Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel set the pace in the first practice session of 2018 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix at Sochi ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
Vettel used the hypersoft compound to clock a 1m34.488s lap time to head the timesheet with Verstappen (1m34.538s) behind him despite an off moment. Third was Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton but the British driver set his time on the ultrasoft tyre.
He still did a 1m34.818s lap time which looks competitive with his teammate Valtteri Bottas behind him with a 1m34.999s – also on the ultrasoft tyre. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fifth but the Australian missed a chunk of the FP1 session.
The left side of his car caught fire after an off moment in Turn 2 as he was relegated to the garage for the rest of the session. Before his stop, he did a 1m35.524s on the hypersoft compound for a Top 5 place.
Racing Point Force India’s Esteban Ocon had a better run in sixth to be the best of the rest leader with a 1m35.663s lap time on the hypersoft tryre. The Frenchman finished ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who looked slightly dodge in the session.
Despite using the hypersoft compound, the Finn set his best lap time of 1m35.696s on the ultrasoft compound. The recently confirmed Haas’ Kevin Magnussen (1m36.196s) slotted in eighth from Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg (1m36.274s).
The German had to come in early after a suspected problem in his Renault. The Top 10 was rounded out by FP1 runner and future Sauber driver Antonio Giovinazzi with the Italian clocking a 1m36.712s lap time.
Haas’ Romain Grosjean (1m36.816s) finished 11th from the lead Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly (1m36.944s) as future McLaren driver Lando Norris (1m37.022s) impressed in 13th with Sauber’s Charles Leclerc (1m37.054s) struggling in 14th.
Gasly ran the ultrasoft tyres as opposed to the drivers around him while Leclerc suffered an off moment in the session. Another FP1 runner and making his debut in a F1 weekend was Renault’s Artem Markelov (1m37.183s) in 15th.
McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne’s (1m37.187s) nightmare continued in 16th with Racing Point Force India’s Nicholas Latifi (1m37.206s) slotting in 17th from Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin (1m37.225s), Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley (1m37.944s).
The 20 runners was rounded out by Williams’ Lance Stroll (1m39.137s) whose tyres were destroyed after a spin in Turn 8. The team decided not to use any fresh set as his session ended up early. Hartley also just used the ultrasoft tyre to be 19th.