The unpredictable Italian Grand Prix brought an end to the second triple-header of the 2021 F1 season, as the sport has now headed into a brief break. But, of course, not the fans. The race at Monza had unimaginable moments sprinkled throughout the 90-minute session, and the fans are already awaiting the next race weekend.
Well, it is the Russian Grand Prix, which is scheduled between September 24 and September 26, 2021. Sochi is one of the fewest high-speed circuits that are present on the racing calendar.
The race weekend will unfold by following the standard procedure, unlike Italian GP. Friday will witness FP1 at 11:30 AM local time followed by FP2 at 3:00 PM. On Saturday, it will be FP3 at 12:00 PM followed by qualifying at 3:00 PM, and ultimately carving the way to the penultimate session, the main race, at 3:00 PM on Sunday.
What to expect at Sochi?
It is a 5.8 km-long circuit, over which the drivers will have to drive around for 53 laps on Sunday, covering a race distance of 309.7 km. The only downside of this circuit is its incapability to provide actions on the track despite sporting wide enough tarmac.
— Sochi Autodrom (@SochiAutodrom) September 22, 2020
There are 2 DRS zones at the Sochi Autodrom, with the initial one on the main straight. And this straight is pretty much where most of the action will take place. The other DRS zone is between turns 10 and 12.
However, since it isn’t necessarily straight and rather has a curve or two over an uneven surface, overtaking could prove to be highly risky for F1 cars. This particular straight will resemble much of the ‘straight’ at the Albert Park circuit between turns 10 and 11.
Can Valtteri Bottas claim his 3rd F1 win at Sochi?
Sochi Autodrom is certainly one of the luckiest circuits for Bottas, with the Finn enjoying a couple of race victories in the last 4 years. He is still the favorite, going into this season’s Grand Prix after winning the race in 2020.
Furthermore, the Mercedes driver is looking in a decent form ever since the Mercedes announcement, as he went on to claim pole, win the Sprint and fight all the way from the back of the grid to P3 over the Italian Grand Prix. Of course, one of his threats could be Max Verstappen.
Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas celebrates pole position for the sprint qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron
However, since the Dutchman will endure a 3-place grid penalty ahead of Sunday afternoon, Bottas would benefit much from it even if he fails to out-qualify Verstappen. Hence, a positive race weekend in the offing for Bottas. But, how far is he going to maximize his advantage? We’ll know soon enough.
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