F2 Sochi: Norris fastest in practice after McLaren F1 FP1 outing

McLaren's 2019 Formula 1 signing Lando Norris began his bid to reel in George Russell in the Formula 2 championship standings in perfect fashion by topping practice at Sochi

F2 Sochi: Norris fastest in practice after McLaren F1 FP1 outing

Carlin driver Norris trails Russell by 22 points entering the weekend but had a strong practice session, completing 16 laps at the Russian Grand Prix venue and beating Prema Racing's Nyck de Vries to top the charts with a 1m48.231s best.

Norris was one of three drivers who switched from F1's earlier first practice session - this was Norris's third double-duty service in a row after Spa and Monza - to drive in F2 practice. The McLaren junior previously struggled when switching back to the F2 car, but had no troubles on Friday morning.

De Vries looked set to improve inside the final 10 minutes after a purple first sector, but had an average middle sector and then caught Nicholas Latifi towards the end of his lap.

Russell managed third in a busy session for the Mercedes junior driver. He was on course to beat Norris's time, but locked up dramatically at Turn 13 and ruined his lap.

He later stalled exiting the pitlane. Carlin's Sergio Sette Camara took fourth ahead of Latifi and Monza feature race winner Tadasuke Makino, driving for Russian Time.

Russell's ART Grand Prix team-mate Jack Aitken took seventh ahead of Alexander Albon, who still has a mathematical chance of fighting for the F2 title before he switches to Formula E with the Nissan e.dams squad.

Luca Ghiotto (Campos) and Charouz Racing System's Ferrari junior Antonio Fuoco rounded out the top 10, which was separated from top to bottom by just 0.8 seconds.

Niko Kari was fastest of the new drivers in the series this weekend. He has taken Ralph Boschung's place at MP Motorsport, and took 13th.

Ex-MP driver Roberto Merhi could only manage 19th in his first session with Campos this season.

Practice times

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Lando Norris Carlin 1m48.231s - 17
2 Nyck de Vries Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 1m48.403s 0.172s 17
3 George Russell ART Grand Prix 1m48.635s 0.404s 17
4 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 1m48.748s 0.517s 17
5 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1m48.834s 0.603s 17
6 Tadasuke Makino RUSSIAN TIME 1m48.837s 0.606s 16
7 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 1m48.878s 0.647s 18
8 Alexander Albon DAMS 1m48.890s 0.659s 18
9 Luca Ghiotto Campos Vexatec Racing 1m48.977s 0.746s 17
10 Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 1m49.108s 0.877s 18
11 Maximilian Guenther BWT Arden 1m49.243s 1.012s 12
12 Sean Gelael Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 1m49.259s 1.028s 15
13 Niko Kari MP Motorsport 1m49.352s 1.121s 18
14 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1m49.474s 1.243s 15
15 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 1m49.533s 1.302s 17
16 Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden 1m49.562s 1.331s 12
17 Alessio Lorandi Trident 1m49.615s 1.384s 20
18 Dorian Boccolacci MP Motorsport 1m49.681s 1.450s 19
19 Roberto Merhi Campos Vexatec Racing 1m50.130s 1.899s 14
20 Arjun Maini Trident 1m56.424s 8.193s 8


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Series FIA F2
Drivers Lando Norris
Author Jack Benyon
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