F1: Sebastian Vettel Leads Ferrari’s (NYSE:RACE)Run in Russia
Another win, at the street circuit where the Sebastian Vettel finished second in Y 2015, would mark Ferrari’s best opening 4 races since Y 2008
The Big Q: Will Ferrari stay ahead of the pack in Sochi?
F1 champions MercedesAMG have led every lap of every Russian Grand Prix since the race made its debut around Sochi’s Olympic Park in Y 2014, but Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will aim to break that streak at this weekend.
The 4X world champion is enjoying his best start to a season since he was at Red Bull in Y 2011, leading Lewis Hamilton by 7 points after 2 wins and a 2nd place from the 1st 3 races.
“Things start to click and hopefully that sort of success now in the 1st couple of races helps us to build up some sort of momentum that maybe these guys had in the past,” Mr. Vettel after winning in Bahrain on 16 April.
Mr. Hamilton, presented with the winner’s trophy by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Y’s 2014 and 2015 before now-retired MercedesAMG team mate and champion Nico Rosberg won from Pole position last year, felt the pain in Bahrain.
“We’re going to push hard together, re-gather as a team and come back fighting,” he said after collecting a time penalty and finishing 2nd.
MercedesAMG have done plenty of homework since then but now recognize they have a strong battle on their hands.
“In this season with these new regulations, you can’t take anything for granted,” said MBZAMG’s team boss Toto Wolff.
“The trophies of previous years don’t guarantee that we’ll be winning in Russia when you have a very fierce competitor like we do in Ferrari. We’ll take it one step at a time…”
Mr. Hamilton saw team mate Valtteri Bottas take a career 1st Pole position at Bahrain and he has a good track record in Sochi too.
Mr. Bottas set the first fastest lap of his career there in Y 2014, on his way to 3rd place, and it is a layout that he likes.
“I have always been comfortable there so we will see. Its a completely different type of track again, completely different kind of temperatures, different asphalt so many different things. We’ll see,” he said.
Red Bull, the only team to beat MercedesAMG last season, have yet to reach the podium in Sochi but both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen are hoping for more excitement this time with cars now loading more G-forces.
“I expect this year for the track to be grippy and with these cars it should be quite fast,” said Mr. Ricciardo. “I would say it is going to be more enjoyable than it has been so I am looking forward to that.”
Force India’s Sergio Perez is chasing his 14th successive scoring finish, Sauber and McLaren have yet mark points this season.
Toro Rosso’s Spanish driver Carlos Sainz has a 3-place grid penalty for his Bahrain collision with Williams’ Canadian rookie Lance Stroll.
|NYSE:RACE||74.9||26 April 2017||0.75||74.88||75.31||74.76||464,200|
|HeffX-LTN Analysis for RACE:||Overall||Short||Intermediate||Long|
|Bullish (0.38)||Neutral (0.21)||Very Bullish (0.52)||Bullish (0.42)|
Russian Grand Prix – Sky Sports F1 TV Times
Track Facts: The Sochi Autodrom runs through the 2014 Winter Olympics Park. It is, to a large extent surrounded by walls, therefore, the circuit can be considered a mix between a permanent and a street track. Straight-line performance, traction and braking dominates the first and the last sectors, whereas the middle sector is more technical and requires the drivers to find their rhythm through the flow of the corners.
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