Formula One returns for the second instalment of the Russian Grand Prix with a familiar scenario as a dominant Mercedes can wrap up the constructors’ title once again in Sochi.
While last year saw the championship secured with three rounds remaining, 2015 could see Mercedes go one better due to the addition of Mexico to the calendar.
– Russian Grand Prix: Circuit guide infographic
Three points more than Ferrari is all the team needs to secure back-to-back titles, and Lewis Hamilton will also be looking to move a big step closer to his third drivers’ championship.
Victory in Russia will open up the possibility of Hamilton becoming champion in Austin, but Mercedes is wary of a Singapore repeat on another street circuit with the same tyre compounds…
Mercedes did bounce back from its Singapore nightmare with a one-two in Japan, but Nico Rosberg was pushed hard by Sebastian Vettel as Ferrari showed it is still closing the gap.
Singapore is somewhat similar to Sochi in terms of layout and with Pirelli supplying the soft and supersoft tyres in order to avoid a repeat of last year’s dull one-stop race, Mercedes will need to be on its toes.
Two long straights – between the final corner and Turn 2 as well as from Turn 11 to 14 – are likely to hurt Red Bull and McLaren, but the former has shown it can be quick on the majority of tracks when it has a clean weekend.
Williams was more competitive in Japan and was Mercedes’ nearest challenger in Russia 12 months ago, while a resurgent Force India will look to continue its run of scoring points in every race since the summer break.
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) October 7, 2015
Pole position: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 1:38.513
Top three: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Valtteri Bottas (Williams)
Fastest lap: Valtteri Bottas (Williams), 1:40.896
SESSION TIMES (All times local)
FP1: 10:00 – 11:30
FP2: 14:00 – 15:30
FP3: 12:00 – 13:00
Qualifying: 15:00 – 16:00
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) October 7, 2015
With Sochi on a similar latitude as Monaco, it enjoys a largely mediterranean climate. However, this weekend is set to see unsettled weather and cool temperatures, with the biggest threat of rain currently on Friday during FP2.
Track temperatures are likely to be low throughout the weekend, which will make it difficult for the teams to perfect their set-ups on a circuit which offered very low grip throughout last year’s event.
1st – Sebastian Vettel
2nd – Lewis Hamilton
3rd – Kimi Raikkonen
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