Kimi Raikkonen fastest in Russian GP practice

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Felipe Massa doll
Listen to second practice from 12:55 BST on the BBC Sport website
Russian Grand Prix on the BBC
Dates: 28-30 Apr Venue: Sochi Autodrom
Coverage: Practice, qualifying on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra (second practice online only). Race live on BBC Radio 5 live. Live text commentary, leaderboard and imagery on BBC Sport website and app.

Championship leaders Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton struggled in first practice at the Russian Grand Prix as Kimi Raikkonen set the pace.

He was just 0.045 seconds quicker than compatriot Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes as their team-mates suffered a number of on track moments.

Vettel spun his Ferrari at Turn 16 late in the session while Hamilton went off track at least three times.

Hamilton was 0.607secs back in third, with Vettel 1.156secs behind in fifth.

Vettel set his fastest time on the soft tyres, while the three drivers in front of him all used the faster super-softs.

They were split by Red Bull's Max Verstappen, complaining of poor grip, and 0.06secs quicker than team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Force India's Sergio Perez was seventh, ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, and the second Force India of Esteban Ocon, who brought the session to a halt when his engine cover flew off on the pit straight.

The session was held in bright spring sunshine, with the snow-capped Caucasus mountains forming a picturesque backdrop.

The track around the former Sochi Olympic park provided its usual challenge of a low-grip surface to test the drivers and there were plentiful incidents of drivers running wide as they explored the limits.

The session ended with further bad news for McLaren-Honda, as Stoffel Vandoorne trailed back to the pits complaining of "no power".

Their season has been a litany of reliability problems, and the Belgian started this weekend already on his fourth turbo and MGU-H, the part of the hybrid system that recovers energy from the turbo. Each driver is allowed only four of each of the constituent parts of the engine before being hit with a grid penalty.

Vandoorne suffered three MGU-H failures at the last race in Bahrain, and team-mate Fernando Alonso one, but Honda entered the race in Russia hoping that they had solved some of their problems.

It remains to be seen where the latest problem lies in the engine.

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