The Silver Arrows are supposed to find a difficult race weekend at the Russian Grand Prix after a predictive Friday practice pointing out Ferrari and Red Bull as the main forces for the win on Sunday; the optimal temperatures of working on front tyres were particularly difficult to reach out on the first lap. However, as James Allison words, team is confident to be at the front rows’ battle on race distance, with high load of fuel for completing the 53 laps of competition.
Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheets, imposing the #77 in P3: the Finnish is very passionate when it takes to go out in the Black Sea circuit, in the place where his first victory was claimed in 2017, his first season beside Hamilton at Brackley:
"It’s always good fun to drive on this track, but unfortunately the others were a bit too quick for us today. The balance of the car felt good, I was just struggling with the overall grip. Everything else seemed ok, but obviously we need to find some gains if we want to be in the fight for pole tomorrow. We will review the data tonight to see what we can do better. Tyres are key for a good performance on this track and we need to try and extract more from the Soft tyres on a single lap, but our performance on the Medium and Hard tyre looked relatively decent. I hope for rain tomorrow, I think we might have a better chance in a wet qualifying."
On the other side, Lewis Hamilton was cautious (in avoiding contacts on track too) on the statements after two session that have seen him ending in 4th place but in full control of his situation of championship dominance:
"It’s been a day of discovery and exploring. It started off not too bad and while we’ve been improving, the others made some big progressions and improved much faster than we did. Our pace was a little bit better in FP2, but still not where we want to be. We’ll work very late tonight to understand what we can do better and make some changes to the car for tomorrow. It’s good to see the competition doing so well, but naturally we want to be in a fight with them, so that’s what we’re working towards. It’s going to be a tough day tomorrow, but I hope it’s going to be raining. I don’t think we’ve ever driven here in the rain, so that would make it pretty interesting."