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Team shows encouraging pace in Russian Grand Prix practice

Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team's Sebastian Vettel finished both Friday practice sessions inside the top 10 ahead of qualifying for the 2021 Russian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel, 2021 Russian Grand Prix

Both Sebastian and Lance covered good ground in FP1 and FP2 ahead of a likely rain-affected FP3 and qualifying before a dry Grand Prix.

Sebastian immediately demonstrated his pace in the AMR21 by going fourth on the Medium tyres within the first five minutes of the session.

He continued to lower his benchmark of 1.39.238, ending his opening stint with a best lap time of 1.37.441 ahead of a switch to Softs.

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Team-mate Lance also lapped in and around the top 10, reaching a 1.38.302 marker and completing nine laps on the mid-range tyre.

Both drivers then completed consistent Soft tyre running, growing more familiar with the tyre range and unlocking further pace.

Sebastian ended FP1 in fifth with a best time of 1.35.781 after 23 laps. Lance was 12th, courtesy of a 1.36.522 effort across his 21 laps.

Sebastian Vettel
Lance Stroll

The second practice was slightly disrupted, but Sebastian and Lance completed significant running on the Soft and Hard tyres.

The Formula One field set their fastest times in the first half of the session; Sebastian sealed ninth after a 1.34.837 lap time.

Lance, meanwhile, ended his Soft tyre running in 15th after a 1.35.334 effort.

Both drivers were about to begin their second stints when Antonio Giovinazzi damaged his Alfa Romeo and brought out the red flag midway through the session.

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Lance Stroll, 2021 Russian Grand Prix

After a 10-minute delay, both drivers headed out on a set of used Hards, before a switch to the used Softs in the final minutes.

The session ended under a yellow flag when Pierre Gasly lost the front wing of his AlphaTauri, bringing a close to a productive day's running.

Sebastian completed a total of 22 laps in FP2 compared to Lance's 21 for a total of 87 laps in Sochi.

Sebastian Vettel
Lance Stroll

Sebastian: "It was a productive day of running: we covered a good number of laps and found a decent balance with the car.

"That is positive because it can be tricky to find the flow in Sochi, so I think we have a good starting point.

"But it looks like it will rain tomorrow. That could make for an interesting qualifying session and, because it will mix up the field, it could lead to some opportunities for us, especially with some other drivers taking grid penalties already this weekend.

"Sunday is looking drier, so today's positive work is still important. We will make sure we are well prepared tonight and then see what tomorrow brings."

Lance: "It is good to be back on track. We have learned quite a bit today and I think there is more to come from me and the car.

"The forecast is suggesting that rain is going to be a factor tomorrow, which could change the course of the weekend. Obviously, it is a very different experience to drive in the wet and we have never experienced those sorts of conditions in Sochi before. That would be an exciting challenge and we will be prepared for the possibility tomorrow.

"We will go away and review what we have learned today and then see what the weather has in store for FP3 and qualifying."

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