Ferrari’s Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc competes during the first practice session for the Formula One Russian Grand Prix at The Sochi Autodrom Circuit. (Photo: AFP/Dimitar Dilkoff) The two ‘new generation’ rivals, both 21, outpaced Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, the team that has dominated all five previous events held at the Sochi Autodrom by the Black Sea. Dutchman Verstappen, who is set to take a five-place grid penalty for using a new engine, clocked a best lap in one minute and 33.162 seconds to outpace the in-form Monegasque driver, winner of the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix, by 0.335 seconds on a cool and dry afternoon. Bottas was six-tenths adrift in third just one-tenth ahead of Hamilton with Sebastian Vettel, who ended 13 months without a win by triumphing in Singapore last Sunday, fifth in the second Ferrari ahead of Pierry Gasly in a Toro Rosso. Sergio Perez was seventh for Racing Point ahead of Nico Hulkenberg of Renault, Lance Stroll in the second Racing Point and Red Bull new boy Alex Albon, who endured a frustrating day punctuated by technical problems. For the Mercedes team, the two Friday sessions confirmed their own prognosis that they are lacking… Read full this story
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