The weather forecast for this weekend continues to change. The rain now seems to come on Saturday and Sunday, but today it is still dry. On the dry track, Mercedes is very fast in this 1st free practice of the 2021 GP of Russia. This is one of Valtteri Bottas’ favorite tracks and he is the fastest driver to date.
Especially in the first sector, Verstappen has to lose out to the Mercedes. The first part of the track is mainly about the long straight and top speed. So it seems that the Red Bull is driving with slightly more downforce than the Mercedes. There are two possible reasons why Red Bull chooses this.
The first is that a lot of rain is expected, and in the rain you need more downforce because there is less grip on the track. But even when it gets dry, the downforce can be useful. If Verstappen takes grid penalties for a new engine, he does not have to drive a strong qualifying. Then more downforce can be better for tire wear because you skid and slide less. A good tire strategy could help Verstappen with a possible catch-up race.
1st free practice of the Russian GP 2021
01. Valtteri Bottas
02. Lewis Hamilton
03. Max Verstappen
04. Charles Leclerc
05. Sebastian Vettel
Dates and times of the 2021 Russian GP
Friday September 24, 2021
2nd free practice: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Saturday September 25, 2021
3rd free practice: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Qualification: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 26, 2021
Race: 2:00 p.m.