F1 Russian Grand Prix 2014: Lewis Hamilton finishes on top once again as Formula One attempts to move on from Jules Bianchi crash

Only Max Chilton featured for Marussia as Hamilton repeated his habit of ending Friday's second session fastest of all

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The Independent Online

Lewis Hamilton quickly found himself at home around Sochi's Olympic Park on a day when Formula One attempted to get back to business in the wake of Jules Bianchi's accident five days ago.

With Bianchi fighting for his life in a hospital in Japan, for all connected with F1 the swift return to action with this weekend's inaugural Russian Grand Prix has been tough to endure, and especially for his team Marussia.

As a mark of respect, the team confirmed ahead of first practice on Friday they would run only one car, that of Bianchi's team-mate Max Chilton.

Despite placing reserve Alexander Rossi on standby to deputise on Thursday, Marussia said their decision was "the appropriate course of action under the difficult circumstances of the weekend".

 

The team, however, have still prepared the second car, which is to sit on Bianchi's side of the garage for the remainder of the weekend, and with his name over the entrance.

It is understood to have been a tough decision to make for sporting director Graeme Lowdon and team principal John Booth, who remains at Bianchi's bedside at the Mie General Medical Centre in Yokkaichi.

Chilton expressed himself to be "truly devastated" with regard to Bianchi's situation after the 25-year-old sustained brain injuries from a high-speed collision with a recovery vehicle at Suzuka.

With all drivers carrying the slogan 'Tous pour Jules' - All for Jules - on their helmets, they returned to the cockpits of their cars still feeling the traumatic events that unfolded on Sunday.

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Nico Rosberg on track during first practice

With three successive wins behind him to open up a 10-point cushion over Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg at the top of standings, Hamilton finished the day comfortably ahead of his main title rival.

Around F1's newest venue, the Sochi Autodrom that was at the heart of the winter Olympics earlier this year, Hamilton has quickly mastered what appears to be far from a tricky track technically.

The 29-year-old Briton, with the teams switching to the faster soft-compound Pirelli tyres in the afternoon session after running mediums in the morning, posted a lap of one minute 39.630 seconds.

Remarkably, it was McLaren's Kevin Magnussen and not Rosberg second on the list, albeit 0.864secs adrift, followed closely by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Rosberg, quickest in the morning run, had to settle for fourth, just over nine tenths of a second off of Hamilton's pace.

Williams duo Valtteri Bottas, whose first set of Pirellis in FP1 were ruined by an overheating tyre blanket so delaying his maiden foray onto the track, and Felipe Massa, were fifth and seventh quickest respectively.

Jenson Button provided the filling in that particular sandwich, with McLaren showing a return to form as they are pushing both Ferrari and Williams.

Home hero Daniil Kvyat was eighth best in his Toro Rosso, with four-times champion Sebastian Vettel and Jean-Eric Vergne in the second Toro Rosso completing the top 10, the latter nearly two seconds down.

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Sebastian Vettel's helmet shows the tribute to Jules Bianchi, which reads 'All with Jules'

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen has so far struggled to get to grips with the circuit, with the Finn 11th.

The only man who can deny either Hamilton or Rosberg the title, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, was down in 13th place, with his session over seven minutes from the end due to a mechanical issue with his car.

As for the sole Marussia of Chilton, the 23-year-old Briton was 20th of the 21 on track, but nearly five seconds adrift, leaving Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi to bring up the rear.

Second Practice: 1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1min 39.630secs,

2 Kevin Magnussen (Den) McLaren 1:40.494

3 Fernando Alonso (Spa) Ferrari 1:40.504

4 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 1:40.542

5 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams 1:40.573

6 Jenson Button (Gbr) McLaren 1:40.718

7 Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams 1:40.731

8 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Toro Rosso 1:41.108

9 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 1:41.396

10 Jean-Eric Vergne (Fra) Toro Rosso 1:41.531

11 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:41.630

12 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India 1:41.677

13 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:42.061

14 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India 1:42.090

15 Adrian Sutil (Ger) Sauber 1:42.233

16 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Lotus 1:42.892

17 Pastor Maldonado (Ven) Lotus 1:42.905

18 Esteban Gutierrez (Mex) Sauber 1:43.055

19 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Caterham 1:44.135

20 Max Chilton (Gbr) Marussia 1:44.530

21 Kamui Kobayashi (Jpn) Caterham 1:44.952

PA

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