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After an enthralling Italian Grand Prix which saw Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren take belated wins and title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton coming to blows again, it is time to go racing once more. Join The Roar for live blog coverage of the Russian Grand Prix from 9:50pm (AEST).
At the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Sochi Autodrom has been a fortress for reigning world champions Mercedes who have been undefeated since the first race at the start of the hybrid-turbo era.
Mercedes come to this 5.8km circuit with the opportunity to capitalise on their championship rivals Red Bull, as standings leader Verstappen is poised to start from the back of the grid after having taken on a fourth power unit.
Valtteri Bottas, who’s been winless since this round last year, has shown again why he loves Sochi. He’s driving with a weight off his shoulders about his future in the sport, however, it has been made clear that if needed to, he will let teammate Hamilton take the win.
McLaren’s Lando Norris, however, mastered the changing conditions during qualifying to claim his maiden pole position ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and another excellent run from George Russell to put his Williams into third.
Hamilton will start from fourth behind this young trio, having made a mistake in the pit lane during Q3 by making contact with the wall. He will be hoping to make his way past the likes the Russell, Sainz and Norris, although the McLaren on pole will prove difficult.
And with big names such as Verstappen and Charles Leclerc starting at the back of the grid due to grid penalties, how much can they limit the damage by climbing up the order? Points may be the only remedy for the championship-leading Dutchman.
Sochi is a track that seldom puts on a show and with the lack of any tyre degradation, a plain sailing one-stop race appears to be on the cards again. If there were to be any action, it usually occurs on the first lap heading into the tight right-hander.
With qualifying having been run on intermediate tyres, it means that if the race starts in the dry – that it will give drivers a free choice of starting compound.
It truly is one of the most open Russian Grand Prix in years and you can join in on The Roar for live blog coverage from 9:50 pm AEST as we get set for another unpredictable race.
Lights out: 10pm (AEST)
Venue: Sochi Autodrom, Russia
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel Now, Foxtel Go
1. Lando Norris (McLaren), 2. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), 3. George Russell (Williams), 4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 5. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), 6. Fernando Alonso (Alpine), 7. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), 8. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), 9. Sergio Perez (Red Bull), 10. Esteban Ocon (Alpine), 11. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), 12. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), 13. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), 14. Nicholas Latifi (Williams), 15. Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo), 16. Mick Schumacher (Haas), 17. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), 18. Nikita Mazepin (Haas), 19. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), 20. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)