UNI-Virtuosi’s Felipe Drugovich was the fastest driver at the end of Free Practice in Sochi, ensuring his weekend commenced in the strongest possible fashion as he led Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung and ART Grand Prix’s Théo Pourchaire.
With a short break of just two weeks from the last round at Monza coming to an end, the drivers took to the circuit as the light went green on Friday morning, with all setting installation laps to re-familiarize themselves with the track.
At the end of the first round of push laps, it was Ralph Boschung who headed the timesheet, setting a 1:50.945, putting himself four-tenths clear of his nearest challenger in Hitech Grand Prix’s Jüri Vips.
With just under 30 minutes to go, Christian Lundgaard propelled to the top of the leader board and was the first driver to dip into the 1:49s – however he was quickly displaced by Boschung, who returned to the top with a lap time that was 0.06s faster than Lundgaard’s.
Carlin’s Dan Ticktum was the first to run wide at Turn 2 and navigate the bollard chicane. Towards the end of the session, Drugovich failed to do so appropriately and was placed under investigation for not following the race director’s instructions.
Also placed under investigation was championship leader Oscar Piastri and MP Motorsport’s Lirim Zendeli for an incident in the pit lane.
20 minutes into the session Drugovich set what would be the fastest lap of practice, setting a 1:49.423 to go two-hundredths faster than Boschung.
The session was briefly interrupted when a red flag was deployed following a spin for HWA RACELAB’s Alessio Deledda, who found himself facing the wrong way on the exit of Turn 14. Although he avoided contact with the barriers, his car needed recovering from the trackside marshals.
The top three was unchanged as the action resumed for the final five minutes, while Guanyu Zhou and Vips rounded out the top five.
Fresh from his first F2 podium result at Monza, Bent Viscaal was sixth, ahead of PREMA’s Robert Shwartzman. Lundgaard dropped to eighth by the time the chequered flag waved but finished ahead of Richard Verschoor and Piastri in ninth and tenth respectively.
The drivers now look ahead to Qualifying in Sochi, which will get underway at 4.15pm local time.