Valtteri Bottas has a taste for the Sochi Autodrom. In the second free practice, just like in the first session earlier today, the Finn was the fastest. Lewis Hamilton was half a tenth behind his teammate. Max Verstappen mainly focused on the race simulations with a new engine, as the Dutchman will start at the back on Sunday.
In the first qualifying simulations it immediately became clear how the relations seem to be this weekend. Mercedes has a 100 percent score at the Sochi Autodrom and is determined not to want to change that this weekend. Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton immediately settled at the top of the time list and did not relinquish that place.
It was an active session for Max Verstappen and it soon became apparent why. Red Bull has decided to put a new engine in the RB15B, resulting in a grid penalty. The Dutchman mainly concentrated on long runs on the medium tires and finally finished the Friday in sixth. His comment after a lap behind a Williams was striking: “Really impossible to overtake with my top speed”, the Dutchman grumbled. That could be another cause for concern at Red Bull.
Also who concentrated on the long stints was Charles Leclerc, he has a fresh Ferrari engine on board but also for the Monegask it is the fourth this season. He will join Verstappen on the last row on Sunday, Leclerc drove the most laps this afternoon with a final tenth place as a result.
Antonio Giovinazzi may have to worry about the same fate. The Italian hit the wall hard with his back, after which the training was briefly stopped. Given the damage to his car, new parts might just be needed there. Pierre Gasly suffered some damage at the end of the session, in turn 1 the Frenchman went hard over a sausage curb and lost his front wing.