The Finn dominated Mercedes’ two free practice sessions on Friday ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, setting the fastest time in FP2 but just 0.044 seconds, in a session cut short by Antonio Giovinazzi that caused a short red flag.
Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri a third shone in the second round of free practice at Sochi, in front of Lando Norris McLaren and Esteban Ocon in the Alps, while contender Max Verstappen’s title was sixth for Red Bull, but will start with the grand prix for Russia. From the bottom of the grid after taking a new power unit this weekend.
Verstappen, who still had to take a three-place penalty as a penalty for his role in stalling with Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix, will be joined at the bottom of the grid for the Russian Grand Prix by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc as he also takes over new parts for the power units.
Leclerc’s teammate, Carlos Sainz Jr., finished seventh in the FP2 race ahead of Alpine Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, while the Monaco driver finished in the top ten for Ferrari.
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12
Photography: Charles Coates / motorsports pictures
What time does qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix begin?
Qualification for the Russian Grand Prix begins at 15:00 local time (13:00 GMT), using the first, second and third quarter knockout session format.
data: Saturday 25 September 2021
start time: 15:00 local time – 13:00 GMT
How can I view the qualifications?
In the UK, all Formula 1 trials, qualifying and races are broadcast live on Sky Sports Formula 1, with qualification coverage for the Russian Grand Prix starting at 13:00 GMT.
· channel: Sky Sport F1
· start time: 12:30 GMT
Autosport will do real-time text coverage of the qualification here.
When can I watch the highlights of the qualifying events at the Russian Grand Prix?
In the UK, Channel 4 broadcasts the highlights of qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix at 6pm BST on Saturday. The full program will last 90 minutes, covering both qualifying and closing with key points from this weekend’s race so far.
Throughout the entire 2021 F1 season, Channel 4 will broadcast the highlights of every Saturday and Sunday qualifying race and race from every event. Highlights will also be available on Channel 4’s on-demand services.
· channel: Channel 4
· start time: 17:50 GMT
Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing C41
Photo: Mark Sutton / motorsports pictures
Does qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix go to the radio?
Live radio coverage of every practice, qualification and race for the 2021 F1 season will be available on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC 5 Live Sports Extra or via the BBC Sport website.
Coverage of qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix will begin at 13:00 GMT on BBC Sport.
What is the weather forecast for qualifying in Sochi?
Heavy rain and cold weather are expected in Sochi on Saturday afternoon. Temperatures were set at 17 degrees Celsius at the start of qualifying, 10 degrees lower than the sprint sprint for the Italian Grand Prix.
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