After 100 years away, grand prix racing will return to Russia today with the inaugural F1 world championship race at the Sochi Autodrom.
Following three straight wins, Britain’s Lewis Hamilton will be gunning to extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship today in Russia. After securing pole position on Saturday, he is well placed to move 17 points clear of teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg at the top of the standings.
However, Rosberg will be an ever-present threat to Hamilton from second place on the grid, and he also has history on his side. The last winner of a grand prix in Russia was also German and also drove a Mercedes-Benz – Willy Scholl’s victory around the streets of St. Petersburg could be harked back to today.
Valtteri Bottas will start the race from P3 after a great effort in qualifying that very nearly saw him upstage the Mercedes drivers ahead. However, as his tires began to wear, he could not keep his car on track in the final part of his hot lap.
Jenson Button and Daniil Kvyat put in some great performances to finish fourth and fifth respectively, with Kvyat living up to the hype on his home race weekend. Both will be keen on converting their grid positions into a good result today.
Further back, Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa were less fortunate. Vettel struggled to work with his car after a setup change, and will start the race from 10th place, while Massa suffered a loss of power on his Williams, leaving him 18th in qualifying.
You can watch all of the action from Sochi live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET.
FROM THE STEWARDS’ OFFICE
- Pastor Maldonado has been relegated five places on the grid, carried over from his 10-place penalty at the Japanese GP. As this was for an engine infringement, any of the penalty that could not be served is carried over for one further race. He served just five places at Suzuka, so he will serve the remainder this weekend. UPDATE: Maldonado has also changed his gearbox, so will now start last.
- Nico Hulkenberg, Max Chilton and Kevin Magnussen have all been given five place grid penalties for changing their gearbox.
STARTING GRID FOR THE 2014 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Valtteri Bottas Williams
4. Jenson Button McLaren
5. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
8. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
10. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
11. Kevin Magnussen McLaren
12. Sergio Perez Force India
13. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
14. Adrian Sutil Sauber
15. Romain Grosjean Lotus
16. Marcus Ericsson Caterham
17. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
18. Felipe Massa Williams
19. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham
20. Max Chilton Marussia
21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus