Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2018

Hamilton half a second clear of Vettel in second practice

2018 Russian Grand Prix second practice

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Lewis Hamilton led a comfortable Mercedes one-two in the second practice session for the Russian Grand Prix with the closest Ferrari half a second behind.

Having avoided the hyper-soft tyres during the first practice session, the silver cars ran them for the first time in the afternoon and ended up conclusively faster than their rivals. Hamilton was four-tenths of a second quicker than the Red Bulls, who will not be in contention for pole position due to their power unit change penalties.

The Ferrari pair were next, Sebastian Vettel half a second slower than his championship rival and Kimi Raikkonen almost as much behind his team mate.

Most of the front-runners sampled the hyper-soft and ultra-soft tyres during their subsequent high-fuel runs. Raikkonen bucked the trend, however, trying one of his two sets of soft tyres.

Both Force India drivers made it into the top 10, led by Sergio Perez and split by Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso. Brendon Hartley could only manage 16th in the team’s other car, admitting he wasn’t able to carry as much speed mid-corner as his team mate.

Marcus Ericsson, who sat out first practice as Antonio Giovinazzi was in his car, completed the top 10. Team mate Charles Leclerc, who had been unhappy with his car in first practice, continued to want for pace in the second session.

The McLaren pair were slower than everyone bar the Williams drivers. The two drivers again practiced sharing slipstreams to improve each others’ lap times.

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Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’33.38535
277Valtteri BottasMercedes1’33.5840.19933
333Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’33.8270.44232
43Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’33.8440.45937
55Sebastian VettelFerrari1’33.9280.54333
67Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’34.3881.00331
711Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’35.1221.73730
810Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’35.1371.75228
931Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’35.1471.76233
109Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’35.2951.91035
1120Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’35.3311.94633
1255Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’35.3411.95637
1316Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’35.4322.04732
1427Nico HulkenbergRenault1’35.5682.18335
158Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’35.9112.52635
1628Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’36.0242.63929
1714Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’36.0742.68934
182Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’36.6173.23231
1935Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’36.8613.47639
2018Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’37.0013.61635

Second practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’33.385

+0.199 Valtteri Bottas – 1’33.584

+0.442 Max Verstappen – 1’33.827

+0.459 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’33.844

+0.543 Sebastian Vettel – 1’33.928

+1.003 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’34.388

+1.737 Sergio Perez – 1’35.122

+1.752 Pierre Gasly – 1’35.137

+1.762 Esteban Ocon – 1’35.147

+1.910 Marcus Ericsson – 1’35.295

+1.946 Kevin Magnussen – 1’35.331

+1.956 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’35.341

+2.047 Charles Leclerc – 1’35.432

+2.183 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’35.568

+2.526 Romain Grosjean – 1’35.911

+2.639 Brendon Hartley – 1’36.024

+2.689 Fernando Alonso – 1’36.074

+3.232 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’36.617

+3.476 Sergey Sirotkin – 1’36.861

+3.616 Lance Stroll – 1’37.001

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2018 Russian Grand Prix

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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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36 comments on “Hamilton half a second clear of Vettel in second practice”

  1. This pace difference was ‘obvious’ from the first session with Mercedes close (HAM 0.3 off VET’s pace) on much slower tyres. So I guess the question is whether Ferrari are now sandbagging or in free fall…

  2. I don’t know why, I just never look forward to the Russian GP. Every other race on the calendar, I am usually excited for, with varying levels, but the Russian GP is one that I actually seem to really dislike. Mainly down to the track I suppose. It’s the worst layout on the calendar in my opinion, and it produces terrible racing and strategy. The track is honestly so bland, both in how it flows and looks. It’s like Valencia without the scenery and the fast corners.

    1. I get what you mean. Monaco and Baku have provided ‘some’ excitement over the years and even some good races on occasion.

      Russia is like Valencia with more interesting scenery. Where the excitement has been limited to a handful of moments in otherwise dull races.

      1. @nikkit So did this venue back in 2015.

      2. @nikkit Personally, Valencia had a far better scenery than Russia in my opinion. You had beaches and the sea and so on, and it was colorful. Russia is basically all light blue and grey.

    2. I dunno, I quite like the track, at least to drive on the F1 games. Especially the end of the first sector and the middle sector, I love that section of corners.

      1. Valencia was the same in the f1 games.

        Was brilliant fun to drive.

    3. Personaly, I dislike Silverstone track.
      History of this track involves a lot of disputes, unnecessary corrections of the fastest track in f1 circuit, including unpredictable track changed the day before race to help privilaged driver.
      Accidents are numerous.
      A dispute between Silverstone’s owners, the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), and the Formula One authorities in 2003 over the funding of necessary improvements to the track’s facilities led to doubts over the future of the race.
      Then, the 2003 event was disrupted by a defrocked priest, Cornelius Horan, who ran onto the Hangar Straight during the race while cars were coming at him at 160+ mph.
      1999 event when world champion Michael Schumacher crashed heavily at Stowe; he broke his leg, missed many races and this put him out of championship.
      After the tragedies of Imola in 1994, a chicane was installed at the flat-out Abbey corner 6 weeks before the event was due to take place and Stowe corner was corrected.
      This layout is terrible.
      Authorities do not know to do technical part of the job and their constant corrections of the track are proof of their inferiority and on top of that, they lack money..funds…
      How does the future of f1 British Grand Prix Silverstone look like?

