“The rain stayed away for the opening day of practice at Sochi’s Autodrom, MercedesAMG dominated at the Russian track setting an impressive pace” — Paul Ebeling
Sochi brought out the best of Valtteri Bottas. He likes the flow of the track, and the types of corners, the 90-degree turns suit his style.
So it was not a surprise to see him Top Friday’s practice sessions.
It was clear that MercedesAMG has the edge in terms of qualifying at Sochi, with an impressive 0.24s advantage over Red Bull.
Mr. Bottas and Mr. Hamilton are favorites for both Pole and the race win, but they are wary of heavy rain forecast for Saturday which means this weekend is by far a foregone conclusion.
Max Verstappen has a challenging weekend. Not only are MercedesAMG unbeaten here, but he had a 3-place grid penalty to contend with for his collision with Mr. Hamilton in Italy.
It was not the smoothest of days for McLaren. Daniel Ricciardo missed half of FP2 as the team changed his engine after they detected an issue in the data, when he eventually got out, he could only post the 17th-fastest time.
Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) are building on the positive momentum of their Y 2021 campaign with technology that they wish will help them take a big step in Y 2022 and back to title contenders.
Charles Leclerc will need a very quick racer given that he will start at the back. He accepts it’s going to be difficult to cut through the field, but has an eye on trying to stick with Mr. Verstappen and follow him back through the field in what will be a faster car.
Had Alpha’s Pierre Gasly got his best lap posted he would have ended Friday just 1/10th sec shy of MercedesAMG’s. He has been in super form this year, with only misfortune and unreliability leaving him outside the Top 6 in the drivers’ standings, which gives him confidence for this weekend’s racing.
Have a super race weekend, Keep the Faith!