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Renault: No replacement for Ocon in F1 reserve role

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Renault has confirmed that it will not appoint a direct replacement for Esteban Ocon as its Formula 1 reserve driver following the Frenchman’s move into a race seat with Manor.

Manor confirmed on Wednesday that Ocon would be replacing Rio Haryanto for the remainder of the season after the Indonesian’s funding dried up.

Ocon is a Mercedes junior, but has been on loan at Renault this season as a reserve driver that has seen him take part in four practice sessions.

Had regular race drivers Kevin Magnussen or Jolyon Palmer been unable to race, Ocon would have stepped up as a replacement at Renault.

However, after his move, Renault has confirmed that it will not be appointing a set replacement, but instead using one of the drivers on its junior program.

GP2’s Sergey Sirotkin would be the most likely driver to get the call if needed, given he has driven the R.S.16 car before during practice for the Russian Grand Prix.

Other young drivers on Renault’s books include Nicholas Latifi, Oliver Rowland, Jack Aitken and Louis Deletraz.

Valtteri Bottas fastest in Friday F1 practices for Russian Grand Prix

F1 Sochi Valtteri Bottas
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SOCHI, Russia — Valtteri Bottas paced both F1 practices Friday for the Russian Grand Prix on Friday as Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton was slowed by damaged tires in the first session.

Bottas turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 33.519 seconds in the second session that bettered Hamilton’s 1:33.786.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was more than a second behind Bottas in third at 1:34.577, followed by the McLaren Racing duo of Carlos Sainz Jr. (1:34.723) and Lando Norris (1:34.847).

In the first F1 session at Sochi, Valtteri Bottas set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 34.923 seconds, beating Ricciardo by half a second. Max Verstappen was third quickest in his Red Bull, a further 0.147 back.

Hamilton could only manage 19th fastest after locking up his tires and leaving them with a flat spot. Ferrari again struggled to find pace with Sebastian Vettel ninth and Charles Leclerc 11th.

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The first session was briefly red-flagged when Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams. Carlos Sainz Jr. spun his McLaren backward into a barrier and broke off his rear wing.

Verstappen spun during the second session but avoided damage to his car.