Hamilton surprised by Merceds gap after 'scrapped' FP1 in Sochi

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Lewis Hamilton was surprised by Mercedes' pace advantage after having to "scrap" Practice 1 at the Russian Grand Prix.

On the weekend when the six-time Formula 1 champion can match Michael Schumacher's record of 91 race wins, he began by finishing P19 in the morning session as a result of incidents and his error.

But in typical Hamilton fashion, he would rebound in the afternoon and would have very likely finished fastest without another mistake on what was his fastest lap until he went off-track at Turn 13.

As it was, he ended second fastest, just two-tenths behind Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

“I didn’t feel like I was particularly quick today,” Hamilton said post-session.

“It didn’t start off particularly good and P1 was pretty poor. I had a lock-up in Turn 1 on the soft tyre and then went out on the hard tyre and completely destroyed the tyres. P1 was scrapped.

“P2 started off better, I’m just down a bit in the first and second sector, but the last one was nice. I haven’t put them all together yet and it’s a work in progress.

“There are some things I need to improve from the driver’s side and set-up wise," Lewis admitted. "If you don’t take any steps forward in first practice you are starting from behind in the second one.

“Nonetheless, the car has been performing really well. I’ve got a lot of work to do overnight, but it’s nothing new.”

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Despite the limited running for both Mercedes' however, as Bottas also suffered a flat-spotted tyre in the morning, the all-black Silver Arrows would finish a second clear of Daniel Ricciardo in third for Renault in the afternoon. a gap that surprised Hamilton.

“Yeah because even for us it doesn’t really feel that great out there," he said.

“The grip is poor, there’s a lot of sliding so I’m surprised to see that gap. It must be even worse for those behind.

"But the track will grip up and maybe it will close up tomorrow," he added.