Verstappen ahead of Leclerc in 2nd practice at Russian GP

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Max Verstappen traded positions with Charles Leclerc in Friday’s second practice at the Russian Grand Prix.

After Leclerc set the pace in the opening running at the Sochi Autodrome, Verstappen moved to the top of the time charts.

The Red Bull driver finished 0.335 seconds clear of Leclerc, with Valtteri Bottas third.

Lewis Hamilton, who is bidding for his first win since the summer break, was fourth, 0.798 behind Verstappen.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team is so often the dominant force in Russia, having won all of the five races staged here.

But Hamilton, 65 points ahead of Bottas in his quest for a sixth world title, looks to have his work cut out after finishing behind both a Red Bull, a Ferrari and his teammate, too.

With Verstappen to serve a five-place grid penalty following changes to his engine, Ferrari look well-placed to win for a fourth time in as many races.

Leclerc won successive races in Belgium and Italy before Sebastian Vettel ended his 13-month losing streak in Singapore last weekend.

Vettel, who made a slight mistake on his speedy run, was fifth in the second session, 1.039 off the pace.

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