Tuesday September 11, 2018
Sochi was the location of the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. Since then, it has arguably become better known as the location of the Russian Grand Prix. The circuit itself was constructed to run around the Olympic Park, using several roads that form part of the venue. It has gone through a few names since its creation, including the obvious Sochi Olympic Park Circuit. Today, it is the Sochi Autodrom.
The circuit is 5.848km long and takes the form of a street circuit. It is not the first Formula One circuit to reuse an old Olympic park. Instead, it takes third place behind Beijing and Sydney. There are three other circuits that are longer than this one. Sochi Autodrom takes in several notable sights in the former Olympic Park, including the original medals plaza.
In 2017, Sebastian Vettel took pole position when the race began at Sochi Autodrom. Kimi Raikkonen took the lap record for the race. However, Vettel and Raikkonen would go on to take second and third place respectively as the race ended. Valtteri Bottas took first place for Mercedes (the other two drivers both raced for Ferrari).
Fast forward to this year’s Russian Grand Prix. Can we guess who might be in with a chance to win this time around? We might garner some clues from the practice and qualifying sessions ahead of the race itself. There are three practice sessions over two days, with the first two on 28th September at 11am and 3pm. The final practice session is on 29th September at noon, before qualifying takes place the same day at 3pm. The race proper is from 2.10pm to 4.10pm on 30th September, covering 53 laps of the track.
The three driver names mentioned above also take up three of the top four spots in the driver standings thus far. Bottas is fourth, Raikkonen is third, and Vettel is second. However, GBR’s Lewis Hamilton is in first place at present. Where will those four drivers stand once the Russian Grand Prix has been decided? Will Hamilton still be leading the pack, or will a surprising name come out of nowhere to place on the podium? Keep watching on 30th September to find out more.