Nico Hulkenberg tops FP1 in Russia after diesel spill delays session

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

A diesel spillage ahead of the first practice session resulted in a farcical opening to the Russian Grand Prix weekend, with the 90 minute session cut to 60 minutes and track conditions remaining slippery throughout.

A track vehicle leaked diesel through several corners in sector two, resulting in a hasty clean-up operation that left several corners doused in water. With the other two sectors dry, drivers had to tip toe through the wet section while going flat out for the rest of the lap.

The first few tentative exploration laps were performed on intermediate tyres, with Sebastian Vettel summing up the situation by simply saying "What a mess" on the team radio. Fernando Alonso was the first driver to complete a series of laps on slicks, albeit with minimal traction in the middle sector as he negotiated the wet corners.

A flurry of slick tyre laps at the end of the session saw Force India's Nico Hulkenberg go fastest with a 1:44.355 on his final lap, beating Nico Rosberg by just 0.052s. But with the track in the condition it was in, not much could be read into the times set.

It would be easier to list the drivers who did not spin than those that did, but it is worth noting Lewis Hamilton's final attempt was baulked by a spinning Felipe Massa and then ruined completely three corners later when Hamilton had a spin of his own.

For the record, Sebastian Vettel was third fastest ahead of Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz and Hamilton in seventh. None of the drivers completed more than 16 laps and with rain looming ahead of the afternoon session, teams may have to muddle through to final practice with limited data on the slick tyres.