For the third time Formula 1 travels to Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix, albeit this time a lot earlier in the season. What are the key talking points ahead of the race?
No More Mistakes
Lewis Hamilton needs to start winning. Three poor races (two of which the result of his errors) have left him 36 points adrift of Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg. In FP1 for Sochi the signs were that Hamilton was going to struggle a little, but in FP2 he looked very quick. Race pace is not the issue though – he needs to start well.
After retiring on the parade lap in Bahrain and colliding with teammate Kimi Raikkonen on the opening lap in China, Ferrari man Sebastian Vettel could be forgiven for feeling a little frustrated, so the news he will take a five place grid penalty for Russia following a breakdown in FP2 will have gone down like a lead balloon. Ferrari may be closer in terms of raw pace, but the big question is: are they over-stressing the car?
Red Bull Visor
With head protection being a serious issue for Formula 1 right now, Red Bull tested their alternative to the halo device that Ferrari trialed in testing. Red Bull’s answer is a visor that sits just in front of the cockpit, and by all accounts the trial went well, though question marks remain – what would happen if it rained and visibility suffers?
After a dull 2014 race that could have potentially been completed without a single pit stop (if not for the rules), 2015 brought changes to the available tyres and a more exciting race. With teams having a bit more freedom around tyres this season, this variable dynamic makes predicting strategies difficult. The softer compounds are thought to bear up better here than in China, so teams may try to make more use of them. In any event, I look forward to a good race!