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Bottas enjoys Russian GP practice double as Verstappen takes grid penalty

Bottas enjoys Russian GP practice double as Verstappen takes grid penalty

F1 News

Bottas enjoys Russian GP practice double as Verstappen takes grid penalty

Bottas enjoys Russian GP practice double as Verstappen takes grid penalty

Valtteri Bottas enjoyed a Russian Grand Prix practice double on a day when Red Bull decided to hand Max Verstappen a new power unit.

Early in the second session at the Sochi Autodrom, the FIA confirmed Red Bull had opted for a fourth PU of the season for Verstappen, which means the Dutchman will now start at the back of the grid.

Verstappen has previously shown what is possible at this track as in 2018 he started 19th following a power unit change and finished fifth.

The 23-year-old, however, will have Charles Leclerc directly ahead of him at the start on Sunday after Ferrari also changed the PU in the SF21 as it is running an updated hybrid system.

After topping FP1 by two-tenths of a second to team-mate Lewis Hamilton, Bottas repeated the trick in FP2, albeit with the gap slashed to 0.044s.

The Finn's lap of one minute 33.593secs arrived early on as the 10 teams conducted their qualifying simulations before switching to longer runs later in a session that was disrupted by Antonio Giovinazzi clattering his Alfa Romeo into a wall, sparking a nine-minute red flag period.

All drivers and teams were keen on running and gaining as much data as possible due to the forecast of heavy rain for Saturday and a potential washout of both final practice and qualifying.

Should qualifying be unable to be completed for whatever reason on the alternative time of Sunday morning, then the times from FP2 will set the grid.

At the moment, and it all remains hypothetical given the impact of the weather, Pierre Gasly could potentially line up third behind an all-Mercedes front row.

Gasly, though, finished the session without a front wing on his AlphaTauri after running over a kerb.

McLaren's Lando Norris was fourth quickest ahead of Alpine's Esteban Ocon, with Verstappen sixth on the timesheet, just over a second down, albeit with the new PU seemingly not pushing the system to its limit just yet.

Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Leclerc were seventh and 10th fastest, the latter 1.332s adrift, sandwiching Fernando Alonso in his Alpine and Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel, with Red Bull's Sergio Perez only 11th.

Italian Grand Prix race winner Daniel Ricciardo was down in 17th, two seconds back, with his session hampered by a PU problem beforehand.

That necessitated McLaren changing the system, which they claim will be fixed later, for another in the pool.

As per FP1, on home soil Nikita Mazepin finished quicker than Haas team-mate Mick Schumacher, albeit with the duo the two slowest again, just over 2.5s back.

Russian Grand Prix second practice results

1. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] 1:33.593

2. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] +0.044

3. Pierre Gasly [AlphaTauri] +0.252

4. Lando Norris [McLaren] +0.561

5. Esteban Ocon [Alpine] +0.809

6. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] +1.028

7. Carlos Sainz [Ferrari] +1.085

8. Fernando Alonso [Alpine] +1.169

9. Sebastian Vettel [Aston Martin] +1.244

10. Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] +1.332

11. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] +1.345

12. Kimi Raikkonen [Alfa Romeo] +1.459

13. George Russell [Williams] +1.501

14. Antonio Giovinazzi [Alfa Romeo] +1.585

15. Lance Stroll [Aston Martin] +1.741

16. Nicholas Latifi [Williams] +1.818

17. Daniel Ricciardo [McLaren] +2.037

18. Yuki Tsunoda [AlphaTauri] +2.361

19. Nikita Mazepin [Haas] +2.506

20. Mick Schumacher [Haas] +2.637


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