Vettel tipped to shine at Russian GP

F1i 19:55 07/10/2015
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Sebastian Vettel is tipped to perform well in Sochi this weekend.

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.

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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…

FORM GUIDE

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.

From the sim to the track. Getting ready! Are you? #RussianGP #F1 with @xevipujolar pic.twitter.com/J2WSdMs4wl

— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) October 7, 2015

The Russian Grand Prix circuit in Sochi.

2014 RESULT

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

Race: 1400

Good morning everyone ! How are we doing? Ready for the #RussianGP ? But cloudy this morning in Sochi… #r8main pic.twitter.com/hwjgvBTrf6

— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) October 7, 2015

WEATHER FORECAST

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.

Britain's Lewis Hamilton has the chance to extend his lead at the top of the Drivers' standings.

PODIUM PREDICTION

1st – Sebastian Vettel

2nd – Lewis Hamilton

3rd – Kimi Raikkonen

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