Valtteri Bottas set the practice pace on Friday for Russian Grand Prix. It could see Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton equal Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91 Formula One wins.
Bottas was the quickest in both of the sessions. Hamilton ended the day second overall, 0.267 seconds slower. Tyre problems in the morning had left him at the 19th position.
It was the sixth race weekend in a row that he had topped the first session timesheets. Mercedes again looked like the team to beat.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo signalled towards the emerging threat from Renault. It had the second fastest time in the morning and third in the afternoon.
The Russian Grand Prix will be the first race with a significant number of fans present amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Organisers had aimed for a crowd of about 30,000 people. They stated that all tickets were sold out.
Mercedes has won every race at the Sochi circuit since the first in 2014. Six-time World champion Hamilton has proved to be triumphant on four occasions out of the six.