      1. Cheap shot. But enjoy the rest of the season.😉 hugs and kisses from Britain.

        1. Regards from Europe. Sea is between us, luckily.

      2. Silverstone is the home of F1, it’s perceive by many of the drivers to be one of the best tracks to drive, it’s been on the calender since the first F1 race in 1950.

        The future of the British grand prix is as it’s always been since F1 began. Always on the calender and a unmissable race for the drivers and the teams.

  3. Still, two more tenths to go.

  4. Further indication of Ferrari’s superiority

    1. Fastest car on the grid.

      Not the fastest driver in the seat. ;)

      1. Not the fastest driver in the seat. ;)

        By 0.5sec or more?!?! Get real.

        1. Overconfident Ferrari back to sandbagging Friday practice… Again…

          1. Came back just to say to you: you’re wrong AGAIN! 1-2 for Mercedes, by more than 0.5sec!!!

      2. I wonder who is the fastest one for this guy.
        If it’s not Verstappen, than it’s not even worth the talk.

    2. It will be well deserved if Mercedes has surpassed them again as the best car as they failed miserably to get the results to mount a real challenge when they had their shot at the win in 5 straight races being the fastest team and winning only 2 mainly due to their own mistakes.

    3. @johnmilk I realize you’re being sarcastic but Ferrari did have a faster car earlier in the season. Apparently no longer. Which means that they singularly failed to capitalize on that advantage. Had they done so, they’d be in the lead now and Mercedes would be having to catch up.

      1. @david-br, the thing is, as recently as the Belgian GP we saw Vettel and Raikkonen taking a pretty comfortable clean sweep of all the practise sessions between then, with Vettel then going on to take a pretty easy victory, not to mention seeing an all Ferrari front row in Monza two races ago. I wouldn’t write off the same combination of car and driver that was winning just a couple of races ago in such a hasty manner…

        It seems a lot more like the real problems have been strategic and organisational ones, and in particular poor strategic choices – in particular, their choice of a rather limited stock of the medium and harder compounds during a race weekend that leave them without enough data for their race simulations.

        A few races could quite easily have gone a different way too – Singapore might have looked rather different if Vettel had run his preferred strategy, not to mention that Vettel’s final qualifying lap was actually pretty poor (he made multiple mistakes in the section from Turn 10 to 13, with a particularly bad lock up in 13). The real problem seems to be more of a collective failing of the team to get the most out of their strategies and with setting up the car, along with some errors on the part of their drivers, rather than with the car itself.

        1. I agree it’s a bit premature to declare for sure, more a case that Mercedes are on a clear upward curve. Ferrari, it’s difficult to tell.

  5. Let’s see what the qualifying sim runs are like in Q3, it looks like Mercedes have understood and improved their car from Singapore onwards. Ferrari not maximising points when they had the car advantage will really hurt now IF Mercedes have nosed past them in the development race in the last third of the season.

    Has been a trait of Ferrari in recent seasons, to not match competitors car performance development, let’s see what Saturday brings.

    1. @ju88sy +1 Driver and team errors also put them under pressure, which, in their case, doesn’t seem to have a positive effect.

  6. I think Vettel was playing with his sector times. It didn’t look like he was really trying to hard.

  7. Best place where Mercedes can change their engine for lesser cost than other circuits, it’s better than a DNF, and even if Lewis does not score a single point he will be still leading with a fresh engine, just my thought, too soon to predict but it will be extremely hard for Ferrari to be back if it screws up this one.

    1. If you ask me, the WDC is over. VET/Ferrari might reduce the points gap, but statistically speaking it’s almost impossible for VET to turn things around. His car doesn’t have the speed, plus we shall see how the reliability/grid penalties battle unfolds too, who’s gonna win that too.

      1. His car had the speed and he didn’t capitalize.

      2. I don’t think anyone asked you @mg1982 so it looks like the WDC is still on. There’s still 150 points available so it’s no where near over yet. Ca

  8. If ever a ‘visual gaps’ graphic demonstrated the problem in F1.

  9. You have to hand it to Mercedes, they’ve proved year after year that they certainly know what it takes to build a championship winning car. The focus it must take from all the engineers and team leaders to keep it going for all these years is incredible.

    1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      28th September 2018, 18:13

      Agreed. Especially with their rear brake drum / wheel rim heat sink mod sorting out their tyre temp Achilles heel. We saw that work very effectively in Monza and Singapore. They’ve figured this car out now.

  10. In my book this was always a Mercedes circuit (as Yas Marina) , with low grip, smooth tarmac and these horrible of camber turns. So im not surprised. It will be really hard to Vettel step up his game here, let’s see what he can do, it’s in the adversity that the great ones prevail, it’s up to him now.

  11. The real question is what Spec honda engine is in Gasly’s car?!

  12. Lol crazy.

    Look at those gaps. And we all know Hamilton will kick it up a notch for quali. And then kick it up another notch for the race.

  13. Very weird thing, even test drivers are faster than Vandoorne… FP1 Norris faster, FP2 Alo faster as usual… is vandoorne over rated?

Comments are closed.