Valtteri Bottas Fastest On Day 1 In Sochi

Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheets in both sessions on Day 1 of the FORMULA 1 VTB RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX 2020 as the Finn attempts to get his championship hopes back on track.

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In a strange FP1 Lewis Hamilton was only 19th fastest, but ironed out the wrinkles to go P2 in FP2, while Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed a great first day, finishing P2 in FP1 and P3 in FP2.

Valtteri Bottas Looking For More

After being fastest in both sessions, Valtteri Bottas feels there is more to come from himself and his Mercedes come qualifying time.

‘There’s definitely more to come but overall, it was a positive first day of running. Conditions were quite tricky out there and that’s why there were so many drivers making mistakes.

‘There were a few interruptions and that meant we were a bit limited with running, and I also had a big lock-up, which destroyed a set of tyres.

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‘Second practice was better, and we managed a lot of laps, but I still didn’t quite get all the sectors right. The first two sectors felt really good, but the car was a bit too nervous in sector three.

‘I was doing some rally-style drifting at times, which probably isn’t the fastest way around, so there’s still a lot of time to find. But we’re in good shape and I’m sure we can make improvements ahead of tomorrow,’ said Bottas.

2020 Russian Grand Prix, Friday - Valtteri Bottas (image courtesy Mercedes-AMG Petronas)
2020 Russian Grand Prix, Friday – LAT Images

Mixed Day For Lewis Hamilton

After a tough start in FP1, Lewis Hamilton bounced back in FP2, but admitted he has work to do ahead of qualifying after his sluggish start.

‘The car has been performing really well here, but it wasn’t the smoothest day for me, so there’s work to do tonight both on the driving side and set-up wise.

‘The day didn’t start very well, as first practice was pretty poor. I had a lock-up at Turn 2 on the Soft tyre and then when I went onto the Hard compound, I completely destroyed them, so FP1 was scrapped.

‘The second session was a lot better, but I wasn’t able to put all the sectors together so it’s still a work in progress: I was a bit down in sectors one and two, but sector three was nice.

‘The grip levels today were pretty low and that made things tricky out here, with a lot of sliding around. But I’m sure it will grip up and things will be closer tomorrow,’ said Hamilton.

2020 Russian Grand Prix, Friday - Lewis Hamilton (image courtesy Mercedes-AMG Petronas)
2020 Russian Grand Prix, Friday – Lewis Hamilton (image courtesy Mercedes-AMG Petronas)

Daniel Ricciardo Gets Boost From Day 1 Pace

Russia hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for Daniel Ricciardo, so the Australian was happy to light up the timesheets under the scorching Sochi sun.

‘We keep on setting the time sheets alight on Friday, so it’s nice to see us high up again today.

‘It’s a circuit I’ve not had too much success or confidence on before, so it definitely gives me a boost. I learnt a lot and showed strong pace in every run.

‘Looking ahead to tomorrow, I think it’ll be a lot closer especially between us and the teams that are about two to three tenths behind, so I think qualifying will be tightly contested.

‘But I draw a lot of confidence from today and we’ll look to string it all together for the rest of the weekend,’ said Ricciardo.

2020 Russian Grand Prix, Friday - Daniel Ricciardo (image courtesy Renault F1)
2020 Russian Grand Prix, Friday – Daniel Ricciardo (image courtesy Renault F1)