The Sport of F1 travels to Sochi, in Russia for the 15th round of the FIA World Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leading the driver’s standings by five points ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton following their dramatic crash at Monza in the Italian GP, that consequently retired both cars and lead to the Dutch driver getting a three-place grid drop for the upcoming Grand Prix.
Over the course of the Italian GP, Verstappen actually gained two points on Hamilton due to his second-place finish in the sprint qualifying race which saw Hamilton drop to fifth place behind both Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris who went on to earn McLaren’s first one-two finish in 11 years in the race itself on the Sunday, with Valtteri Bottas recovering from last on the starting grid to third-place due to changing components late enough to allow the Finn to start and win the sprint race from pole position.
The last time F1 came to Russia last year, the most common podium in the history of the sport happened once again, although it was Bottas who won the race, with Verstappen second and Hamilton having to fight back for third-place following 10 seconds worth of time penalties for doing practice starts outside of the designated area before the race. The Brit served his time penalties when coming in for his first pitstop.
At this race last year, Kimi Raikkonen also tied with Rubens Barichello for the most F1 race starts with 322 to his name, the Finn is expected to return to Alfa Romeo’s driver line-up this weekend having been replaced by Robert Kubica following a virus.