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

Lando Norris Carlin F2 practice Sochi 2018

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.

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

PosDriverTeamTimeGapLaps
1Lando NorrisCarlin1m48.231s-17
2Nyck de VriesPertamina Prema Theodore Racing1m48.403s0.172s17
3George RussellART Grand Prix1m48.635s0.404s17
4Sergio Sette CamaraCarlin1m48.748s0.517s17
5Nicholas LatifiDAMS1m48.834s0.603s17
6Tadasuke MakinoRUSSIAN TIME1m48.837s0.606s16
7Jack AitkenART Grand Prix1m48.878s0.647s18
8Alexander AlbonDAMS1m48.890s0.659s18
9Luca GhiottoCampos Vexatec Racing1m48.977s0.746s17
10Antonio FuocoCharouz Racing System1m49.108s0.877s18
11Maximilian GuntherBWT Arden1m49.243s1.012s12
12Sean GelaelPertamina Prema Theodore Racing1m49.259s1.028s15
13Niko KariMP Motorsport1m49.352s1.121s18
14Artem MarkelovRUSSIAN TIME1m49.474s1.243s15
15Louis DeletrazCharouz Racing System1m49.533s1.302s17
16Nirei FukuzumiBWT Arden1m49.562s1.331s12
17Alessio LorandiTrident1m49.615s1.384s20
18Dorian BoccolacciMP Motorsport1m49.681s1.450s19
19Roberto MerhiCampos Vexatec Racing1m50.130s1.899s14
20Arjun MainiTrident1m56.424s8.193s8


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