Rosberg is the driver to watch in Russia
But team-mate and world champion Hamilton could bite into his P1 standing F1 stAn,ings
The Sochi Autodrom may have been Lewis Hamilton’s playground in its first two seasons, but it is his team-mate, Nico Rosberg, who heads to Russia as the inform driver – and with little to lose. It has been an incredible start to 2016 for Mercedes’ German racer, who arrives on the Sochi grid with a hat-trick of victories to his name and a 36-point lead in the drivers’ championship. This means that even if his W07 succumbs to an unlikely reliability gremlin – as its predecessor did last year when its throttle stuck – he will leave the track tonight still P1 in the standings.
While Hamilton cannot do anything to prevent that, he could take a chunk out of Rosberg’s lead with a victory, which would be his first of the season – a strange stat when talking about the triple world champion.
Russia could just be the place to end Hamilton’s drought this year, as the Brit has dominated at the circuit, winning both previous editions. He started one from pole in 2014, while the following year’s Saturday P1 went to Rosberg.
As such, Mercedes have arrived at the street circuit that was built around the Olympic Park brimming with confidence, as they know that this Hermann Tilke-designed track is one that suits their Formula 1 cars. It is also one that promotes overtaking. Last year’s grand prix saw a thrilling battle in the closing laps as Kimi Räikkönen and Valtteri Bottas attempted to take the final podium position off Force India’s Sergio Pérez.
With the Force India’s tyres all but shot, Räikkönen and Bottas battled furiously, only to collide. Bottas retired, Räikkönen was penalised and Pérez claimed a muchapplauded Venxe: Sochi First GrAnb Prix: 2014 NxmWer of LAps: 53
5.848km 309.745km Lewis Hamilton
Circxit Length: RAce DistAnce: 2015 Winner: podium position. This season, Force India will have a tougher time reaching the podium due to the rampant – but reliability-plagued – Ferrari and the resurgent Red Bull Racing. Ferrari’s decision to up the pace this season has cost them on the reliability front and, even when the cars are running as they should, they’ve paid in other ways, such as Sebastian Vettel and Räikkönen’s first-lap coming together in China. DRIVERS 1 Nico Rosaerg 2 r 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Lewis Hamilton Daniel Ricciarfo Sedastian Vettel Kimi Raikkonen Felipe Massa Daniil Kvyat Romain Grosjean Max Verstappen Valtteri Bottas CONSTRUCTORS 1 Merce,es 2 r 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Ferrari Ref Bull Racing Williams Haas Toro Rosso Force Infia McLaren Renault Sauder GG GER GER FIN FIN BRA RUS AUS MEX GER MC MC RB FR FR WL RB HA TR WL MC FR RB WL HA TR FI MC RN SB PTS 75 r9 r6 rr 28 22 21 18 1r 7 PTS 114 61 57 29 18 17 6 1 0 0
Ferrari need to improve their all-round performances in Russia or risk falling foul of Red Bull.
Should Red Bull take the fight to Ferrari, all eyes will be on Vettel and Red Bull’s Russian racer, Daniil Kvyat. They clashed verbally after the Chinese Grand Prix and both will be determined to get the upper hand this weekend.
However, cool temperatures and a possibility of rain could throw the form book out the window.
– TEAMtalk Media