The first practice session at Sochi started half an hour behind schedule due to an earlier on-track diesel spillage. Once cleaned, running proceeded as usual, with Nico Hulkenberg eventually ending on top of the timesheet amidst last minute improvements.
Nico Rosberg was a very close second, just 0.052s slower than his countryman. Behind the two, Sebastian Vettel was third fastest at 6 tenths, followed by Sergio Perez in the second Sahara Force India.
Daniel Ricciardo led the Renault powered runners, even though they are still running the original spec engines. The French engine manufacturer had earlier planned to spend its 12 remaining development tokens to upgrades in Sochi, but that update has been postponed towards the USA Grand Prix.
Times are however not representative this session, as the shortened session also initially a wet session due to the fierce cleaning actions of the marshalls to get the track clear of diesel to get into racing. Ironically, the diesel was spilled from a track cleaning truck that lapped the circuit earlier in the morning, leaving traces mostly at Turn 8.
A lot of drivers initially went out on intermediates, and it took a while until laptimes were recorded. Alonso was the first to do so, even though it was still difficult to get competitive, especially as some drops of rain made things additionally difficult.
Conditions eventuallly improved towards the end, with Hulkenberg making best use of the last moment to enjoy the best track conditions.
FP2 later today is expected to be run in similarly wet conditions.
|1||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:44.355||-||11|
|2||6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:44.407||+0.052s||15|
|4||11||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:45.146||+0.791s||11|
|5||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing||1:45.233||+0.878s||10|
|6||55||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:45.488||+1.133s||13|
|7||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:45.691||+1.336s||10|
|9||33||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:46.203||+1.848s||13|
|15||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1||1:48.006||+3.651s||9|
|16||26||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Racing||1:48.096||+3.741s||9|
|17||30||Jolyon Palmer||Lotus F1||1:49.094||+4.739s||9|