- Bottas quickest in Q1, Ricciardo quickest in Q2 as Mercedes make mistakes
- Lewis Hamilton fastest in final practice ahead of Valtteri Bottas
- Mika Hakkinen interview: 'I get excited about what Lewis Hamilton is doing, because I know what it takes'
Q3 - Who will make the second row?
Ricciardo and Verstappen for me. Possibly in that order. The Red Bull is not a shoo-in for third here.
Ricciardo, Sainz, Bottas, Hamilton, Norris, Gasly, Ocon, Perez, Albon and Verstappen left.
Well, at least we have a fight for pole position
Had Hamilton been eliminated it would have been Bottas or... Bottas? And, I guess, the Mercedes drivers are on different strategies now so that could make the race a bit more intriguing.
Take your litter home with you
How close was Leclerc to crashing with the already crashed Vettel?
Q2 - Hamilton had 1.2s left on the clock before starting his lap
He was told to bolt as he backed off in the final sector to get it all going on his hot lap. And he did. It wasn't a brilliant lap on the softs but the important thing is he's through after it getting a bit hairy.
Q2 ends - Order
Q2 ending - Hamilton fourth fastest
And certainly through. That was close at the end but, really, we could have done with a little bit of jeopardy there and we didn't get it, unfortunately. At least he starts on different tyres to Bottas and Verstappen? I dunno.
Leclerc cannot make it through, but Ocon does.
Q2 - What's Hamilton's first sector?
Verstappen and Albon have not improved...in S1. In S2 they have. Hamilton isn't going that well but he should still be comfortably through. Verstappen backs off at the end.
Albon into P8 but will he stay there?
Q2 - It was Gasly backing them up in the pit lane
This is going to be a mess. Verstappen will be fine, Albon will be fine but I am not sure about the rest of them...
10 seconds left and he's not over the line. Five... nope.... Oh my! He makes it over the line with just a second on the clock! Sainz and Perez did not make it...
Q2 - Red Bull have a big gap to the rest of the cars here
Not sure why? The AlphaTauri backing them up? This is going to be close... Hamilton has gone wide and finds himself even further back. I am not sure he's going to be able to get his lap in here...
Q2 - Session restarts, 2'15 on the clock
Hamilton near the back of the pack in the queue for the pit lane. Something going on with Stroll's car in the pit lane, he's being rolled back into the garage... he's going to be out then.
Q2 - Session restarting in two minutes
This is going to be tasty... wouldn't be surprised to see another car in the wall here.
Q2 - They are starting to queue at the end of the pit lane
Hamilton is not at the front of it. Red Bull are, followed by AlphaTauri. Currently seven or so cars there. Now eight. Hamilton not one of them. How long is an out lap here? Well, it's going to be close as a few of these cars will end up backing up. Hamilton is probably going to have to try and overtake this gaggle...
Not sure why Mercedes have not sent him out there to wait for the green light to come on? We don't have any start time yet so I guess that's fair enough but this is... sub optimal. New set of softs for Hamilton, which makes sense, but he will be now on a different starting to tyre to Bottas.
Q2 - Red flag
Ricciardo and Bottas will probably be safe. I think everyone else will want to run again. Hamilton - and a few others - are going to have to go hell for leather on their out laps. Whatever, you will not want to the the final car in the queue to the end of the pit lane.
Q2 - Running order under red flag
What happened to Vettel?
Lost it on entry on the inside to turn three and went around before clipping the wall with his front wing. Actually not that big a crash in the end - the damage made it look worse - but Leclerc nearly drove into his team-mate and drove right over his front wing.
Vettel seen picking up his own front wing after the crash. Anyway, this makes it an interesting final couple of minutes of the session. Enough for drivers to get around but what tyres will they use and how many will be able to get through? Imagine Hamilton will be waiting at the end of the pit lane...
Vettel's in the wall...
It's a big crash. Does that mean Hamilton is out? He was not able to complete his lap, obviously... 2.15 left in the session so he should be okay to get around to the start line but he'll have to do a fairly quick out lap and use another set of tyres...
Q2 - Second runs underway
Bottas well up in S1, 0.3s nearly on a fresh set of mediums. What can Hamilton do?
He has a scruffy first sector but a better second and should be through...
Q2 - Russell three tenths down in S1
And just 0.085s off the cut-off time for P10 after two sectors... this is decent but is unlikely to be enough.
What can he do? It's enough for P13 so he won't be in Q3 but that is a decent lap in that Williams again from Russell.
