Last Time Out:
Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton proved too much to handle in Singapore. Hamilton produced one of the great pole laps on the Saturday and followed that up with an astute and controlled drive on the Sunday
Ferrari were left scratching their collective heads as why they failed to dominate at a track that has always played to their strengths.
The Russian Grand Prix takes places for its fifth year on the Sochi racing circuit that winds its way through the winter Olympic park near the Black Sea resort.
It combines long straights, 90 degree corners and a fair few long sweeping corners. All of this means a well-balanced, agile car is required for success here.
Mercedes have won this race every time it has been held – even including the non-championship events of 1913 and ’14 where a team named ‘Benz’ took the chequered flag on both occasions.
This track suits the Silver Arrows more than most, add to this the imperious form of Lewis Hamilton and it’s very difficult to oppose them.
For those looking for positive indicators of a more open race: Mercedes were pushed hard at this track for the first time last year with Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari being able to pressurise Valtteri Bottas all the way to the chequered flag.
In practice on Friday, and vitally in qualifying on Saturday, Mercedes appeared to have the measure of Red Bull and Ferrari but things can change quickly in this sport, as we witnessed with Mercedes finding the speed to beat Ferrari at Singapore mid-weekend.
There’s so little to separate Ferrari and Mercedes at the moment it can be dangerous to rely on course form – so many grand prix this season have gone against previous form.
While Lewis Hamilton is driving better than ever at this moment in time, his teammate starts the race from pole position and has been quoted as saying he’ll be doing his upmost to take his first race win of the season.
Bottas was a winner at the Russian Grand Prix last year and will no doubt be on hand to pick up the pieces if Hamilton’s race comes a cropper.
Valtteri Bottas at 19/10