After a trio of triple-headers Formula 1 has waved a brief farewell to Western Europe and will head to the Caucasian Riviera for the Russian Grand Prix, Round 10 of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
Grand Prix racing in Russia first took place in the 1910’s in St. Petersburg but it was to be another century before Formula 1 ventured to the country, when the roads around the stadia used for the 2014 Winter Olympics were converted into a race track to create the Sochi Autodrom.
The smooth 5.8km circuit is the third-longest on the current calendar, behind Spa-Francorchamps and Silverstone, and its infrequent use means there is a high track evolution across the course of the weekend.
Long full-throttle sections and 90-degree corners feature prominently while the circuit’s iconic section is the long-radius off-camber turn four which bends 180-degrees around the flag-lined Medals Plaza and takes eight seconds to negotiate from entry to exit. (Source: Haas F1 Media)
Reuters statistics for the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, the 10th race of the 2020 season:
- 2019 pole position: Charles Leclerc (Monaco) Ferrari, one minute 31.628 seconds.
- 2019 winner: Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes
- Race lap record: Hamilton, 2019: 1:35.761.
- Start time: 1110GMT (1410 local)
Russian Grand Prix
- Mercedes are the only team to have won in Russia since the first race in Sochi in 2014. If they triumph again, it will be a record for most consecutive wins at the same grand prix.
- Hamilton won in 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019, Nico Rosberg in 2016 and Valtteri Bottas in 2017.
- The only non-Mercedes drivers to have started on pole in Russia are Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, in 2017, and Leclerc (2019).
- Mercedes and Ferrari have taken 16 of 18 podium places in Russia to date. The only exceptions were Bottas, third in 2014 for Williams, and Sergio Perez third for Force India in 2015.
- Bottas started on the front row in Sochi in 2016, took the first race win of his F1 career there in 2017 and pole in 2018.
- The layout runs clockwise around the 2014 Olympic Park venues, partly on public roads, and features 12 right and six left-hand corners.
- AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat is the only current Russian F1 driver.
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- Sochi is the third longest circuit on the calendar stretching 5.848km/3.634-miles. The city also competes with Australia’s Perth for the official title of longest city in the world. Sochi runs along the shoreline for roughly 145 kilometres (90 miles).
- The Sochi Autodrom is the second circuit on this year’s revised calendar to incorporate a former Olympic venue, the other being the Circuit de Catalunya (Barcelona ’92).
- A single lap of the Sochi Autodrom sees Formula 1 drivers input approximately 65 gear changes, that’s 3,445 times over an entire race distance.
- Sochi is the flattest circuit on the calendar with just 1.9m elevation. Over the course of the race, drivers will climb 100.7m, which is the equivalent to just one lap of Spa-Francorchamps.
- Hamilton has 90 victories from 259 starts and can equal Michael Schumacher’s record 91 on Sunday. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is the next closest active driver on 53.
- Hamilton has won six of nine races so far in 2020, Mercedes seven of them. Bottas, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly are the other winners.
- Ferrari have won 238 races since 1950, McLaren 182, Williams 114, Mercedes 109 and Red Bull 63. Former champions McLaren and Williams have not won since 2012.
- Hamilton has a record 95 career poles.
- Mercedes have started every race on pole this season.
- Hamilton has a record 158 career podiums.
- Hamilton has a record 42 points finishes in a row, which is also the record for successive classified finishes.
- The Briton leads Bottas by 55 points.
- All of the 10 teams except Williams have scored points this season.
- Kimi Raikkonen is set for his 322nd F1 start, drawing level with all-time record holder Rubens Barrichello of Brazil.