Vettel keeps Ferrari on top with record-breaking pace

2017 Russian Grand Prix second practice

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Sebastian Vettel set a new record lap time around the Sochi Autodrom as he kept Ferrari on top in the second practice session for the Russian Grand Prix.

Vettel’s best lap of 1’34.120 on ultra-soft tyres was 1.2 seconds faster than the previous record, set by Nico Rosberg during Q2 last year.

Russian Grand Prix practice in pictures
Mercedes seemed unable to approach the pace set by the two Ferrari drivers. Valtteri Bottas was the quickest of the silver team’s cars in third place behind Kimi Raikkonen, over six-tenths of a second off Vettel’s pace. Lewis Hamilton was just a few hundredths behind but complained of a lack of grip on the ultra-soft tyres.

Red Bull occupied their usual ‘best of the rest’ position but Max Verstappen was almost one-and-a-half seconds off the pace. Reliability was a concern as well, as Verstappen’s car came to a stop before the end of the session.

Nico Hulkenberg put in another good showing for Renault, claiming a place well inside the top ten. Kevin Magnussen got his Haas up to ninth but both the team’s drivers raised concerns about braking performance. Romain Grosjean complained vociferously about his car’s inconsistent behaviour in the braking zones and spun at one point.

The quickest McLaren was Fernando Alonso’s car in 12th position. Team mate Stoffel Vandoorne will take a penalty on the grid for Sunday’s race following another power unit components change.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
15Sebastian VettelFerrari1’34.12036
27Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’34.3830.26336
377Valtteri BottasMercedes1’34.7900.67036
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’34.8290.70934
533Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’35.5401.42015
63Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’35.9101.79026
719Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’36.2612.14139
827Nico HulkenbergRenault1’36.3292.20938
920Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’36.5062.38631
1011Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’36.6002.48038
1131Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’36.6542.53439
1214Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’36.7652.64527
1330Jolyon PalmerRenault1’36.7712.65122
148Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’37.0392.91931
1555Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’37.0832.96336
162Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda1’37.1253.00525
1726Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’37.3003.18035
1894Pascal WehrleinSauber-Ferrari1’37.4413.32130
1918Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’37.7473.62736
209Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’37.8193.69929

Second practice visual gaps

Sebastian Vettel – 1’34.120

+0.263 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’34.383

+0.670 Valtteri Bottas – 1’34.790

+0.709 Lewis Hamilton – 1’34.829

+1.420 Max Verstappen – 1’35.540

+1.790 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’35.910

+2.141 Felipe Massa – 1’36.261

+2.209 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’36.329

+2.386 Kevin Magnussen – 1’36.506

+2.480 Sergio Perez – 1’36.600

+2.534 Esteban Ocon – 1’36.654

+2.645 Fernando Alonso – 1’36.765

+2.651 Jolyon Palmer – 1’36.771

+2.919 Romain Grosjean – 1’37.039

+2.963 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’37.083

+3.005 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’37.125

+3.180 Daniil Kvyat – 1’37.300

+3.321 Pascal Wehrlein – 1’37.441

+3.627 Lance Stroll – 1’37.747

+3.699 Marcus Ericsson – 1’37.819

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

Drivers’ best times by tyre

Select column heading to sort.

DriverTeamBest ultra-soft timeUltra-soft gapBest super-soft timeSuper-soft gapBest soft timeSoft gap
Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’34.8290.7091’35.710None
Valtteri BottasMercedes1’34.7900.671’36.2830.573None
Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1’35.9101.791’36.2240.514None
Max VerstappenRed Bull1’35.5401.421’37.0071.297None
Sebastian VettelFerrari1’34.1201’36.5240.814None
Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’34.3830.2631’35.9800.27None
Sergio PerezForce India1’36.6002.481’37.1741.464None
Esteban OconForce India1’36.6542.5341’37.5411.831None
Felipe MassaWilliams1’36.2612.1411’36.8371.127None
Lance StrollWilliamsNone1’37.8612.151None
Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1’36.7652.6451’37.8202.11None
Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1’37.1253.0051’37.9452.235None
Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso1’37.0832.963None1’38.214
Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1’37.3003.181’37.9882.278None
Romain GrosjeanHaas1’37.0392.9191’38.4212.711None
Kevin MagnussenHaas1’36.5062.3861’37.7912.081None
Nico HulkenbergRenault1’36.3292.2091’37.6291.919None
Jolyon PalmerRenault1’36.7712.6511’38.5212.811None
Marcus EricssonSauber1’37.8193.6991’39.9624.252None
Pascal WehrleinSauber1’37.4413.3211’38.7393.029None

