Welcome to the fourth round of the season, Sochi, Russia. A circuit that I like to call SilverMonaco, because I see a lot of Silverstone in the first part and a lot of Monaco in the final, in this beautiful racetrack we should see another intriguing battle for victory.
Now we know for sure that Ferrari has closed the gap to Mercedes. Now they are side by side. Only in qualifying the Brackley-based squad has a little advantage still. After the brilliant pole position achieved by Bottas in Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton will be determined to re-establish his dominance of the team. The driver was really surprised by his team mate’s performance but he was happy to find a competitive Sebastian Vettel too. I think even against himself, every driver, including an arrogant Lewis, prefers to fight against another driver to win the title instead of a lone run towards it.
I think there is a regardable difference between the two drivers of Mercedes and Ferrari. I mean that, while at Mercedes Bottas can be at Lewis’ pace in qualifying, for now, at Ferrari we still see a too slow Kimi Raikkonen. I am sincere, I’ve never thought the Finn was a great driver. He’s good if he has a perfect car but he always struggles to find the right set up, he makes many mistakes while driving, sometimes it seems Kimi loves to stay in the shadows. So what I suggest to Ferrari is to change their second driver next year. Constructor championship is important as well.
I think the future is already here and his name is Max Verstappen. Everybody knows he is the most talented driver now, considering his age. And every top team would love to have him on board. Ferrari should think about him. The Dutch driver impressed a lot (again) in China and he is doing a lot more than his Red Bull can allow this year.
Sochi is a high skill level circuit. The walls are really close to the track in some corners. So no mistakes are needed and the drivers will have to preserve their brakes which are the most stressed part of the car here. Danil Kyvat, the local hero, is called to take a little bit of revenge here after his bad start to the season and thinking about the 2015 Grand Prix when he eliminated Vettel by touching him twice.
We hope for a clean race for the Russian and a lucky one for Sebastian, in order to see a spectacular battle with Mercedes. Williams and Red Bull are expected to be finally closest to the top teams but nothing will change in the midfield, I guess. Mclaren Honda should have a new spec engine in Sochi, so we are all curious, and hopeful, to see where they will be on the grid and on the last lap of the race, also hoping that Fernando Alonso will not think too much about other Honda-powered cars!
(Image Courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media)