Valtteri Bottas fastest in second Russia practice

Formula 1

Valtteri Bottas set the pace ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second practice at the Russian Grand Prix despite scruffy sessions for both Mercedes drivers.

The Finn was top by 0.267secs despite sliding wide at the final corner, while Hamilton abandoned what would have been his own best lap after an error.

Hamilton locked a front wheel into Turn 13 and just avoided the barrier.

Bottas was a second ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo in third and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris.

Red Bull appeared to be struggling. Max Verstappen was only seventh fastest after a spin, behind Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and 1.5secs off the pace, while his team-mate Alex Albon was a further 0.5secs back in 12th place.

Behind Verstappen, the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were eighth and 10th, sandwiching Renault’s Esteban Ocon.

Mercedes appeared to be in a league of their own, while Red Bull, usually their closest rivals, appeared to have work to do.

Mercedes’ advantage was also pronounced on the long runs later in the session.

While the session was running, F1 announced that the sport is to have a new boss, confirming the appointment of former Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali as president and chief executive officer, starting in January.

Chase Carey, the chairman and chief executive since January 2017 when the sport was taken over by US group Liberty Media, will become non-executive chairman.

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