Lewis Hamilton will have the opportunity to retake the lead in the Formula 1 title race at the Russian Grand Prix today, with Max Verstappen set to start at the back of the grid following an engine change.
Sochi has been a Mercedes stronghold in recent years with the team winning all seven races to be held at the circuit since 2014. Hamilton is a four-time winner at the Russian Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas winning last season’s race.
Verstappen was already set for a three-place grid penalty following his dramatic collision with Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago, as the pressure of the world championship battle boiled over at Monza. Now, however, he starts from the back of the grid.
All the build-up to today’s race has been focused on the latest duel between the world championship contenders, in one of the closest title races in memory, but Verstappen will have his work cut out to catch up with Hamilton and provide some more wheel-to-wheel action between the rivals today.
Here’s everything you need to know.
When is it?
How can I watch?
The race will be shown live on the Sky Sports F1 channel, with coverage starting at 11:30am. If you’re not a Sky customer you can grab a NOWTV Day Pass here to watch without a subscription.
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Row 1 - Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz
Row 2 - George Russell, Lewis Hamilton
Row 3 - Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso
Row 4 - Valtteri Bottas, Lance Stroll
Row 5 - Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon
Row 6 - Sebastian Vettel, Pierre Gasly
Row 7 - Yuki Tsunoda, Kimi Raikkonen
Row 8 - Mick Schumacher, Antonio Giovinazzi
Row 9 - Nikita Mazepin, Charles Leclerc
Row 10 - Nicholas Latifi, Max Verstappen
1) Verstappen (Red Bull) - 226.5
2) Hamilton (Mercedes) - 221.5
3) Bottas (Mercedes) - 141
4) Norris (McLaren) - 132
5) Perez (Red Bull) - 118
What has Hamilton said?
“I know the pressure that comes with [trying to win your first title] and the experiences that go with it. Your eagerness... you go through lots of different experiences and emotions during that time.
“[Verstappen] won’t admit to it and I’m not going to make an assumption, I’m just saying that I remember what it was like when I had my first one and [the pressure] definitely mounted up.
“It was difficult, it was intense, I was going through a lot of different emotions, I didn’t always handle it the best. That’s to be expected, you know, it’s a lot of pressure when you are working in a big team, there’s a lot of self expectation and the desire to win is huge.”
What has Verstappen said?
“I think if someone really knows me, I’m very relaxed about all those things and I really can’t be bothered, you know I’m very chilled. It’s the best feeling ever to have a car, a great car where you go into every weekend and you can fight for a win.
“I just focus on myself and I really enjoy it out there at the front and of course hopefully we can do it for a really long time.”