Q2 - Russell going out when the track is quietest
Slim hopes of making it through to Q3 but perhaps 14th is possible. Getting ahead of a Ferrari will be something. Hamilton will run again on a fresh set of mediums. Will Bottas do the same? i think so. He should be safe but it might be close...
Q2 - Running order after first runs
- RUS (no time)
Q2 - A definite mistake from Bottas there
Indeed, we are shown the replay. He again makes a mistake in the final corner, getting some extreme opposite lock on and running wide.
Q2 - Ricciardo quickest
A 1.32.2s... that's rapid. For Renault. Albon can't make it into the top 10... Verstappen only seventh on the mediums, too and will probably have to run again on the softs. In fact he will.
Q2 - Hamilton quickest in S1
But just under a tenth in it. Half a second or more in sector two, though... which suggests he has the edge here. And it's more than just the edge in the final reckoning... he finishes his lap an entire second ahead of Bottas. Sainz even jumps in there between them. Mistake from Bottas?
Hang on... Hamilton has his lap deleted for a track limits infringement at turn 18...
Q2 - Ocon warned of a "traffic jam" at the end of the lap
It seems par for the course these days in qualifying. Mercedes out on the mediums, as is Verstappen. Everyone else on the softs. That's almost par for the course these days, too.
Q2 begins - 15 mins left
Nearly everyone out, with the threat of rain in the air. Nothing significant but you just would not take the chance. Verstappen, Ricciardo, Gasly, Albon and Russell the only of the 15 who do not go straight out.
Good lap from Ocon at the end there
He made a bit of a mess of his first run, hence the massive gap to Ricciardo.
A few spits and spots out there at the moment
Not enough to warrant anything but slick tyres. That could change if it continues throughout the session.
Vettel and Leclerc in 14th and 15th
Vettel only just through by places, but he was a whole 0.4s clear of being eliminated when you take into account lap time, so comfortably through in reality.
Q1 - Top 15... and through
Q1 Ends - Who is out?
Q1 - Final runs underway... drivers crossing the line now
Grosjean 14th! Norris sixth! Russell, what can he do here? Magnussen can't get out..
Vettel currently in the drop zone... not for any longer, 11th! Stroll goes 8th... Russell still to complete his lap...
Albon gets through in 11th...AND RUSSELL MAKES IT THROUGH IN P13! Nice work again from Russell, the last man across the line in this session and he improves by half a second and gets ahead of both Ferraris!
Q1 - Raikkonen crawling at the side of the track
He must have made a mistake and has aborted. He will not have enough time to get round again so will be out in this session.
Ocon has improved in the first two sectors but will it be enough to get out? It should be but track evolution looks likely to be strong here. Latifi goes 15th but that's precarious!
Ocon third now! Giovinazzi 14th...
Q1 - Bottas out on a fresh set of softs
Which is a little odd, but there you go. It's getting a little darker though no rain imminent. Again the traffic and backing up starts but everyone has plenty of time to get over the line so it should be fine. Can Ocon find the time to get out of this here? Russell doing very well, currently in P13. He was so unfortunate to miss out on points last time at Mugello.
Q1 - Ocon has failed to beat Ricciardo in a dry qualifying session this season
And it looks like happening again here. He's nearly an entire second down on him after the first runs. Plenty of drivers out again, Bottas included. He's comfortably through, as is Hamilton, though Hamilton stays in as he's used extra tyre life here.
Q1 - Mistake from Verstappen cost him there
Grosjean and Latifi still to set a time so here is the running order so far.
Q1 - Grosjean and Latifi yet to set a time
Verstappen languishing down in P12 at the moment and his second run is not much better. Will that Red Bull make the second row today? He moves up to P5, 1.3s off Bottas's quickest time but behind Perez and Sainz.
Q1 - Hamilton giving it another go here
He's 0.041s off Bottas's time in S1 so this is a much better lap and will almost certainly be enough for him to get through, mistakes excluded. 0.273s down in S2 so decent and should comfortably go second.
Indeed he does, 0.327s off in the end.
Q1 - Running order so far
Everyone else either has not set a lap time or has had it deleted. 10 minutes remain. Five to go out.
Q1 - Hamilton has his lap deleted
So he will DEFINITELY have to run again. Plenty more drivers having their laps deleted for going off track at turn two. I think the wind has picked up or turned around and it's catching drivers out.
Anyway, Perez pumps in a lap around one second off Bottas's time and Sainz tucks in three tenths behind him. Leclerc fourth, Stroll fifth.
Q1 - Bottas goes quickest
A 1.32.656. Hamilton ends up 1.6s down after making a mistake early in the lap. He's still 0.5s quicker than Daniil Kvyat in third, though but he will likely have to run again.
