• REPORT: Setting the Pace in Sochi on Friday

Lewis and Valtteri top the timesheets as running gets underway in Russia...

What Happened?

- Lewis and Valtteri finished the opening practice session in P3 and P4, behind Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

- Both drivers set their best FP1 times on the Soft compound, with Lewis putting in a 1:34.818 and Valtteri logging a 1:34.999.

- The second session concluded with Lewis leading the way in P1, just 0.199s ahead of Valtteri in P2.

- Lewis put in a 1:33.385 to go fastest, with Valtteri's best time being a 1:33.585. Both were set on the HyperSoft rubber.

- Friday's programme at the Sochi Autodrom focused on understanding tyre performance and testing aerodynamic upgrades.

What Did We Learn?

"It's been a pretty decent day where both cars looked strong on all the tyres we ran," explained Technical Director, James Allison.

"The HyperSoft is once again a very good, fast tyre for a single lap, but it is less obvious here than it was in Singapore whether it will be so strong in the race.

"The long-runs went well, we looked competitive on them and the car generally behaved itself - so far, so good.

"We're looking forward to tomorrow and seeing how it all pans out once it starts to count."

What We're Saying

Lewis: "Sochi has been one of the weaker circuits for me in the past, particularly last year.

"So I've done a lot of work to understand the balance and see where I can improve to try and rectify this - today has been good in that sense.

"From every race we're learning more and more and particularly the last few races have helped us to really gauge which foot we need to start on for the weekend.

"We've brought more upgrades this weekend; there's so much work going on at home and it's just really encouraging when you come to a race and you get an upgrade, knowing that this late in the season we're also already working on next year's car - it motivates me to get the best out of everything.

"It's been a good day for us, so let's hope that it continues tomorrow."

Valtteri: "It was a good day for us; on paper it looks like we should be competitive, but it's only Friday.

"The initial feeling of the car was good; however, there's still work to do. It's so difficult to get a perfect set-up for each corner on this track, because the balance is so different throughout the lap.

"We brought some aerodynamic updates to the car that worked well and added more grip; we'll see if that's going to be enough for the weekend. It seemed like Ferrari weren't really showing everything they have, so they will probably be stronger tomorrow.

"I think it's going to be very close, so we'll have to keep pushing."