FP1: Vettel narrowly ahead of Verstappen

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Russia, Sochi International Street Circuitru

The Russian Grand Prix weekend kicked off with first practice at Sochi and saw Sebastian Vettel go fastest. The German was just 0.05s quicker than Max Verstappen, who later said that Red Bull found their car to be working better than expected.

Still, Red Bull is no contender for pole position for Sunday's race, as race and gearbox penalties will see both cars dropped down towards the back of the grid.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton ended up third fastest, 3 tenths down on the pace-setting Ferrari and ahead of his team mate at Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest, even though he managed just 11 laps before he returned to the pits with smoke coming out of the back of his car. While his Renault engine seemed to be still running, the likely culprit was a gearbox issue, triggering Red Bull to remove the car's floor and investigate.

Esteban Ocon - who is still without a seat for 2019 - was 6th fastest, topping the second Ferrari of Kimi Räikkönen. Magnussen and Hulkenberg were next up. Sauber's new signing for next year, Antonio Giovinazzi, completed the top 10. The Italian will likely be satisfied by his performance, topping Charles Leclerc in the other Sauber by 4 tenths.

Other Friday drivers were Lando Norris, as he used Stoffel Vandoorne's McLaren in preparation for 2019. At Renault, Artem Markelov was given his Friday chance at his home Grand Prix as Nicholas Latifi sidelined Sergio Perez at Racing Point Force India.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
15Sebastian VettelFerrari1:34.488-19
233Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:34.538+0.050s22
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:34.818+0.330s23
477Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:34.999+0.511s28
53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:35.524+1.036s11
631Esteban OconForce India Mercedes1:35.663+1.175s24
77Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:35.696+1.208s19
820Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:36.196+1.708s21
927Nico HulkenbergRenault1:36.274+1.786s18
1036Antonio GiovinazziSauber Ferrari1:36.712+2.224s22
118Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:36.816+2.328s23
1210Pierre GaslyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:36.944+2.456s25
1347Lando NorrisMcLaren Renault1:37.022+2.534s25
1416Charles LeclercSauber Ferrari1:37.054+2.566s24
1546Artem MarkelovRenault1:37.183+2.695s22
162Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Renault1:37.187+2.699s27
1734Nicholas LatifiForce India Mercedes1:37.206+2.718s24
1835Sergey SirotkinWilliams Mercedes1:37.225+2.737s25
1928Brendon HartleyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:37.944+3.456s28
2018Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes1:39.137+4.649s13