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Race information - Russia 2017 // Will Sochi quash F1's awesome race run?

Published by Christine

On the face of it, the Russian race doesn't look set to thrill. The new track has exceptionally smooth asphalt which is light on tyres, and therefore one stop strategies are the norm. Given that the 2017 rubber is even more durable than before, if the drivers didn't have to stop at all, I'm sure they'd get to the end no problem. It's hard to overtake in Sochi, so qualifying is crucial, and so far this year Mercedes have had the edge on a Saturday.

Having said all that, it's 2017 and the racing so far has been a pleasant surprise at each and every venue we've visited. Let's hope Russia is a similar story.

Event schedule

The balance of power between Ferrari and Mercedes is ebbing and flowing from one direction to the other. If the first three races are anything to go by, then it is Mercedes turn to win, and if Vettel finishes second, we'll be in the position we were a few weeks' ago - with two drivers exactly equal at the top of the standings.

It's not all about what's happening out front though. Several teams are just hoping to make it through a weekend unscathed. Over at Williams, the team will be crossing their fingers that Lance Stroll can make it to the end of a grand prix and finally get some good running under his belt. McLaren will be having similar thoughts for Alonso, who although was classified in Bahrain, has yet to see a chequered flag. And poor old Vandoorne didn't even get to start the race in the desert.

Renault promised more performance at the last race and seemed to live up to their claims, whilst Force India are seeing good results so far this season, sitting fourth in the championship. It's a tight mid-field in 2017 and it'll be interesting to see how the points look heading into the European leg of the season.

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
28 AprFridayFree Practice 109:00
GMT +01:00
11:00
GMT +03:00
Free Practice 213:00
GMT +01:00
15:00
GMT +03:00
29 AprSaturdayFree Practice 310:00
GMT +01:00
12:00
GMT +03:00
Qualifying13:00
GMT +01:00
15:00
GMT +03:00
30 AprSundayGrand Prix13:00
GMT +01:00
15:00
GMT +03:00

Support racing for this event includes Mitjet 2L Arctic Cup.

Expected conditions

If you were relying on the weather to mix things up for the race weekend, then the current forecast won't be what you're hoping for. The sun is set to shine for most of the three days, with perhaps a few clouds darkening the skies on Saturday, but no rain forecast at the moment.

Mild with plenty of sunshine

Sochi, Friday

21℃

  • Low 10℃
  • Humidity 58%

Mild with plenty of sunshine

Mostly sunny

Sochi, Saturday

21℃

  • Low 12℃
  • Humidity 60%

Mostly sunny

Mostly sunny and mild

Sochi, Sunday

22℃

  • Low 11℃
  • Humidity 64%

Mostly sunny and mild

Circuit history

Circuit information
CircuitSochi Autodrom
LocationSochi
CountryRussia
TimezoneGMT +03:00
Race debut2014
Laps53
Length5.848 km
Distance309.745 km
Line offset0.199 km

This will be the fourth Russian race held at the Sochi circuit, and there are no major changes to the track ahead of this year's event. Some high visibility speed bumps have been added near to kerbing, whilst some of the barriers have been improved for additional safety.

The race was initially held towards the end of the calendar but moved to an earlier slot last year. That means there aren't the same support races held as their used to be, and for some of the rookies it will be a first look at the Sochi track.

The winner of each of the three previous outings (all Mercedes) has gone on to become world champion that season. These victories were all achieved with one-stop strategies, as in fact, only three drivers have managed to finish in the points with two-stop races.

Results for the 2016 Russian Grand Prix
SessionDriverTeamTime
Free Practice 1Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:38.127
Free Practice 2Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:37.583
Free Practice 3Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:36.403
QualifyingNico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:35.417
Grand PrixNico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:32:41.997
Fastest lapNico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:39.094

Tyre compounds

The nature of the Sochi track is more like a street circuit than some of the recent events, and Pirelli are bringing their three softest compounds to the track. The purple supersoft will likely be the favoured tyre, particularly in qualifying.

Head of car racing Mario Isola says: "On the face of it, with Sochi being a low-severity circuit and more durable tyres this year, it should be a relatively straightforward one-stop race. However, this is the first time we are going there with the ultrasoft tyre, so the effect that it has together with the new generation of cars remains to be seen. The performance gap between the softest compounds is relatively small, so all three choices are potential race tyres in Sochi."

Selected tyre sets per driver
Soft tyreSupersoft tyreUltrasoft tyre
All drivers247

Note: From Australia to Spain, teams will have identical tyre allocations: seven sets of the softest compound available, four sets of the middle compound, and two of the hardest compound. In Australia, these are ultrasoft, supersoft and soft (in order). From Monaco, normal rules apply: teams will select 10 sets of the 13 available. Pirelli will communicate the selections on the Tuesday, 10 days before the race.

Press conference schedule

Official press conferences are organised by the FIA and happen four times during the weekend. The qualifying and post race press conferences will take place after the television unilateral interviews.

Press Conference Schedule
DayAttendeeRepresenting
ThursdayValtteri BottasMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
Romain GrosjeanHaas F1 Team
Daniil KvyatScuderia Toro Rosso
Kimi RäikkönenScuderia Ferrari
Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing
Pascal WehrleinSauber F1 Team
FridayNick ChesterRenault Sport F1 Team
Luigi FraboniScuderia Ferrari
Yusuke HasegawaHonda Motor Co. Ltd
Mario IsolaPirelli Tyre S.p.A
Matt MorrisMcLaren Honda
Otmar SzafnauerSahara Force India F1 Team
SaturdayThree fastest drivers
SundayFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

The FIA stewarding process includes a former F1 driver to offer added insight. These stewards are overseeing the weekend's action.

FIA stewards
NamePosition
Silvia BellotMember of the Royal Spanish Automobile Federation Board of Directors, FIA Women in Motorsport Commission Member, and FIA steward.
Paul GutjahrPresident of the FIA Hill Climb Commission, board member and President of Auto Sport Suisse SARL
Mika SaloFormer Formula One driver, ALMS GT Champion and double Le Mans GT2 class winner.

All content in the series Russia 2017