Russian Grand Prix: Felipe Massa fastest in wet practice

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Russian GP 2015: Diesel spill and rain delays in Sochi practice
Russian Grand Prix on the BBC
Venue: Sochi Dates: 9-11 October
Coverage: Live coverage on BBC TV and BBC Radio 5 live, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV. Full details here

Williams driver Felipe Massa topped an unrepresentative wet second practice at the Russian Grand Prix in which only eight drivers set lap times.

He pipped Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by 0.201 seconds ahead of Williams' Valtteri Bottas on their final laps.

Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen was fourth ahead of McLaren's Fernando Alonso with times set earlier in the 90 minutes.

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were among the 12 drivers not to set a timed lap.

Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz and McLaren's Jenson Button were the others who did set a time.

Felipe Massa at the Sochi F1 circuit
Despite posting fastest time, Williams driver Felipe Massa was seemingly catching up on sleep earlier in the session

Hamilton leads his team-mate by 48 points in the world championship heading into Sunday's race on the street track around the Sochi Olympic stadium, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel a further nine adrift.

Including this weekend's race, there are five grands prix and a maximum of 125 points still available for drivers this year.

"It's the type of surface where the water just stands," said Hamilton. "It doesn't drain away anywhere so it looks like when it does rain it takes a long time to dry. It's really slippery out there; it's not a lot of fun."

Vettel said: "It was quite tricky because one half was wet and the other was only a bit damp. But it was good fun. I wanted to go out and do a little bit in the end."

Six other drivers also went out without setting a lap time, while Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was one of six drivers not to run at all as teams preferred not to risk their cars with dry weather predicted for qualifying and race at the weekend.

Alonso knows he will start the event from the back of the grid as a result of a total of 35 places of grid penalties for using more than the permitted number of engine parts.

The Spaniard earned a 25 grid-place penalty on Thursday when Honda fitted a new-specification internal combustion engine as well as a new turbo, energy store and MGU-H - the electric motor that recovers energy from the turbo.

Russian GP weather forecast

But Honda then replaced the new engine after the first session and fitted instead an engine of the previous specification. Because that also had a new turbo and MGU-H, another 10 grid places was added to the penalty.

Putin's race

Another new grand prix, another vanity project for a nation and its leader. In this case, one of the most powerful of all, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This is Putin's race. He was instrumental in making it happen, in ensuring it was funded, all with the aim of making host city Sochi a kind of Monaco of the Black Sea.

Putin's commitment to the place was clear at the inaugural event last year, when he turned up on race day, sat conspicuously in the stands between F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt and greeted the drivers before they went on to the podium.

The track's not up to much, and the town is some way short of the ambitions held for it. But when one of the most powerful men in the world is offering $250m for a five-year deal, F1 tends to follow the money.

Russian GP practice results

Russian GP coverage details

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