Q1 - Hamilton and Bottas start their flying laps
33.7s in the first sector for Bottas, what can Hamilton do? He's a whole second off the pace there, so not sure what happened there. Track conditions vastly different to what we saw in FP3 this morning.
Bottas sets a 31.787s in sector two, can Hamilton fight back? Nope. He's miles behind again. Will Hamilton abort this lap?
Q1 - Mercedes send both drivers out
And on the soft tyres. Russell completing his first quick lap on the mediums. All other drivers - which is the vast majority of them - on the softs. That said Russell locked up at the start and aborted his lap...
Q1 begins - 18 mins to go
George Russell out fairly early on.
Good to see some fans back at the track this weekend
A few more than last time out at Mugello, anyway.
It's looking a little bit grey out there at the moment
Though it will likely be a dry session.
Right, just under five minutes to go...
Which Mercedes will be on pole? That's the question at every single race this year, isn't it? They are going to take every single pole position in the year. It's such a shame, especially when last year we have poles from three teams and five of the six drivers in those teams.
Mika Hakkinen interview: 'I get excited about what Lewis Hamilton is doing, because I know what it takes'
“Michael was definitely rougher and harder on the race-track,” Hakkinen reflects. “The young people today are a bit different today to when we were young. When we communicated with each other, there were a few more swear-words. The regulations are much stricter now, and the drivers are much more aware of their behaviour on track. But what strikes me about both drivers is the consistency of their performances. It didn’t matter if the car wasn’t so good, Michael was flat-out every time. I feel that Lewis has a similar characteristic. It doesn’t matter what else is happening out there, he’s flat-out. It’s very impressive to see.”
Where does Sochi rank in my ratings of every track on the 2020 F1 calendar?
It's not very high. Hate (not really) to say that but it's a pretty dull track that does not tend to produce great racing. Anyway, if you want to see where it finished in my rankings and also what I think the very best tracks are you can do so by clicking here.
Current driver standings - Top 10
Are F1 cars too easy to drive these days?
Final times after third practice
- Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1min 33.279secs
- Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1:34.055
- Carlos Sainz (Spa) McLaren 1:34.096
- Esteban Ocon (Fra) Renault 1:34.239
- Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point 1:34.252
- Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:34.301
- Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:34.594
- Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point 1:34.732
- Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:34.768
- Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 1:34.787
- Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:34.792
- Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1:34.806
- George Russell (Gbr) Williams 1:34.979
- Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 1:35.257
- Nicholas Latifi (Can) Williams 1:35.292
- Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 1:35.451
- Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:35.590
- Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:35.599
- Alexander Albon (Tha) Red Bull 1:35.603
- Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:35.981
Good morning F1 fans
And welcome to our coverage for the 2020 Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom in Sochi. Well, actually it's not in Sochi at all but rather in Adler, just up the road. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the track is that is is built around the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic games. You probably knew that already, though.
The track itself is fairly flat (though a little bumpier than the billiard table smooth it was when it was first open) and featureless and I would rank it towards the bottom of the track that feature on the 2020 calendar or indeed that were intended or even though about being on the 2020 calendar. But enough of the pessimism, we could have an interesting race, as we have the last few years, even though the overtaking opportunities are not all that plentiful. But that's F1 in 2020, isn't it?
With three free practice sessions done and dusted, it's no surprise that the Mercedes are the class of the field again. Here's a snippet of Phil Duncan's report from final practice this morning.
Lewis Hamilton delivered an impressive performance in final practice for the Russian Grand Prix after he finished seven tenths faster than anyone else.Valtteri Bottas headed the time charts in both sessions at the Sochi Autodrom on Friday, but it was Hamilton's turn to lay down an ominous marker ahead of qualifying.
The six-time world champion, who could match Michael Schumacher's victory record of 91 on Sunday, finished 0.776 seconds clear of Bottas with McLaren's Carlos Sainz in third.Esteban Ocon finished fourth for Renault ahead of Racing Point's Sergio Perez with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen sixth and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel seventh.
British driver Lando Norris finished last in his McLaren, 2.7 seconds behind Hamilton.Qualifying for the 10th round of the campaign gets under way at 3pm local time.
The midfield will be an interesting battle, again, but Max Verstappen seemed to have turned around a poor Friday to get the balance a little better on the Red Bull. McLaren and Renault look a threat to the second row and third place, though.
Qualifying begins at 1pm BST and I'll be here for all the build-up, latest updates and reaction from the session. Can anyone stop Lewis Hamilton? I doubt it.