Hamilton quickest in Russian practice

Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:58am EDT
 
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By Alan Baldwin

SOCHI Russia (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg made history as the first Formula One driver to set a timed lap at the inaugural Russian Grand Prix on Friday but championship leading Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton still ended up on top.

Rosberg set a best time of one minute 42.311 seconds around the Sochi circuit, which snakes past some of the landmark venues used at this year's Winter Olympics, in a sunny morning session with Hamilton second.

The Briton, who leads Rosberg by 10 points after winning the last three races, went top of the timesheets in an interrupted afternoon session with a best of 1:39.630.

"I like the new circuit; it's got really good grip and great corners, with a lot at medium speed. It's good fun," said Hamilton.

"The car has been feeling really good today. McLaren look close which is great for everyone as it should make for a decent race. We've got quite a good balance with the car so there are a lot of boxes ticked but we still have work to do."

Rosberg said he went down a different setup route to Hamilton in the afternoon and would revert to a more conservative one for Saturday.

The red flag came out eight minutes from the end when Australian Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull had a power unit failure.

Mercedes are expected to wrap up the constructors' championship on Sunday with three races to spare, having won 12 of the 15 so far with eight one-two finishes. Hamilton, the 2008 champion, is chasing his ninth win of the season.   Continued...

 
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain attends the first free practice session at the Russian F1 Grand Prix in the Sochi Autodrom circuit October 10, 2014.  REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh