Valtteri Bottas paced both Formula 1 practice sessions for the Russian Grand Prix on Friday. (LAT Images Photo)
Valtteri Bottas paced both Formula 1 practice sessions for the Russian Grand Prix on Friday. (LAT Images Photo)

Bottas Paces Russian Grand Prix Practice

SOCHI, Russia – Valtteri Bottas led both Russian Grand Prix practice sessions Friday at the Sochi Autodrom.

The Mercedes driver led teammate and championship contender Lewis Hamilton in both sessions, putting down a fast lap 1:33.593 during the second practice to top the overall charts. Hamilton followed with a 1:33.637 lap.

“If you look at the timings and based on my own feeling in the car, it was a good day,” Bottas said. “From the first run, I had confidence in the car and the balance was very good so I could focus on my driving, looking for small gains. Tomorrow looks like it will be wet, so it’ll be a completely different experience. The main thing is the car feels good on the long runs so that’s encouraging for Sunday which should be dry. I really find my flow on this track and I enjoy it – when the car works well here, it’s great fun to drive.”

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was third fastest overall, followed by McLaren’s Lando Norris and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

Championship leader Max Verstappen was third and sixth in the two practice sessions, but will start at the rear of the grid Sunday after changing an engine. It is his fourth engine change of the season.

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