Russian Grand Prix 2016

Get set for a sizzling showdown in Sochi

With five races to go, here’s why the Russian Grand Prix could give all drivers a real run for their money

As another season enters its final stages, both titles remain up for grabs as the action speeds to Sochi’s street circuit that’s already become a bit of a classic…

FORMULA 1 2018 VTB RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX, Sunday 30 September, 12.10pm, Sky Sports F1®/HD (CH 516/506)

With long, sweeping bends, fast straights and the kind of scenery that would make any holidaymaker nod appreciatively and think “cor, what a view”, the Russian Grand Prix has fast become one of the most exciting races on the Formula One calendar.

 

And if the past four races are anything to go by, this weekend’s race will almost certainly prove a thrilling showdown packed with potential crashes, opportunistic overtaking and team tantrums. Plus, with the race now being shifted from last season’s April slot to late September, we might even witness a title-deciding incident or two.

Lewis Hamilton after the 2014 Russian GP


Despite some scepticism going into 2014’s maiden Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom circuit, the race was a massive success, with drivers and fans alike enjoying the compact track layout and the distinctive headwear awarded to the three drivers that finished on the podium.

 

Unlike a number of previous far-flung races such as those held in Turkey and Korea, the Russian Grand Prix has endured, with capacity crowds flocking to the sun-soaked seaside resort, and a plethora of other motor-racing formats utilising its tight, unforgiving turns. Now entering its fifth year, and with the track’s contract running to 2025, the race shows no sign of going anywhere.

 

While past races have thrown up a few dominant, lights-to-flag victories (all for Mercedes), with a whole host of wheel-to-wheel action further down the field, this year’s race could be the first to buck the trend.

Mercedes and Ferrari during the Russian GP


Going into Sunday’s race, the pace shown by Mercedes and Ferrari is blisteringly similar. And with both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships still hanging in the balance, the stakes couldn’t be any higher.

 

The battles for the remaining championship points further back will intensify too, with each precious point gained a significant leap in prize money for the teams looking to keep their heads above the water.

 

Plus, if all that wasn’t enough to spur the drivers on, there’s always the chance of receiving a funny hat on the podium…


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