Both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri showed some strong pace on a particularly strategic Friday in Russia.
With a weather forecast that suggests Saturday will be heavily impacted by rain, teams took different approaches to usual in Friday practice with some low fuel running on soft tyres in the first session.
Max ended up third and just 0.2s off top spot in FP1, while Pierre joined him in the top six and Sergio made it three cars in the top ten with the ninth fastest time. Yuki also enjoyed a productive session, completing the most mileage of any driver as he built up his F1 experience at the Sochi circuit.
Ahead of FP2 we took the decision - along with Red Bull - to change the power unit in Max’s car. Damage sustained in the heavy crash at Silverstone meant a new power unit was always going to be required at some stage, and with a three-place grid penalty already hanging over him and Saturday’s weather forecast, the strategic call was made in time for the second session.
That allowed Max to calibrate the new PU in dry conditions, and he ended up sixth overall behind Pierre in an impressive third. The only concern from the Frenchman’s session came when he hit the kerbs at Turn 2 and lost the front wing, but he was able to return to the pits without further drama.
Sergio was 11th and Yuki 18th in FP2, with both completing strong mileage and giving us plenty of data to work with in case there is no further dry weather running on Saturday.