Tuesday, October 20, 2020
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Russian GP final practice and qualifying – radio & text


Post update

Jack Nicholls

BBC Radio 5 Live F1 commentator

You can’t rule out Lewis Hamilton for a pole position – ever. But third place on the grid? Not a clue! We didn’t see Ricciardo, Verstappen or Norris do a competitive lap, all drivers who will be in the mix. Very excited for this qualifying.

Mercedes’ pace looking ominous

Copyright: Getty Images

Mercedes look in a league
of their own as the Formula 1 teams prepare for qualifying at the Russian Grand
Prix.

Lewis
Hamilton set a blistering pace in final practice, 0.7 seconds quicker than
team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who was 0.1secs ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.

It was a
misleading session in terms of absolute pace, as neither Bottas nor Red Bull’s
Max Verstappen were able to put together a representative lap.

But
Mercedes’ advantage over the rest of the field is not in doubt around a track
at which they have won every race since the Sochi Autodrom made its F1 debut in
2014.

Verstappen
headed into the day expecting a battle with McLaren, Renault and Racing
Point to be best of the rest and it still looks that way, even though
there were signs Red Bull had made a step forward overnight.

Renault’s
Esteban Ocon was fourth fastest in final practice, ahead of Racing Point’s
Sergio Perez and Verstappen, followed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and the
second Racing Point of Lance Stroll.

In Sochi,
pole position is not necessarily the prize it normally is, because the run from
the start to the first corner is the longest on the calendar and the pole man
often finds himself being slipstreamed by those behind him.

Bottas
won the race that way in 2017, his maiden F1 victory, when he started third but
drafted past both Ferraris to take the lead at the first corner.

Post update

Jack Nicholls

BBC Radio 5 Live F1 commentator

I have no idea where we are going to be in qualifying for this one.

Chequered flag

End of the session and Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Post update

Jolyon Palmer

Former Renault driver on BBC Radio 5 live

I think it’s relief for Haas that Romain Grosjean doesn’t have words! He is grumpy this weekend. Not happy at all.

Post update

Romain Grosjean spins and clearly isn’t happy with his car. “I don’t have words,” he snaps. “Simple as that.”

Post update

Jolyon Palmer

Former Renault driver on BBC Radio 5 live

Daniel Ricciardo is trying to move his mirror into position with his left hand but he’s just got to keep going and hope the team radio tells him when there’s traffic behind. I don’t know what’s more dangerous; driving with one hand or driving with no right-hand side mirror!

Post update

Sebastian Vettel does a 1:34.594 to go fourth quickest but is quickly bumped down to P5 as Carlos Sainz leaps up to P3, eight tenths down on Lewis Hamilton. Strong lap.

Post update

And indeed he does, by seven tenths with a 1:33.279.

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Lewis Hamilton finds an extra four tenths in the middle sector of his lap and is well on course to go quickest here.

Post update

Valtteri Bottas is back out on softs and is on with a flyer. Grip is looking good now and he improves with a 1:34.055.

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