F1 Russian Grand Prix 2020 qualifying LIVE: FP3 result – Hamilton edges out Bottas as he aims to match Schumacher record – The Sun
FORMULA ONE is in Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton aims to match Michael Schumacher's record of 91 race wins.
And so far he looks like doing exactly that after edging out Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz in FP3.
Follow ALL of the latest updates from Sochi here..
Just a quick reminder of the relatively short-history of this circuit while we wait for qualifying to begin.
The modern day Russian Grand Prix has only been running since 2014 and the race has only been won by only a single team – Mercedes.
Their dominance over the track is frightening, with Lewis Hamilton racking up four victories and while his former teammate Nico Rosberg and his current teammate Valtteri Bottas have one apiece.
Most memorably in 2018, this circuit saw the sport thrown into controversy after the Mercedes team ordered Bottas to switch places with Hamilton, giving the Brit the win.
Given the Finn's desperation for his first victory since the opening race of the season in Austria, it is hard to imagine him being as compliant this time.
FREE FOR ALL
It's set to be an exciting qualifying session this afternoon if that practice hour is anything to go by.
Bottas and Hamilton will scrap it out for pole position but more interestingly, behind them, it's anybody's game.
There were six different teams in the top seven of FP3 while the likes of Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris, who finished 20th, will almost certainly improve.
Just another reminder that qualifying starts at 1pm.
FP3 IS DONE
Hamilton tops the final practice session. Bottas is second 0.7 seconds behind.
Carlos Sainz is best of the rest in third.
That battle for third spot is looking like a fight between the McLaren's Racing Points and Renaults.
MIRROR, SIGNAL, MANOEUVRE…
Daniel Ricciardo was just on a flying lap there when he started adjusting his wing mirror.
He was travelling at 200mph when the mirror had worked loose.
AND HAMILTON NOW TOPS FP3
The world champion has now gone P1 with a sensational effort.
But Bottas is now going to have another crack.
Verstappen in P3 is one second off Hamilton's time.
HANG ON, HAMILTON HAS NOW STARTED A MEGA LAP
BOTTAS GOES QUICKER
He really is in the groove. Valtteri Bottas, who topped FP1 and FP2, is looking good for FP3.
24 MINUTES TO GO
And it is Bottas, Verstappen, Hamilton, Gasly, Ocon, Kvyat, Perez, Leclerc, Ricciardo and Stroll.
SPIN FOR GASLY
A mistake from the AlphaTauri man, who won in Monza. He loses the rear end and is sent into a spin but keeps it out of the barriers.
RAIKKONEN GOES THIRD QUICKEST
Early days but the Finn is looking quick.
Sunday will be his 322nd start equalling the record previously held by Rubens Barrichello.
BOTTAS RUNS WIDE
A mistake from the Finn, who was on for a quick lap.
He'd set the quickest time in sector one and sector two of the track, but he was going in too hot in the final section of the track and made a mistake and went wide.
He's aborted his flying lap and will have to make another attempt.
BUSY OPENING LAPS
Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz were both impressive yesterday in FP2 and they are the early pace setters here.
Could be another good points haul for McLaren this weekend.
ALMOST TIME FOR FP3
Weather is great in Sochi. No chance of rain. Track is clean and in good condition after the Formula 2 race, which incidentally was won my Mick Schumacher.
FP3 is about to get underway as the action in Sochi heats up.
Valterri Bottas was in tremendous form yesterday and topped both FP1 and FP2.
But it is in today's afternoon's qualifying session where he we will need to perform if he is to gain pole position.
His efforts to do so in the previous Grand Prix in Tuscany were foiled after an ill-timed yellow flag – caused by a spinning Esteban Ocon – left his first place hopes in the hands of Lewis Hamilton.
The only chance of the Brit not equalling Michael Schumacher's F1 wins record appears to be via his teammate, with the Mercedes pair far ahead of the rest of the grid yesterday, but there is a long way to go.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he didn't come close to becoming F1's new boss.
Stefano Domenicali was today confirmed as the new chief of the sport.
And Wolff confirmed talks were held.
But he said: “At the end, it wouldn't have gone anywhere anyway, because Ferrari wouldn't have accepted that.”
TAKING THE MICK
Lewis Hamilton is just one win shy of Michael Schumacher's record of 91 race victories.
And the Brit is nailed on to overtake the legendary Ferrari man – he could even it equal it in Sochi this weekend.
Mick Schumacher is already targeting the day when he can reclaim his dad's record from Hamilton.
