After finishing over eight-tenths of a second clear of the field during second practice on Friday, it may come as little surprise that Lewis Hamilton has said that he is a fan of the Sochi Autodrom circuit that will host this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.
The sport returns to Russia after 100 years away this weekend at the newly-built track which incorporates the complex used for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
After finishing second in FP1, Hamilton hit back in the second session to move well clear of the field, but he still believes that there is room for improvement.
“I like the new circuit,” Hamilton said. “It’s got really good grip and great corners, with a lot at medium speed. It’s good fun.
“The car has been feeling really good today. McLaren look close which is great for everyone as it should make for a decent race.
“We’ve got quite a good balance with the car so there are a lot of boxes ticked but we still have work to do to see if we can improve for tomorrow.”
Hamilton’s sentiments were echoed by his team boss, Toto Wolff, who praised the organizers for the facility they have built in Sochi.
“My compliments go to the organisers on the standard of the facility here in Sochi and this challenging new circuit,” Wolff said. “Like at any new track, the surface was very green today and we need running time for the grip levels to build up; we could see that lap times were improving all the way through both sessions.
“The conditions will probably ramp up even further through the weekend and we need to make the right decisions on set-up.”
Nico Rosberg had been the fastest man in the first session, but faded in FP2 on Friday afternoon, finishing fourth.
“The team decided to go two different ways in terms of setup,” Rosberg explained. “I took a very creative setup for my car in the second practice session, which didn’t work out.
“So we will go back to the conservative way for tomorrow, because we saw that Lewis was very quick with that.”