The Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton are leaps and bounds better than everyone else in Sochi this weekend. They locked out the front row and were 1-2 in each of the final two practice sessions too. Oh, on top of that, they’ve never lost a race in the Russian Grand Prix.
Yes, they’re 4-0 since 2014.
Good luck stopping them.
The only thing that could derail their hopes are an unforeseen problem or messing up team orders.
So, the real fight is from third on back. The Red Bull’s have been very fast this weekend but are starting in the back. They also messed up in Q2 and never even made it to the third and final round. Neither driver has finished better than fifth in Russia with Daniel Ricciardo’s best result being seventh. With Ricciardo having no podiums since his win Monaco and just two top five finishes in his last seven starts, I don’t see his No. 3 Renault passing that many cars.
I don’t see it out of Verstappen either.
So, that opens up the door for someone else. Who is it?
Top 5 Finishers
- 44 Hamilton – Yes, Bottas is fast and yes he’s the defending race winner and pole sitter. But, I think team orders will get in the way which will allow Hamilton a third win in Russia. He has six straight top two finishes on the season. Why not a seventh and an extension of his points lead? He was third, first and first respectively in practice and starts second.
- 77 Bottas – He was second in each of the final two practice sessions of the weekend and earned the pole. As stated above, he won this race last year. Unfortunately, team orders takes the win away.
- 5 Vettel – He needs to remain as close to the podium as possible. Again, team orders here put him on the podium. Vettel, was first, fifth and third respectively in practice this weekend and starts third. He has two runner-up finishes in Russia in the last three years. This year is a third place run.
- 20 Magnussen – He’s been strong before in Russia with a fifth place finish in 2014. He starts fifth and will reward a contract extension with the team with a strong top five.
- 11 Perez – This is a strong track for him. He’s had four top 10 finishes in as many tries. Perez, was seventh and 10th respectively in the two practice sessions that he took part in and will start eighth.