As the 2021 title battle continues to intensify between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, Formula One head to Sochi, Russia for the 2021 Russian Grand Prix.
With just five points separating Verstappen and Hamilton following race-ending contact in the Italian Grand Prix last time out, both drivers will be eager to bounce back and impose themselves into the title lead with a win here.
Red Bull meanwhile come into this race desperate to stop Mercedes romping towards an eighth constructor title, whilst McLaren have a point to prove after ending their nine year victory drought at Monza as they seek another strong podium chasing performance.
Haas’ Nikita Mazepin will also be out to impress as he prepares for his first home race in front of his Russian fans, despite enduring a difficult rookie season.
Now here is everything that you need to know ahead of the 2021 Russian Grand Prix weekend.
Circuit: Sochi Autodrom
Race Distance: 309.745km
Tyre Compounds: C3, C4 & C5
|Friday 24 September||FP1||9:30am|
|Friday 24 September||FP2||1:00pm|
|Saturday 25 September||FP3||10:00am|
|Saturday 25 September||Qualifying||1:00pm|
|Sunday 26 September||Race||1:00pm|
Five Key Pointers
- Mercedes are yet to fail to win at Sochi Autodrom since the track first arrived in F1 in 2014, although this could be their most difficult fight yet.
- With Verstappen currently set for a three-place grid penalty following his collision with Hamilton at Monza, Red Bull will likely focus more on perfecting their race strategy if they’re to win here.
- Sochi Autodrom is a low-degradation circuit so one-stop strategies look likely, although there have been some surprise two-stop strategies this season so don’t rule out a strategic shakeup here.
- Overtaking has historically been quite difficult in F1 around this track so Qualifying will be key and could well inform the race strategies if some drivers find themselves out of position.
- With a fairly sizeable prospect of rain on Friday and Saturday, a mixed up grid in Qualifying could be on the cards given the lack of wet weather data around this circuit over the years in F1.
Last Time Out
Lewis Hamilton led from pole position at Sochi in 2020 but stewards slapped him with a pair of five-second time penalties for separate practice start infringements pre-race, which handed victory to Valtteri Bottas as Verstappen recovered from a slow start to finish second ahead of Hamilton who finished third.
If missed any of the 14 previous rounds of the 2021 season, please click on the links below to catch up on the missed action.