Engine change: penalty for Verstappen
The starting positions could hardly be more different: While Mercedes dominates in Sochi, Max Verstappen has to start from behind.
Formula 1 at a glance at SKY Q
Valtteri Bottas with two best times on Friday
© LAT / Mercedes
Verstappen’s three places penalty for the crash with Hamilton in Monza is no longer valid – and is still the “cause” for the action, as Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko calculates: “Mercedes is incredibly strong here. If we count now: We will Third in qualifying, plus three, it is sixth place. If we had then taken the other engine with ten places back, it would be 16. But there is not much difference between 16 and 20, so we decided on the complete package to swap. “
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It is unusual that Red Bull is already using the new unit on Friday. “The reason is the weather situation so that we can optimally calibrate the new engine,” explains Marko. “We had to adjust the strategy a bit, because you need some time to run the engine in. That wouldn’t be optimal in the rain.”
On the Black Sea coast, sometimes violent storms are announced for Saturday. The race management has therefore already made changes to the schedule, including bringing the Formula 3 race forward to Friday in order to create a buffer for eventual rain shifts during the F1 quayifying.
If the rain continues until Sunday, Red Bull’s plan could backfire, as Marko admits: “When it’s wet, it’s difficult from the end of the field with all the spray,” admits the Austrian. The fact that Verstappen only finished sixth on Friday, 1.028 seconds behind, is negligible, according to Marko: “Of course, we now primarily looked at our race set-up and did most of the work there. But we still have to find more top speed.” So that Verstappen can overtake on his targeted race to catch up …
Red flag after the crash of Antonio Giovinazzi
© F1 / Twitter
Another driver from the Red Bull camp finished third in Friday practice: AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly is two and a half tenths behind the Mercedes duo, ahead of McLaren driver Lando Norris and Esteban Ocon in the Alpine. Aston Martin star Sebastian Vettel finished the session in ninth place, compatriot Mick Schumacher at the Haas, like in the first practice session, did not get past 20th and last place.
Result of 2nd practice, Russian GP:
1. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) – Mercedes 1: 33.593 min.
2. Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain) – Mercedes +0.044 sec.
3. Pierre Gasly (France) – Alpha Tauri +0.252
4. Lando Norris (Great Britain) – McLaren +0.561
5. Esteban Ocon (France) – Alpine +0.809
6. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) – Red Bull +1.028
7. Carlos Sainz Jr. (Spain) – Ferrari +1.085
8. Fernando Alonso (Spain) – Alpine +1,169
9. Sebastian Vettel (Heppenheim) – Aston Martin +1.244
10. Charles Leclerc (Monaco) – Ferrari +1,332
11. Sergio Perez (Mexico) – Red Bull +1.345
12. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) – Alfa Romeo +1.459
13. George Russell (UK) – Williams +1.501
14. Antonio Giovinazzi (Italy) – Alfa Romeo +1,585
15. Lance Stroll (Canada) – Aston Martin +1.741
16. Nicholas Latifi (Canada) – Williams +1.818
17. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) – McLaren +2,037
18. Yuki Tsunoda (Japan) – Alpha Tauri +2,361
19. Nikita Masepin (Russia) – Haas +2.506
20. Mick Schumacher (Gland / Switzerland) – Haas +2,637