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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41 comments on “Vettel keeps Ferrari on top with record-breaking pace”

  1. Now, now sports fans! Let’s not get into a “tastes great – less filling” driver contest. Hamilton and Vettel are both world class drivers as well as their respective team mates. It looks like Kmag is not letting the brake situation hold him back. He showed excellent pace today! Grosjean, on the other hand is still fighting with his breaks. He said the Brembo brakes used the last race were pretty good. They should not have wasted time with today’s brake drama and just kept the Brembo brakes.

  2. Pierre Racien
    28th April 2017, 14:55

    Jesus… Lance Stroll second to last, miles from Massa, AGAIN. Yes, it’s only practice but, I mean, this guy has to up his game and fast because his reputation at some point will not recover from this awfull beginning. The guy doesn’t seem to make any progress since Melbourne. If he fails again in the race ( either by a race accident or bad racing) I’m not sure he will eventually recover from this…

    1. He was the only one not running the ultra softs, so that’s a little unfair don’t you think?

      1. @svennheiser His best super-soft time was a second off Massa’s, though. Curious that he didn’t do a run on ultra-softs, they seemed to have time to. Perhaps they’re expecting big track evolution before tomorrow.

        1. I stand corrected. Wouldn’t get my hopes up with the F1 track evolution theory though!

        2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) It is the kid’s first visit to Sochi so it is possible that it will take a little time to learn the track. Lets wait and see what the outcome is after qualifying and then we can make a more informed judgment of his performance. Also it is only his 4th race in a new formula and car so I would give him half a season to come good. Massa has known Lance since he was very young and rates him as a very competent racer so something in the way of talent must have given him that impression.

          1. Agreed, would you send him out on quicker rubber? The guy needs testing miles, current regs suck when it comes to new drivers

          2. I don’t agree ‘new regs’ aren’t good for new drivers. A big part of being talented is adapting to a new car in one or two races, not half a season, or even a ‘first rookie season’. Boys like Verstappen or Sainz didn’t need half a season to get up to speed. Even Kevin Magnussen (who many don’t rate that high anymore) was on it in his first race, and there’s a couple more examples of recent rookies.

            Now, Stroll hasn’t had the best of luck either but I don’t honestly put him in the same drawer with Palmer as the two worst drivers on the grid.

  3. Ferrari looking mighty fast!

  4. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    28th April 2017, 15:30

    It seems Haas problems with brakes don’t depend on the manufacturer after all. They need a solution fast. And especially considering how dangerous turn 2 can become if a car from the back can’t manage to brake. Reminds me of Grosjean’s infamous crash at Spa. Let’s hope he doesn’t get another one this week.
    About race pace, this is going to be exciting again, despite the track. Ferrari the fastest in super softs and Mercedes the fastest on softs. Pitstops and strategy will be absolutely crucial again.

    1. Does anyone know why Haas is having so much more trouble with their brakes than everyone else?

      1. They had brake problems last year too which caused several of Romain’s crashes.

  5. What were the temps like? Mercedes seem to be in a bit of trouble if Raikkonen is heading them and it was not really hot. It suggests that the pace is truly there for Ferrari now. They better burn some oil in Q3 tomorrow.

    1. Yes its interesting the FIA are addressing the use of burning oil as fuel, particularly as its not supposed to be happening?

