cover, which had flew off his Force India on the pit-straight.
Towards the end of the session, Sebastian Vettel spun his Ferrari in the final sector trying to improve his time but Red 5 would finish FP1 in P5. The Red Bulls would also improve their times late on, Max Verstappen up to P4 while Daniel Ricciardo finished P6. Best of the rest was Sergio Perez, the Mexican has fond memories of the circuit from his 2015 podium and was rapid once more this morning.
Sirotkin No time