Russian GP, Practice One: Valtteri Bottas fastest, Lewis Hamilton 19th, in crash-heavy session
Bottas ahead of Ricciardo and Verstappen; Hamilton second-slowest driver in disrupted session; Latifi and Sainz both crash
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 25/09/20 12:47pm
Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheets ahead of surprise closest rival Daniel Ricciardo in a crash-heavy Russian GP first practice, while Lewis Hamilton finished down in 19th on a quiet start to his potentially record-equalling weekend.
Hamilton can match Michael Schumacher's all-time win record of 91 this weekend but, as well as being was one of many drivers who struggled for grip around Sochi's Olympic Park on Friday morning, appeared to be on a much different run-plan to his team-mate.
Bottas, fastest in six consecutive P1s, set the pace with a 1:34.923 - half a second clear of the in-form Ricciardo, who impressively beat former Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen by a tenth in the Renault.
Hamilton, meanwhile, didn't post a representative time on the soft tyres and finished almost three seconds off the pace, faster than only Nicholas Latifi, who had a big shunt in the Williams.
Latifi's crash at Turn 10 led to a red flag but he wasn't the only man who found the barriers on a dusty and green Sochi Autodrom, with Carlos Sainz also having a spin and shunt in the McLaren earlier in the disrupted session.
Mercedes, who are undefeated in Russia, also had issues, with Bottas and Hamilton both having big lock-ups and the Englishman suffering a flat spot to his tyres. But they still appear the team to beat.
Red Bull insisted coming into the weekend that they feared dropping back into the midfield and the very early signs suggest that may well be the case, with Renault in particular a threat on a high-speed circuit.
Racing Point also had a good first practice, with Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll both in the top five.
Esteban Ocon was sixth in the other Renault, while AlphaTauri's Daniil Kvyat out-paced Red Bull's Alex Albon, who comes into the weekend off the back of his maiden F1 podium at Mugello.
Sebastian Vettel ensured Ferrari had a car in the top-10, although Charles Leclerc was two places back in 11th - beaten by Monza race-winner Pierre Gasly.
As well as having a disrupted session thanks to Sainz's shunt, McLaren also didn't have a particularly competitive one, with neither Sainz, who didn't post a time on the soft tyres, or Lando Norris in the top-10.
Russian GP Practice One Timesheet
|1) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1:34.923|
|2) Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+0.507|
|3) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+0.654|
|4) Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+0.873|
|5) Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+1.042|
|6) Esteban Ocon||Renault||+1.138|
|7) Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri||+1.307|
|8) Alexander Albon||Red Bull||+1.331|
|9) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+1.400|
|10) Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+1.783|
|11) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+1.973|
|12) Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+2.047|
|13) Lando Norris||McLaren||+2.187|
|14) Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+2.278|
|15) Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+2.307|
|16) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+2.507|
|17) George Russell||Williams||+2.672|
|18) Romain Grosjean||Haas||+2.726|
|19) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+2.793|
|20) Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+2.861|