Russian GP: F1 drivers praise Sochi circuit after practice

Formula 1 drivers have hailed the challenge posed by the Sochi Autodrom after their first experience of the circuit during practice for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix

Russian GP: F1 drivers praise Sochi circuit after practice

Mercedes set the pace in both sessions on the new 3.6-mile circuit, based on the site of the Olympic park, and championship leader Lewis Hamilton said he had "really enjoyed" his first experience of the track.

"It's got a really nice flow to it, it's not too bumpy, the corners are challenging - if you can get the lines just perfect you can put together really nice sectors," he said.

"The tyres are also not falling apart, which they do at other tracks, so it's even more fun because you can do lap after lap and enjoy it."

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo said the circuit had proved more challenging to drive than expected.

"It is more technical and difficult than it looked on paper," he said.

"It seemed quite hard to get the lap together and has quite a few off camber corners, which isn't always fun for a driver, but it does make it challenging and I think a lot more mistakes were made.

"The actual circuit is alright. We are not particularly quick at the moment, so you never love a circuit if you are not fast.

"Turn 13 is really quick. You open the DRS, and just before you brake the car gets a bit light.

"Some people are opting to take the DRS off a little bit early to get some more stability on braking. It is tricky, but it is quite fun [and] quite a good challenge."

McLaren's Jenson Button reckoned the reality of the circuit was a significant improvement on team simulations.

"In the simulator it wasn't fun to drive at all, but it's nice to drive," Button said.

"I'm happy with the job they've done. There are a few places that are quite bumpy, but that just adds to the circuit."

Lotus driver Romain Grosjean reckoned overtaking would be difficult in the race, despite the circuit having one of the longest straights on the calendar.

"It's going to be quite tough to overtake, unless the DRS is powerful, because under braking itself it's difficult," he said.

"It [the start/finish straight] is quite long, but the DRS opens quite late - in the middle of Turn 1 - and then if you close the door the braking is going to be difficult; you cannot go to the outside because the other guy will push you wide."

shares
comments
Lotus F1 team's Mercedes deal could influence Grosjean's future
Previous article

Lotus F1 team's Mercedes deal could influence Grosjean's future

Next article

Russian GP: Jenson Button says McLaren a podium threat

Russian GP: Jenson Button says McLaren a podium threat
Load comments
How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle Plus

How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle

Supremacy in the McLaren vs Ferrari fight over third place in the constructors’ championship has ebbed and flowed between the two teams so far in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But for several key reasons, right now it seems the advantage has swung decisively back to the Scuderia and McLaren knows it.

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1 Plus

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1

Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing was briefly one of the biggest names on the US motorsports scene, but its ambition outstripped its resources. STUART CODLING relates the story of a Formula 1 campaign cut off in its prime

Formula 1
Oct 26, 2021
The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021