Hamilton and Mercedes look to edge another step closer in Sochi

By Jessica Borrell

  • Sochi Preview
  • Great opportunity for overtaking
  • Hamilton looks to keep 100% record in Russia 

Sochi, Russia – The Sochi Autodrom will host its second Formula 1 Grand Prix at a critical stage in this season’s championship. Nearly all drivers have declared where there racing loyalties will lie next season, (with vacant seats at Lotus and Haas still to fill) but it is still very much up in the air where drivers will end up in the standings come Abu Dhabi.

At Britwatch Sports we like to cover the most talked about stories in sports and we are delighted to write that this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi won’t be the last for Jenson Button. The McLaren maestro announced last week he will remain with the Woking outfit and compete for a seventh season with the team after a disastrous home race for Honda a fortnight ago.

Points over pride

Lewis Hamilton will be going into this weekend with at least a small inkling he has one hand on the championship. He has a reassuring 48 points over his closest rival and teammate Nico Rosberg, but Sebastian Vettel is only 11 points behind Rosberg. Mercedes will do anything to retain their advantage over Ferrari in the constructor’s championship. It’ll be unexpected to hear any comments from Toto Wolff or Niki Lauda saying that they relish the competition or look forward to an exciting race this weekend. They want a boring, predictable win where Hamilton comes out top and Rosberg close behind. They can’t afford any more reliability issues or engine trouble, because if Vettel’s smells an opportunity, you know he’ll be in a position to pounce on any driver error or team failing.

From Russia with love

It may still be a new track, but it has gained a lot of positive feedback from drivers with its distinct layout and technical corners. Russia’s own Daniil Kvyat is looking forward to being back amongst his home crowd at the only Grand Prix to be held around an Olympic Park. He told the Formula 1 website the track is just as impressive as the feeling he gets from racing around it.

 

Who will break latest?

The clockwise circuit holds 18 corners, and the winding 650m straight between corners one and two is a great chance to utilise a great start. We have noticed many mistakes from drivers including Rosberg and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen since new starting procedure rules were enforced to ensure a driver has more to do than the team to get a good getaway from the starting line. This is a great opportunity for the likes of William’s Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo to slot themselves higher up the pack and spice the racing up.

The track has many similarities to Singapore and Monaco with the sweeping curves and “street-like” surroundings, but you can race here, and push at full throttle. Pirelli have allocated a softer tyre compound compared to last year where grip was at a maximum to detract from locking up at the slow, sharp corners at the end of each of the longest straights. Who said Russia was so conservative? This track holds all the ingredients of an exhilarating race.

The Japanese Grand Prix starts at 12pm and is live on Sky Sports F1 and the BBC.

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