The first practice session was in gear for the upcoming Russian Grand Prix earlier today, and Ferrari still maintained a strong showing.

They were not able to maintain a 1-2 lead though, as Max Verstappen split LeClerc and Sebastian Vettel. The Red Bull driver finished just 0.082 seconds behind LeClerc while Vettel finished just a half-second to come in third.

LeClerc seems to be out to prove a point after claiming he learned from his mistakes in the Singapore GP. He has since set the fastest lap for the FP1 at 1 minute, 34.462 seconds.

The top three, as mentioned, set the fastest times on soft tires though Mercedes opted for more prolonged stints on mediums.

If the practice sessions are any indication of the form of drivers at this time, it could be a problem for Mercedes.

Ferrari has been unbeatable in the past three races with Charles LeClerc becoming the new wonder boy after rising to the occasion. That was backed up after Vettel regained his form and got his first victory in more than a year.

Mercedes have been very strong at the Sochi Autodrom since the venue became part of the calendar in 2014 though the same was said of Singapore and that ended in Ferrari podium finish.

At the Autodrom, the talking point is centered about whether Ferrari will be able to make it four consecutive wins and end the reign of Mercedes at the venue.

The circuit, which is 5.848 kilometers features two long straights, which is an advantage for Scuderia considering they have the class-leading power unit thus far.

Ferrari’s speed on straights when it comes to corner-exit and into the first phase of straight is so high, chasing cars have had a hard time trying to keep up.

It is no surprise then that Lewis Hamilton is wary of the Ferrari threat going into Russia this weekend.

At the moment he still has point supremacy with a 62 lead on his teammate Valtteri Bottas and 96 on upcoming LeClerc. Vettel brings up the rear in fourth.

Another win from the Scuderia duo would mean closing in on his point lead and opening the championship up to other contenders.

Hamilton has backed his team to find a solution to the current threat. He admitted it would not be an easy fix as they need something long term.

Ferrari’s recent performance has given them inner confidence that anything is possible. It was not so evident in the first part of the season, but it certainly is now.

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LeClerc Pixabay