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Russian Grand Prix 2016 Qualifying: Results, Times from Friday's F1 Practice

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2016

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany steers his car during the first practice session at the 'Sochi Autodrom' Formula One circuit , in Sochi, Russia, Friday, April 29, 2016. The Formula one race will be held on Sunday. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton impressed in free practice for the 2016 Russian Grand Prix, as the former set the fastest time on Friday morning and the latter in the afternoon session. 

The German is bidding to make it four wins out of four this season and extend his lead over team-mate Hamilton, who is eager to make up lost ground in the drivers' championship.

Read on for a recap of Friday's action.

FP2 Recap

Here are the standings for the second free practice session, per Formula 1:

Formula 1 @F1

#FP2 PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION #RussianGP #F1 🇷🇺 https://t.co/XkxZxHkJGb

Sebastian Vettel raced out of the traps to set the pace but encountered technical problems with his car just half an hour into the session:

Formula 1 @F1

VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR: Vettel stops on the pit straight: "I lost electronics" #FP2 #RussianGP #F1 🇷🇺 https://t.co/nh6LCODEms

That allowed Hamilton to steal in and pip the German to the top of the standings with a lap of one minute, 37.583 seconds—faster than Rosberg's quickest time in the morning.

As for his Mercedes team-mate, he repeatedly flew round the first sector but failed to keep his pace long enough to overcome either of the top two in the classification.

Kimi Raikkonen had yet another promising session as he finished fourth once again just over 1.2 seconds behind Hamilton, while Daniel Ricciardo improved on his place and time from the morning.

Valtteri Bottas, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso all improved in the afternoon, but Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez found themselves several positions down in the standings.

As in the morning session, a number of drivers found themselves spinning, including Romain Grosjean, Hamilton and Rio Haryanto:

Formula 1 @F1

Haryanto spins at Turn 15 to bring out more yellow flags 🔶🔶 #FP2 #RussianGP #F1 🇷🇺 https://t.co/6gzx7XXHOl

In Saturday's qualifying, the onus will be on Hamilton to surpass Rosberg again ahead of the race.

The German was on pole in Sochi last year, but it was the reigning champion who came out on top. Nevertheless, if he can qualify ahead of him, it would certainly improve his outlook of doing so again.

FP1 Recap

Here is how the classification shaped up after the first session in Russia, with every driver able to set a time, per Formula One:

Formula 1 @F1

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION (END OF #FP1) #F1 #RussianGP 🇷🇺 https://t.co/4f3CbqWjVI

A number of drivers found themselves spinning on the track, with Button and Vettel both having difficulty at Turn 15 as their cars struggled for grip in the cool conditions early in the session:

Formula 1 @F1

Grip issues? Button and Vettel spin at the same point, one after another #FP1 #RussianGP #F1 https://t.co/YLiGwMqOWg

Hamilton did a similar pirouette at Turn 2, but it didn't stop him setting the early pace in the session with a time of 1:39.337.

Rosberg soon beat that, though, and his team-mate struggled to close the gap, locking up in the second sector after setting the fastest time in the first. The German ultimately ended up finishing the session more than seven-tenths quicker than the Englishman.

Ferrari's Vettel trailed in third over a second behind Rosberg after recovering from a number of spins off the track and his team-mate Raikkonen set the fourth-fastest time.

Massa's weekend did not get off to an ideal start as the Brazilian's car suffered technical problems before it even left the pit, per Williams Racing:

WILLIAMS RACING @WilliamsRacing

A delayed start to #FP1 for @MassaFelipe19 as the pit crew try to resolve some clutch issues. We hope to have him out on track soon.

He was eventually able to take part in the second half of the session and took full advantage of what time he had, slotting in just behind the Finn despite managing just 14 laps.

Further back, Red Bull's Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat were split by Bottas, while neither McLaren's Button or Alonso were able to finish in the top 10.

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