Russian GP 2021 Preview

Preview for upcoming race weekend

17w ago

This weekend the 8th running of the Russian Grand Prix in modern F1 will take place. The Sochi Autodrom yet again being the track to host the event. So far the track has only ever seen a Mercedes driver take to the top step of the podium. Lewis Hamilton has won the event four times previously (2014,2015,2018,2019) and Valteri Bottas has taken two wins at the circuit (2017,2020) as well as Nico Rosberg who won the event at the start of his 2016 title charge.

The circuit was designed around the winter Olympic site in Sochi, Russia. The 18 turn circuit is one of the longest on the calendar and has a lap record held by Lewis Hamilton of a 1:35.761 set in 2019. With the Russian Grand Prix not being known for it overtaking excitement, qualifying will be key for maximizing performance. However, pole position isn't the only position that will be key on Sunday. The long straight means the tow that is received by the second row means that anyone can lead into the 1st turn.

Hamilton took a decisive lead in the 2015 championship with a win in Russia

Hamilton took a decisive lead in the 2015 championship with a win in Russia


With the FIA handing Max Verstappen a three place grid penalty he will be fighting from behind this weekend. Max Verstappen will need to maximize the Red Bulls pace in qualifying in order to maximize the points available to him. Verstappen should be aiming for the podium, if not the race win if the race goes his way. This is all dependent on Verstappen not taking an engine penalty. Due to the crash in Silverstone. If Red Bull chooses to take the penalty then Verstappen's race pace is going to be the key factor in his weekend. The main aim is likely to be minimizing the loss to Hamilton.


After winning every event held in Russia since it was introduced Mercedes will be strong around this track again. With Bottas usually strong around the circuit Mercedes could enjoy a strong race performance. A perfect weekend will be expected, from the team. A first 1-2 finish from the team in the 2021 season would be ideal in order to move away from Red Bull in the constructors championship. If Bottas can maintain his form that he showed in Monza and Hamilton performs to his high standards then it will put Mercedes in a very strong position to take back control of both championships heading into the final stretch of the season. If Bottas leads from Hamilton team orders will certainly be deployed to maximize the points on offer for the reigning world champion.

Mercedes will hope to find both cars at front of the grid into turn 1 just like in 2020

Mercedes will hope to find both cars at front of the grid into turn 1 just like in 2020

McLaren and Ferrari

McLaren and Ferrari will be expected to be fighting for best of the rest again. In the fight for 3rd in the championship both teams need more bad than good races. McLaren enter the weekend hoping for more solid points, the two drivers are both coming off the back of great performances in Monza but still have realistic expectations of the weekend. Danial Riccardo believes that due to Sochi being a "tricky circuit" qualifying will be key to giving the "best chance for points" for the team. Ferrari however would like to spoil the McLaren party and they will be looking to capitalize on Verstappen's penalty as well.

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Comments (1)

  • Good preview! I really hope Bottas wins and Hamilton isn't P2, so that Mercedes can't switch them around.

      3 months ago