He is currently leading the Formula 2 standings and in his press conference said: “Well yeah, one sentence my dad always used to say was ‘records are there to be broken’ and it’s everybody’s aim in the sport to do that.
“I think Lewis had a very, very good run. He had a very consecutive and positive run.
“Records are there to be broken and from our side, we [the Schumacher family] do see it on a good side too. It’s good for the sport, he’s been very influential in this sport too.
“The next aim is for me, if I do make the step [to F1] is to break that [record] again.”
BOT DONE YET
Valterri Bottas admitted there was 'more to come' despite his flying start to the race weekend in Russia.
He topped FP1 and FP2 in Sochi.
And said: “Session one was pretty interrupted with red flags and everything, so quite limited running actually.
“I had a big lock-up also, so destroyed one tyre set. Second practice, we got actually a lot of running, and I still didn't quite get all the sectors right on my fastest lap. So there's still definitely more to come. Actually, quite tricky conditions today. And that's why we saw many people making mistakes.
“It seemed like, especially on the low fuel runs, I was always struggling quite a bit with the rear end. So something to have a look at there. It was more like a rally driving style than F1 driving style. I'm not sure it was the fastest way around.
“As I said earlier, there's still a lot of time on the table and also set-up wise, I think. Sector one, sector two feels really good, actually. But sector three, a bit too nervous, and if we can get it right I'm sure there's more time.”
FP2 IS DONE
Bottas tops both FP1 and FP2 as he comes flying out of the box for the Russian GP.
The Finn is the man the beat and could stop Hamilton from equalling Michael Schumacher's wins record this weekend.
Daniel Ricciardo was third in the best of the rest while McLaren looked very good with Carlos Sainz in P4 and Lando Norris in P5.
Max Verstappen could only go seventh quickest in his Red Bull.
That's his session done. The Brit has done his running for the day and has to settle for second place in the timesheets behind Bottas.
10 MINUTES TO GO
Let's forget about the Merc duo who are MILES ahead.
The battle between the rest is close. McLaren, Renault, Racing Point are all in the mix.
As we wrote earlier this week, Stefano Domenicali has been appointed as President and CEO of Formula 1.
Chase Carey, the current Chairman and CEO, will move to the role of non-executive Chairman in January.
Greg Maffei, Liberty Media President and CEO – who own F1 – said: “Chase has done a phenomenal job leading F1.
“He assembled a first-class commercial and sporting organization that has a long list of achievements, including broadening the appeal of the sport, growing its digital presence, establishing new technical regulations, securing a cost cap for the first time and reaching a new more equitable Concorde agreement with the teams.
“His actions have reinforced F1 as the pinnacle of motorsport. As always, he has been a great partner and I look forward to his continued counsel in his new role as non-executive Chairman.
“We are excited to welcome Stefano Domenicali as President and CEO of Formula 1. Stefano brings a rich history of success in F1 at Ferrari and the broader auto industry at Audi and Lamborghini.”
Carey added: “It has been an honor to lead Formula 1, a truly global sport with a storied past over the last seventy years.
“I’m proud of the team that’s not only navigated through an immensely challenging 2020 but returned with added purpose and determination in the areas of sustainability, diversity and inclusion.
“I’m confident that we’ve built the strong foundation for the business to grow over the long term. It’s
been an adventure and I’ve enjoyed working with the teams, the FIA and all of our partners.
“I look forward to staying involved and supporting Stefano as he takes the wheel.”
Domenicali said: “I am thrilled to join the Formula 1 organization, a sport that has always been part of my life.
“I was born in Imola and live in Monza. I’ve remained connected to the sport through my work
with the Single Seater Commission at the FIA and I look forward to connecting with the teams,
promoters, sponsors and many partners in Formula 1 as we continue to drive the business
“The past six years at Audi and then leading Lamborghini have given me broader perspective and experience that I will bring to Formula 1.”
UNDER 30 MINUTES TO GO
Good news for McLaren fans as they are looking quick in Sochi, while there also appears to be a marginal improvement for Ferrari.
Red Bull on the other hand have some problems.
A COUPLE OF NEAR MISSES
There were a few errors in FP1, the biggest being Nicholas Latifi and Carlos Sainz hitting the barriers.
So far, there has been no such repeat in FP2, although Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen have come close to some high-speed shunts.
AWESOME PACE FROM MERCEDES
Bottas is now 1.8 seconds quicker than the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo, who is in third place.
As astonishing gap.
But…Merc are chewing through the soft tyres they have been using for their laps.
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