Max Verstappen set the third fastest time on the Sochi circuit during the first free practice session for the Russian Grand Prix. The Dutch Formula 1 driver was just over 0.2 seconds slower in his Red Bull than Valtteri Bottas, who was the fastest man of the morning session in the Mercedes.
Verstappen was 1 hundredth of a second behind his great rival Lewis Hamilton. He is 5 points ahead of the British defending champion Mercedes in the World Cup standings. A second training session will be held later on Friday. On Saturday, after the third free practice, qualifying for Sunday’s race, which starts at 2 p.m. Dutch time.
Verstappen gets a grid penalty in Russia. He has to be three places back on the grid because he has been blamed for the collision with Hamilton two weeks ago during the Italian GP.
The first training took place under sunny conditions in Sochi. That will be different on Saturday, the organization expects. Then a large amount of rain is expected.