Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix – Sochi
Race Date: 1st May 2016
Circuit Name: Sochi Autodrom International Street Circuit
Practice/Qualifying: 29th & 30th
Number of Laps: 53
Circuit Length: 5.848 km
Race Distance: 309.732 km
The Russian GP returned to the F1 calendar in 2014 and the new Sochi Autodrom International Street circuit, initially met with doubt and controversy, proved to be a huge success with both the drivers and F1 fans alike. Due to its part track and public roads design, like the previously axed Valencia circuit, there were understandably objections voiced about the quality of the racing surface and subsequent performance concerns. However, the quality of the track and racing surface exceeded all expectations and there has been almost zero tyre degradation at the end of both GP, which is almost unheard of in the sport.
Heading in to the year’s Russian GP and Mercedes are again already streets ahead of their nearest rivals Ferrari in terms of performance and Nico Rosberg is already beginning to run away with the drivers’ Championship with three consecutive GP wins at Australia, Bahrain and China a fortnight ago. Rosberg will aim for a fourth consecutive GP victory on Sunday, as well as his seventh in a row overall having won the last three GP of the 2015 season.
Rosberg qualified second fastest and finished second in the GP in the 2014, behind team mate Hamilton, but while he qualified fastest in 2015 ahead of Hamilton and was leading the GP, he failed to finish the race retiring on lap 46 due to throttle failure. Even though Rosberg has been dominant in all three races this season, albeit due to varying setbacks for team mate Hamilton, he’s surprisingly second favourite for both Pole Position and Sunday’s GP.
It’s no surprise Hamilton is favourite for Pole Position again this weekend as he’s claimed Pole in 12 of his last 20 GP, including twice from three races this season, compared to 6 from 20 for team mate Rosberg. With all of Hamilton’s previous technical issues this season now seemingly resolved, he will be chomping at the bit to secure Pole Position come Saturday’s qualifying and given the above statistics I advise backing at Evens to do so.
Williams Filipe Massa finished in the top-six at the China GP a fortnight ago as predicted at 2/1 and it’s a surprise to see him as big as 15/8 to repeat this this weekend as he’s continues to be very consistent and competitive. He’s finished in the top-six twice from three GP this season and finished fourth here last year and is definitely worth siding with to finish in the top-six again on Sunday.
Finally the Toro Rosso team of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen have been very reliable and consistent on GP day’s this season. Sainz has recorded two points finishes (DNF at Bahrain) while team mate Verstappen has recorded three in a row this season and at 13/10 for a Team Double Points Finish this weekend I recommend snapping this up.