  6. Big gaps between teams at the top, not looking good for a race.

  7. Interesting to see Ferrari do well but I would be cautiously optimistic about it. Ferrari are good in FP sessions generally. In the Q3, Mercedes switch on their “Super engine” mode which makes competition look bad. As long as that engine mode exists all excitement about the a great qualifying is just theoretical.

    1. @tmax Well, I never thought I’d say this but I actually hope Merc has another engine mode to turn up tomorrow because we’d otherwise would be in for a very boring race weekend.

      1. @jeffreyj Dont you want to see Toto wolff bang his fists on that table hard seeing Merc trailing a competitor car by a few seconds !!!!! like good old days (pre 2014) :)

        well….. Personally i think Merc might be sandbagging a little bit to show that they are trailing only to come back from behind and put up a great show !!!!! They are not as slow as the numbers on the FP2 shows.

  8. Red Bull 1.5secs off Ferrari time, looks a difficult weekend for the team again.

    1. Who would have thought that last year?!

  9. Well, that’s interesting.
    Bottas and Verstappen are faster that their teammates on Ultras but Hamilton and Ricciardo are faster on Supersofts. On Ferrari’s case, Raikkonen is faster than Vettel on Supersofts. And it gets more intriguing because on two of these occasions (VER-RIC on ultras and RAI-VET on supersofts) the gaps between teammates are huge.
    I know each of them has their own setup but it’s really difficult for me to explain this big difference on lap times.

    1. faster *than

      1. Weren’t some of Ferrari’s times set with different fuel loads?

    2. Vettel had traffic on supersofts. That’s all.

      1. Weren’t some of Ferrari’s times set with different fuel loads?

        Vettel had traffic on supersofts. That’s all.

        I don’t know about fuel loads. None of us knows actually. But they do have the same amount of laps and it would be quite odd to claim that Vettel’s best time on supersofts was “limited” by traffic. Just saying.

        1. It was limited by mistakes and not traffic!

          1. it may be a good sign for Vettel, that he’s pushing to find the limits of the car. I recall he often would have some issue at various tracks back with Red Bull, especially in 2010 and 2011, when he had offs in FP. Turkey and Suzuka come to mind. But I think there were a few others.

  10. And again Max is not able to do a proper long run because of a car failure.

    Hopefully he can do it tomorrow

  11. I a man really impressed by the number of drivers carrying the #billywhizz on their cars or helmets… It’s good to see the cross formula support for the young driver.

    Looking forward to quali tomorrow to see if the Ferrari have another second or so to gain…

  12. There are so many variables during these practice sessions that the times really mean very little. Fuel loads, traffic, drivers testing their cars’ behaviour to suit their driving style and so on. No point in getting too excited till the Qualifying sessions.

    Having said that, glad that the Ferraris look competitive ;)

  13. Racerdude7730
    28th April 2017, 20:38

    Love how mec isn’t just dominating this year. This weeks predictions arnt easy. It’s stressful being in 1st place lol. I’m used to being mid pack with zero pressure

    1. I’ve always wondered what the mentality would be being number 1 haha

      Thanks for sharing a piece of your mind,

      I’m in the mid pack, hopefully can take home the steering wheel by the end.

      1. Racerdude7730
        28th April 2017, 23:38

        It definitely feels diff because it’s an educated guessing game so no matter how much you study it’s not always going to help. Hope you can get to the top one day. It’s a cool feeling

    2. Just take it one race at a time. It worked for Rosberg :-)

  14. Impressive, Sainz fastest on Softs.

  15. That Ferrari looks to be a deeper red to me. Like when Kimi drove for them at his first stint with Ferrari.

  16. I’m baffled I was not aware the importance of aero in this track, I know there are many 90º corners that put emphasis in downforce and balance nevertheless impressive the cars have been much quicker than last year. I’m also baffled that because of this downforce requirement Ferrari is actually looking far better than I ever imagined.

    1. @peartree T3, T6 and T7 require lots of momentum and downforce and I think the entire third sector requires the increased mechanical grip and balance from the wider tyres this year. I’d expect a good step up from last year in terms of laptime.

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