Hulkenberg fastest at Sochi in shortened session

By on
F1 Grand Prix, GP Russia, Sochi International Street Circuitru

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.

Results

Pos.No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps
127Nico HulkenbergForce India1:44.355-11
26Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:44.407+0.052s15
35Sebastian VettelFerrari1:44.986+0.631s15
411Sergio PerezForce India1:45.146+0.791s11
53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:45.233+0.878s10
655Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:45.488+1.133s13
744Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:45.691+1.336s10
877Valtteri BottasWilliams1:45.746+1.391s13
933Max VerstappenToro Rosso1:46.203+1.848s13
107Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:46.215+1.860s16
1122Jenson ButtonMclaren1:46.231+1.876s12
1219Felipe MassaWilliams1:46.333+1.978s12
1312Felipe NasrSauber1:46.747+2.392s13
1414Fernando AlonsoMclaren1:47.443+3.088s16
1513Pastor MaldonadoLotus F11:48.006+3.651s9
1626Daniil KvyatRed Bull Racing1:48.096+3.741s9
1730Jolyon PalmerLotus F11:49.094+4.739s9
1898Roberto MerhiMarussia1:52.994+8.639s12
199Marcus EricssonSauber1:54.272+9.917s12
2028Will StevensMarussia1:58.254+13.899s6