2016 FORMULA 1 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX
Key Strategic Moment
Daniel Ricciardo’s hopes of a top five finish were ruined on the first lap after his team mate, Daniil Kvyat, made a mistake and hit Sebastian Vettel, who was pushed into Ricciardo. He therefore had to pit for a new front wing and a new set of tires. Red Bull Racing chose medium tires, but these were slow, especially in traction out of corners meaning the strategy didn’t work because he had to pit again 23 laps from the end for soft tires.
James Allen on F1, UBS F1 Expert
Making a breakthrough - What is Williams Martini Racing’s winning strategy for Russia?
Williams has not had the best of starts to the season but historically its cars have been quick in Sochi. Can the team therefore target a podium finish, like 2014? Williams has favored the harder tires in races so far this year, but in Sochi the softer compounds will come to the fore. Valtteri Bottas has qualified third in the previous two years, however the pace shown by Red Bull Racing in China means that the team will have to be on top form to repeat such a strong performance.
Unable to capitalize - How did Williams perform in Sochi?
Valtteri Bottas qualified third but started second after a grid penalty for Sebastian Vettel. Williams however were not able to convert that into a podium. Bottas was passed by Lewis Hamilton before running wide and then lost further time behind Fernando Alonso, unable to pass. This allowed Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen to pit and get ahead of him in third place. A frustrating Sunday for Williams but valuable points nonetheless with Bottas finishing fourth, just ahead of his teammate Felipe Massa in fifth.
Race Strategy Briefing
Sochi has a long lap, 18 corners and is tough on fuel consumption.
Sochi has relatively low grip, so teams will go aggressive on the softest tires.
Sochi has low wear and degradation, so only one or two stops are predicted.
61% of the lap is at full throttle, which is relatively high. The long lap demands a lot of bursts of throttle usage.
The top speed is 345km/h on the long straight to Turn 2, one of the highest of the season.
May 01 | 15:00 local time, 14:00 CET
Following Formula 1's strategy to push into developing economies around the world, it only seemed a matter of time before Russia took a place on the calendar. It is a momentous sporting year for Russia when it did enter the sport in 2014, with Sochi also playing host to the Winter Olympics that year and then the venue repurposed for their inaugural Grand Prix in October. Situated in the south-west of the country close to the border with Georgia, the track layout is fast and flowing for a modern circuit, albeit with a slower, more technical final sector. All eyes will be on Red Bull’s Daniil Kyvat when Formula 1 rolls into town. The Russian youngster rose to prominence in Formula 1s feeder-series GP3 and joined the senior Red Bull team after just one year with Toro Rosso.
Circuit length 5.303 km
Race distance 307.574 km
2015 race winner Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Pirelli allocation supersoft, soft, medium
Sochi was a big surprise when it joined the calendar in 2014. The tires lasted much longer than anyone had anticipated as wear and degradation were very low and it was the same last season. This year Pirelli is bringing soft and supersoft, as well as the medium tire as a third tire as per the 2016 regulations. As the grip level is higher than at other venues, fuel use here is the most critical of the whole season. This is something teams will have to manage, although the proximity of the walls means there is always a high chance of a safety car, as there was twice in 2015.
In collaboration with James Allen