And welcome to our coverage for the 2020 Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom in Sochi. Well, actually it’s not in Sochi at all but rather in Adler, just up the road. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the track is that is is built around the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic games. You probably knew that already, though.
The track itself is fairly flat (though a little bumpier than the billiard table smooth it was when it was first open) and featureless and I would rank it towards the bottom of the track that feature on the 2020 calendar or indeed that were intended or even though about being on the 2020 calendar. But enough of the pessimism, we could have an interesting race, as we have the last few years, even though the overtaking opportunities are not all that plentiful. But that’s F1 in 2020, isn’t it?
With three free practice sessions done and dusted, it’s no surprise that the Mercedes are the class of the field again. Here’s a snippet of Phil Duncan’s report from final practice this morning.
Lewis Hamilton delivered an impressive performance in final practice for the Russian Grand Prix after he finished seven tenths faster than anyone else.Valtteri Bottas headed the time charts in both sessions at the Sochi Autodrom on Friday, but it was Hamilton’s turn to lay down an ominous marker ahead of qualifying.
The six-time world champion, who could match Michael Schumacher’s victory record of 91 on Sunday, finished 0.776 seconds clear of Bottas with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz in third.Esteban Ocon finished fourth for Renault ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen sixth and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel seventh.
British driver Lando Norris finished last in his McLaren, 2.7 seconds behind Hamilton.Qualifying for the 10th round of the campaign gets under way at 3pm local time.
The midfield will be an interesting battle, again, but Max Verstappen seemed to have turned around a poor Friday to get the balance a little better on the Red Bull. McLaren and Renault look a threat to the second row and third place, though.
Qualifying begins at 1pm BST and I’ll be here for all the build-up, latest updates and reaction from the session. Can anyone stop Lewis Hamilton? I doubt it.