Things to know ahead of the Russian Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Russia, Sochi International Street Circuitru

Formula One is officially back! What an electrifying qualifying session yesterday’s thriller in Sochi was! It was once again Charles Leclerc who came out on top of the fascinating closely-matched contest between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

Debut in 2014 - Today’s race will be the sixth FIA Formula One World Championship Russian Grand Prix. The race appeared on the calendar in 2014 and each race has been held at the Sochi Autodrom.

Long history – The very first Russian Grand Prix was held at Saint Petersburg in 1913 and won by Benz driver Georgy Suvorin. The race was organized in the following year as well and another Benz driver Willy Scholl managed to snatch the victory.

A long lap – The Sochi Autodrom is one of the longer circuits. Drivers have to complete a total of 53 laps on the 5.848km track to cover the entire race distance of 309.745km.

Fight at the start – Pole sitter Charles Leclerc will need to have a perfect getaway at the start as the tow effect is quite powerful on the run-down to the first braking zone. The distance from the first row to Turn 2 is 889m.

The Finn’s territory – Sochi is definitely among the favourite tracks of Valtteri Bottas. The Mercedes drivers secured his first Formula One victory at Sochi back in 2017. He was very competitive last year as well with securing the pole position with a lap time of 1m31.387 which is currently the fastest ever lap completed around the Sochi Autodrom. Although the Finn was required to give up his position and the race win to his teammate Lewis Hamilton in 2018, he demonstrated his speed by setting the fastest ever race lap with a time of 1m35.861 which is the official lap record in Russia.

New asphalt layer - The track has been resurfaced at the exit of Turn 2, from the entry to the exit of Turn 8, from the entry to Turn 15 through to Point 16.5 and in a small section in the middle of the fast lane.

Double DRS opportunity - The first of two DRS zones has its detection point 72m after Turn 18. Activation is 95m before Turn 1. Zone Two’s detection is 72m before Turn 10, with activation 70m after the corner.

Tight pit lane – Due to tight nature of the Sochi pit lane, the governing body has set a lower pit lane speed limit for this weekend. Drivers have to adhere to a limit of 60km/h in all sessions and the race as they also have to do for example in Budapest or Singapore.

Only Mercedes - Since the inaugural Formula One Russian Grand Prix, Mercedes has achieved an amazing run of success with securing victory in every single edition of the event.

The most successful driver - It is Lewis Hamilton who has stood the most on the top of the rostrum. The Briton has secured three victories so far in the history of the Russian Grand Prix. His former teammate Nico Rosberg and his current teammate Valtteri Bottas have both won once in Russia.

Sport centre - In 2014 Sochi hosted XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games.

Incredible distances - Sochi is the second longest city in the world streching for 145 kilometers along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains. It’s also the largest resort city in Russia. Sochi is about 1,603 kilometers away from Moscow.