Russian Grand Prix | Bottas bests teammate Hamilton in practice

Man with a mission: Bottas, searching for a maiden win this season, made his intentions clear on Friday.  

Valtteri Bottas led teammate Lewis Hamilton at the top of the time-sheets as Mercedes dominated the opening day of Formula One practice for the Russian Grand Prix, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set to start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid.

Bottas, who led Hamilton in both of Friday’s sessions, ended the day with a fastest time of one minute 33.593 seconds, with the Briton just 0.044 seconds behind.

Inviting a penalty

Hamilton’s hopes of finally clinching a landmark 100th win and possibly retaking the championship lead received a boost, with Red Bull opting to fit title rival and championship leader Verstappen’s car with a fresh engine that triggered penalties.

The Dutchman, who leads Hamilton by five points in the overall standings and was already carrying a three-place grid penalty for a crash that took both drivers out of the last race in Monza, was third and sixth quickest, respectively, in Friday’s two sessions.

Bottas, a Sochi specialist who took his maiden Formula One victory at the track in 2017, is targeting his first win of the season.

Pierre Gasly was third quickest for AlphaTauri, but he lost his front wing after going over the kerbs in the closing seconds of the session.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 2:06:35 PM |

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