Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

Hamilton fastest as Sochi bumps catch drivers out

2020 Russian Grand Prix third practice

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Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in third practice at Sochi Autodrom, leading team mate Valtteri Bottas for the first time this weekend.

Unlike in second practice the Mercedes drivers were less than a second clear of their rivals. Nonetheless they remained comfortably quicker than the opposition, which was led by Carlos Sainz Jnr and Esteban Ocon.

The track was around 10C hotter than yesterday, and continued to catch drivers out, particularly in places where it has become bumpier since last year. Hamilton and Bottas both made errors into turn seven, the scene of Sainz’s hefty crash during the first practice session, and Bottas ended the session further off his team mate than usual having failed to set a clean flying lap.

A visible bump in the track has developed at turn 15, where multiple drivers went off the track. At the end of the session Daniil Kvyat, ninth-fastest for AlphaTauri, reported on his radio he was surprised by the “quite deep” dip.

His team mate Pierre Gasly was among those to be caught out by it, pirouetting to a stop. Later in the session Romain Grosjean, who conducted a vigorous back-and-forth with his engineer on the radio about the shortcomings of his car’s handling, also spun at turn 15. “I have no words” he remarked as he rejoined.

Ocon had struggled to match Daniel Ricciardo’s times in first and second practice but was substantially quicker this morning, beating his team mate by over half a second despite complaining about some issues with traffic. He was aided by Ricciardo suffering a problem with his right-hand wing mirror, which he held on to with his left hand at one point, disrupting his flying lap. Harsh vibrations cause by a kerb appeared to cause the mirror to work loose.

In a typically tight midfield, Sergio Perez put his Racing Point fifth, fractionally ahead of Max Verstappen who remained unhappy with his Red Bull’s balance. Sebastian Vettel finally had a more productive outing in the Ferrari, setting the seventh-fastest time, though a few tenths shy of Verstappen.

Lando Norris was first out on track at the start of the session in his McLaren. While he is the only one of the team’s drivers who will continue to use their new nose and front wing, he did not set a particularly competitive time. He ended the session last behind Alexander Albon, who fell foul of track limits restrictions and had a lap time deleted.

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2020 Russian Grand Prix third practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’33.27916
277Valtteri BottasMercedes1’34.0550.77619
355Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’34.0960.81717
431Esteban OconRenault1’34.2390.96013
511Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’34.2520.97314
633Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’34.3061.02711
75Sebastian VettelFerrari1’34.5941.31514
818Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’34.7321.45313
926Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri-Honda1’34.7681.48914
103Daniel RicciardoRenault1’34.7871.50812
1110Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’34.7921.51312
1216Charles LeclercFerrari1’34.8061.52714
1363George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’34.9791.70016
148Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’35.2571.97814
156Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’35.2922.01314
1620Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’35.4512.17214
1799Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’35.5902.31115
187Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’35.5992.32015
1923Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’35.6032.32414
204Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’35.9812.70217

Third practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’33.279

+0.776 Valtteri Bottas – 1’34.055

+0.817 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’34.096

+0.960 Esteban Ocon – 1’34.239

+0.973 Sergio Perez – 1’34.252

+1.027 Max Verstappen – 1’34.306

+1.315 Sebastian Vettel – 1’34.594

+1.453 Lance Stroll – 1’34.732

+1.489 Daniil Kvyat – 1’34.768

+1.508 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’34.787

+1.513 Pierre Gasly – 1’34.792

+1.527 Charles Leclerc – 1’34.806

+1.700 George Russell – 1’34.979

+1.978 Romain Grosjean – 1’35.257

+2.013 Nicholas Latifi – 1’35.292

+2.172 Kevin Magnussen – 1’35.451

+2.311 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’35.590

+2.320 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’35.599

+2.324 Alexander Albon – 1’35.603

+2.702 Lando Norris – 1’35.981

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’37.7161’33.7861’33.279-0.50767
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1’34.9231’33.5191’34.055+0.53669
3Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’36.9701’34.7231’34.096-0.62761
4Esteban OconRenault1’36.0611’35.1391’34.239-0.964
5Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’35.7961’34.8901’34.252-0.63872
6Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’35.5771’35.0481’34.306-0.74263
7Daniel RicciardoRenault1’35.4301’34.5771’34.787+0.2161
8Sebastian VettelFerrari1’36.3231’35.1831’34.594-0.58972
9Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’35.9651’35.6271’34.732-0.89568
10Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri-Honda1’36.2301’35.4611’34.768-0.69373
11Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’36.7061’35.2101’34.792-0.41872
12Charles LeclercFerrari1’36.8961’35.0521’34.806-0.24672
13Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’37.1101’34.8471’35.981+1.13478
14George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’37.5951’35.5751’34.979-0.59670
15Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’36.2541’35.2421’35.603+0.36169
16Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’37.6491’36.8581’35.257-1.60170
17Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’37.7841’35.5631’35.292-0.27156
18Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’37.4301’35.7291’35.451-0.27868
19Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’37.2301’35.5161’35.599+0.08371
20Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’37.2011’36.0531’35.590-0.46368

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2020 Russian Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Hazel Southwell
    Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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    One comment on “Hamilton fastest as Sochi bumps catch drivers out”

    1. Lewis was running on strat 5 ( the former party mode) and Bottas was running on strat 3.
      So i am not sure witch mode they are gonna use in the quali and race but that difference is big!

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