Russian GP FP2 Report: Valtteri Bottas Potentially Sets the Grid for Sunday’s F1 Race at Sochi

Published 09/24/2021, 9:08 AM EDT
Motor racing – Formula One – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 24, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during practice REUTERS/Anton Vaganov


Round 15 of the ongoing F1 season sees 20 of the best F1 drivers take part in the Russian GP this weekend. With tomorrow’s forecast indicating rain, the second practice session at the Sochi Autodrom took on more importance than expected.

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Mercedes and Red Bull resumed their battle at the top of the timesheets, while a red flag marred Antonio Giovinazzi’s session.

Mercedes continue to dominate in FP2 at the Russian GP

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The Silver Arrows arrive to this track as the only team to win the Russian Grand Prix since 2014. And once again, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton put on a stellar performance to top the timesheets.

Motor racing – Formula One – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 24, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during practice REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

Bottas continued to build momentum at one of his strongest tracks, putting in a lap just 0.044s faster than Hamilton. While they had a strong session, Red Bull struggled to make a mark as Max Verstappen could only manage P6. With the Dutchman set to serve an engine penalty on Sunday, this result might not be what he hoped for.

His teammate Sergio Perez finished further back in P11. Although they may seem to be on the back foot, expect the Austrian outfit to bring the fight to Mercedes.

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Antonio Giovinazzi suffers heavy crash in FP2

The Italian, who is fighting to keep his seat at Alfa Romeo in 2022, suffered a crash with a little over 20 minutes to go for the session. The crash damaged his rear wing, and may not augur well for his chances to keep his seat for next year.

Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 24, 2021 Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi after crashing out of practice REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Pierre Gasly produced a stunning lap to finish P3, behind both Mercedes cars. While Red Bull may have struggled, the Frenchman’s performance shows Honda’s engine can do well. McLaren’s Lando Norris finished P4 to mark the British outfit’s capability.

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Esteban Ocon took P5 while his teammate Fernando Alonso finished P8. Despite Charles Leclerc getting a new power unit, he could only finish 10th, while his teammate Carlos Sainz finishing P7.

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Sanket Nair

801 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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