Sochi street circuit approved ahead of Russian GP

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The Sochi International Street Circuit has been approved by the FIA ahead of this year’s Russian Grand Prix, which is due to be held on October 12th.

For the first time in 100 years, Russia will host a grand prix, which will be its first as part of the official world championship. The last race was held back in 1914 around the streets of St. Petersburg before the outbreak of the first world war.

Despite the ongoing tensions in the area, Formula 1 looks set to head to Sochi for the race just eight months after the city hosted the Winter Olympics. The circuit being built around the complex used for the games.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting confirmed in a statement that work on the track had been completed early, and to a very high standard.

“The circuit is in extremely good condition and will be issued with a licence,” Whiting said. “Everything has been done according to the plans – the kerbs are very good, the verges, the guardrails, the walls – everything is in an extremely good condition.

“Everything has been done to the highest standards and I’m extremely pleased. I can say without hesitation that the circuit is ready 60 days in advance, which is very rare really.”

Race promoter Sergey Vorobyev was pleased with Whiting’s comments, and is looking forward to welcoming Formula 1 is six weeks’ time.

“We were confident that FIA would appreciate the efforts made by our team to implement the technical details that have been so highly reviewed by Mr. Whiting today,” he said. “Now that Sochi Autodrom has received a license, everything else is up to the organisers of the events and as such we are working intensely on ensuring that all aspects of the event are fully prepared.

“It is our aim to make this a truly unforgettable event with the comfort and enjoyment of our guests at the forefront of all our efforts.”

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.