CNBC gets brief look at Sochi F1 track construction (VIDEO)

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The world’s focus and eyes are drawn on Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics, in what the Russians hope will be the kickoff to showcasing Sochi on the world stage.

Of course, later this year, Formula One will take to the streets of Sochi in a course constructed around the Olympic Park. Russia’s already had one F1 driver in Vitaly Petrov – who podiumed at the 2011 Australian Grand Prix driving for Renault – and will have a second this year as GP3 champion Daniil Kvyat makes his debut for Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Views inside the construction of the track have been sparse, but CNBC was able to as part of the 2014 Winter Olympics coverage.

The video for that is linked here.

Meanwhile the man who will call the race, NBC Sports Group Formula One announcer Leigh Diffey, who’s on site in Sochi now for luge, skeleton and bobsled coverage, hasn’t yet had much chance to see the track himself.

“I drove past the grandstand. I saw where the main straight is. But we have just been flat out from the day that we landed,” Diffey told the Austin American-Statesman in an interview.

The inaugural Russian Grand Prix will be held on October 12, for 52 laps over a 3.649-mile street course.

F1 2017 driver review: Kimi Raikkonen

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Kimi Raikkonen

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 7
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 7
Best Finish: P2 (Monaco, Hungary)
Pole Positions: 1
Fastest Laps: 2
Points: 205
Laps Led: 40
Championship Position: 4th

While this may have statistically been Kimi Raikkonen’s best campaign since his first year back in F1 in 2012, there is a good case for it being one of his most disappointing to date.

Raikkonen’s continued role at Ferrari has been questioned on a number of occasions, but the Finn looked capable of answering his critics heading into 2017 after impressing through pre-season testing as he appeared to get to grips well with the new-style cars.

But we soon grew accustomed to the same old story: flashes of potential, but otherwise an underwhelming, unsatisfactory campaign that saw Raikkonen be dwarfed by his teammate, Sebastian Vettel.

Raikkonen’s charge to his first pole position for over eight years in Monaco gave hope of a popular win, only for Ferrari to play its strategy in favor of title contender Vettel – why wouldn’t the team do so? – to leave him a disgruntled second.

While Vettel was able to impress at the majority of circuits, Raikkonen only looked strong at tracks that were unquestionably ‘Ferrari’ tracks, such as Hungary and Brazil. Like Vettel, Raikkonen should have racked up a good haul of points in Singapore, only for the start-line crash to sideline both Ferraris before they even reached Turn 1.

Again there is the question of ‘what could have been?’ in Malaysia had it not been for the spark plug issue on the grid, yet in Japan, Raikkonen was nowhere, finishing behind the Mercedes and Red Bulls.

Finishing just five points clear of Daniel Ricciardo despite having a much faster car for the best part of the season and the Red Bull driver’s own reliability issues sums up the disappointment of Raikkonen’s campaign.

He should have been an ally for Vettel in the title race by nicking points of Lewis Hamilton, much as Valtteri Bottas was doing for his Mercedes teammate. Instead, Raikkonen seemed to be tagging along for the best part of this season.

Season High: Pole in Monaco, his first since the 2008 French Grand Prix.

Season Low: Finishing a distant P4 at Spa – a circuit he made his own in the 2000s.