The 10th round of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship began with practice on Friday at the Sochi Autodrom as teams prepared for Sunday's Russian Grand Prix.
Two 90-minute sessions - FP1 and FP2 - on the 5.848-kilometer (3.634-mile), 18-turn circuit were held under mostly sunny skies at the Sochi Olympic Park.
Grosjean and Magnussen both started FP1 on the Pirelli P Zero Red soft tire. Magnussen promptly set his fastest time of the session on the softs with a 1:37.430 lap - 16th fastest overall. They switched strategies after their opening runs with Grosjean on the Yellow medium rubber and Magnussen selecting the White hard compound. Their baseline stints were marred thanks to a brief red flag stop for the crashed Williams of Nicholas Latifi. Magnussen abandoned his planned run, opting to go straight into a high-fuel outing to finish his program. Grosjean returned on low-fuel and set his best lap of 1:37.649, on the mediums, to place 18th. He wrapped up FP1 with a short high-fuel stretch.
Grosjean kicked off FP2 with an eight-lap taste of the hard rubber with Magnussen running mediums for a seven-lap tour. They bolted on fresh sets of soft tires respectively for their qualifying simulations. A 1:35.729 proved to be Magnussen's quickest time of the session placing the Dane 18th at the checkered. Grosjean clocked a 1:36.858 - the Frenchman 20th on the timesheet. The afternoon run plan concluded with high-fuel, long-distance runs.
Haas F1 Team ran a total of 110 laps on Friday across FP1 and FP2 - 56 by Grosjean and 54 by Magnussen.
Romain Grosjean: "We've been working as much as we could all day. The feeling hasn't been there, we're lacking pace - that was quite obvious on the qualifying run. Our race pace was a touch better but it's still not exactly where we'd like it to be. We'll keep working and hopefully come up with a solution for tomorrow. I'm surprised to be 1.1 seconds off the other car, that's not really good. We're looking at everything as obviously that's too big of a gap to be true. Hopefully we can come up with something, and my feeling and confidence in the car gets better so I can push a bit more. I have to hope for opportunities and stay out of trouble. We always give our best - that's for sure."
Kevin Magnussen: "I think, overall, we're better than we're looking. We didn't get our lap time done on the first lap running on the soft tires in either FP1 or FP2. So, I think there's a little more left in it. Again, this time, it's very close down our end of the timesheet. A couple of tenths can move you quite a bit forward. I do think we're in slightly better shape compared to Mugello, but we'll see where we are tomorrow when everyone's going flat out. You don't need to find a lot of time, but it's not easy to find that time by any means. We have a few things to work on and we'll see if we can get into Q2 tomorrow."
Guenther Steiner: "There's a pattern there now, it's just where we are at the moment. We are always trying to get the best out of our package but today I don't think we got the best out of our cars, especially not for Romain (Grosjean) as he struggled heavily with the car. Kevin (Magnussen), his fast run in FP2 wasn't a fantastic effort - but not from his side, we had some tire temperature issues. At the moment we just go from session to session trying to improve the car. It's the same for tomorrow. We'll work overnight to try to squeeze a little bit more out of the car and hopefully we can get it better. We need to attempt to get at least one car into Q2, that's our aim for now - it's the best we can do."