Round four. Sebastian Vettel versus Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari versus Mercedes. At the Grand Prix of Russia, the German factory stall has so far dominated almost at will.
The Formula One race in the former Olympia city of Sochi is now to become a Ferrari festival.
Which team has been best suited in Sochi so far?
Mercedes always had reason to celebrate at the races in Sochi Russia. 2014 and 2015 made the German racing stadium the perfect winner of the designer award in Sochi. At that time the race took place at a much later time. Since last year, it has been happening in Russia in the first quarter of the season.
What kept Mercedes from further success: After the Pole by Hamilton 2014 as well as its victories in the same year and 2015 Nico Rosberg also won after the Pole 2015 a year ago from the first starting place. As dominant as the silver arrows in Russia have always been, leadership rounds show: 100 percent.
What was the best strategy so far?
Whether Hamilton won his two victories or Rosberg 2016: Both came to the box only once for the mandatory tyre change. If you double down to Pit Lane, you don’t stand a chance at number one. Only three riders have managed to make it to the points with more than one tire change.
The one-stop strategy is possible only because the course treats the tyres much more gently than the route just two weeks ago in the Sahir Desert of Bahrain. For the first time in luggage for Russia, Pirelli has the super soft tyre for this weekend, the fastest of all.
How far is it to the first crack point?
Further than on many other courses. Turn one, the drivers take around 300-things. Then comes curve two. They’re not even halfway there yet. It’s over a kilometer to this point. For comparison: In Bahrain almost two weeks ago it was 501 meters.
Is there a Russian pilot?
One, yes. And they always celebrate it especially on the Grand Prix weekend in the spa town of Sochi. Even a tribune is named after him: Daniil Kvyat. On Wednesday he got 23-year-old, he’s driving a Toro Rosso car. A year ago, he was driving a Red Bull at the home race, and so Sebastian Vettel hit the Ferrari so hard that the German was finished in the first round. After that, Kvyat was demoted to the Red Bull B team Toro Rosso. For the Russian, the Dutch moved Max Verstappen from Toro Rosso to the Red Bull cockpit.