Red Bull on fire in Sochi; Vettel goes for a spin


Daniel Ricciardo set the stage alight, Haas confirmed their 2019 line up and Lewis Hamilton showed the early speed in Russia.

The morning began with a team announcement from Haas, who confirmed Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen for next season. That’s seven teams who have now completed their driver line up.

Head this way to find out how the 2019 grid is shaping up.

Lando Norris – driving Fernando Alonso’s MCL33, Red Bull and Toro Rosso, all facing engine penalties, were eager for the games to begin.

Maybe a bit too eager as they were sitting at the end of the pit lane for more than 10 minutes.

Stoffel Vandoorne posted the first lap time of the weekend.

Norris, who will race for McLaren next season, replaced Alonso in FP1. He blotted his copy book a bit as he got caught out in the dirty air from a Sauber, spun and came close to hitting the wall.

Look who’s back home…

There was a second Russian driver out in track but only for FP1 with Artem Markalov driving for Renault.

Daniel Ricciardo’s weekend got off to a fiery start as his RB14 caught fire. It was not, repeat not, an engine issue.

Lance Stroll added his name to the list of spinners.

The weekend’s opening P1 belonged to Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari. They were 0.05s faster than Max Verstappen.

In the break between FP1 and FP2, there was some choice words from Christian Horner on Toro Rosso hopeful Dan Ticktum that are well worth a read.

Back on track, it was Red Bull’s Verstappen who set the early pace in FP2 with a 1:34.164.

But the qualifying simulation runs started to bring out some of the best from Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel, meanwhile, struggled for rhythm in Sochi throughout the afternoon, even going for a spin on his race simulation programme.

Can Ferrari’s fortunes improve on qualifying day?

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