Lewis Hamilton will be looking for his 5th Russian Grand Prix victory this weekend

Russian Grand Prix: Welcome to Mercedes’ Playground

After a brief hiatus in racing, this time, we will head on over to the Sochi Autodrom for the much-awaited Russian Grand Prix.

The Silver Arrows got back on track when they survived the wild Tuscan Grand Prix, and they are keen on maintaining their fine form with another win in this circuit.

They’ve made the Sochi Autodrom their personal playground as they are the only constructors who have won in this race. And by the looks of it, it feels like another victory is inevitable.

Last year, Lewis Hamilton led the one-two finish as he and Valtteri Bottas took advantage of Ferrari’s collapse and they are heavily backed by the Russian Grand Prix 2020 odds to do it once more.

The biggest question heading into this weekend whether anyone can dethrone Mercedes – at least in Sochi.

 

Mercedes looking good in free practice

Recent form suggests that the Silver Arrows are on their way to make it seven consecutive wins in Sochi as they’ve done decent in their free practice sessions.

According to the Russian Grand Prix 2020 updates, Valtteri Bottas topped the time sheets in the first two practices and even bested his teammate Lewis Hamilton in the process.

In FP1, Bottas finished at 1:34:92 in what was a smooth ride all throughout. Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen finished second and third respectively.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton struggled in the said free practice. The British driver was caught off pace as his car had early lock-ups both on the soft and hard tyres which flat-spotted his rubber and he ended up in P19.

In FP2, Hamilton bounced back by placing second behind his teammate in Bottas, with the latter finishing by 0.267s ahead despite having trouble in turning the final corner during his run.

While Hamilton is expected to win again, this is a big race particularly for Valtteri Bottas as he is still searching for his first win since the Austrian Grand Prix.

 

Renault look promising

Another constructor that has done well in the first two sessions is Renault, and they should be considered as the dark horses in this upcoming event.

Daniel Ricciardo finished second and third while his teammate Esteban Ocon was sixth and ninth in the said sessions.

Daniel Ricciardo finished at 10th in the last practice of Russian Grand Prix due to mirror issue

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo during practice

This is an encouraging sign particularly for Daniel Ricciardo as he was vocal that he needed to make major improvements in the Sochi Autodrom.

The Aussie driver has done well in two of the last three races, narrowly missing out on a podium spot at both Spa and Mugello.

Even some of his opponents admitted that Ricciardo will be a handful in Sochi as Renault cars generally do well in power circuits that do not demand a ton of downforce.

However, whether Ricciardo will finally get back on the podium remains to be seen.

 

Sergio Perez denies strained relationship with Racing Point

Earlier this month, Racing Point announced that they won’t be needing the services of Sergio Perez next season with the impending arrival of Sebastian Vettel.

Because of this, people from the outside looking in felt that Perez’s relationship with Racing Point was damaged especially when he previously stated that the team was starting to “hide things” from him.

In a recent interview two days ago, the Mexican driver neither denied nor confirmed such claims and he even joked about “hating” Sebastian Vettel’s arrival.

“No, I don’t have anything against Seb and I think he’s coming to a fantastic team. A team that I wish I carried on with, because I know how good they’re looking, especially for next year,” he reiterated.

Sergio Perez’s future in Formula One remains up in the air. The Mexican has reportedly signed a preliminary contact for Haas next season, but team boss Guenther Steiner has yet to confirm this claim.

 

History

The race dates back to the 1910s where it was held briefly in Saint Petersburg. There were plans to host a Formula One event in Moscow for the 1983 season, but these didn’t come into fruition.

The Russian Grand Prix had its reboot during 2014 and it is notable for having only ever been won by Mercedes.

A victory by Lewis Hamilton will equal the record of Michael Schumacher’s 91 wins.

 

What are the odds?

The Sochi Autodrom fits Mercedes like a glove, which makes Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas the best bets here at SBOTOP.

They are both priced at 1.66 and 1.95 to win while the third podium spot should be a close affair between Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

On the other hand, Ferrari’s chances look bleak as the SF1000 is expected to struggle big time in Sochi’s power-sensitive circuit.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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