Smooth tarmac, high fuel consumption, every type of corner: that’s the Russian GP.
Next weekend’s race will be the fourth running of the Russian Grand Prix. But if you think that single-seater racing is all recent history for the biggest country in the world, then think again. There was a project to build a Formula 1 car here when it was the Soviet Union, during the Cold War period.
However, today’s link to the sport is the Sochi circuit. Despite the fact that its mountainous coast enjoys a mild climate, the town hosted the Winter Olympics in 2014 and since then it has welcomed the arrival of Formula 1. The track is 5.848 kilometres in length, making it a touch shorter than Silverstone and a bit longer than Suzuka and Monza. One of its standout corners is the wide semi-circular Turn 3, taken flat out by the new generation of F1 cars. The surface is very smooth, but the layout means fuel consumption is high, while the final sector has no less than six corners where traction is important.
Pirelli is bringing along its three softest compounds, the yellow Soft, red Supersoft and purple Ultrasoft. To date, the Russian GP has not looked too kindly on Scuderia Ferrari, although last year, Seb Vettel was second fastest in qualifying. However, he then had to take a grid penalty and was later hit by Daniil Kvyat, while Kimi Raikkonen drove a great race to finish on the podium.