Conditions are looking good for the inaugural Formula One Russian Grand Prix this weekend, with the weather in Sochi where the race is being held forecast to be fine and sunny. The peak temperature should reach 73 degrees F (23 degrees C) on Sunday, and there’s almost zero chance of rain. The weather was also fine today during the initial practice session and should remain much the same for tomorrow’s qualifying.

So far, Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton has been the fastest around the Sochi Autodrom, with the Briton the only driver to register a lap time below 1:40. The next fastest was McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen followed by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. Hamilton’s Mercedes AMG teammate Nico Rosberg was the fourth fastest during practice.

Fortunately, there were no major dramas. However, there have been two major announcements made today. The first is from Marussia, which says it won’t field a second car as a mark of respect to its injured driver Jules Bianchi who remains in a Japanese hospital with serious head injuries. It means Max Chilton will be the only driver for the team in this inaugural Russian Grand Prix.

The second announcement comes from the Lotus F1 Team, which has confirmed it will ditch its engine supply deal with Renault and adopt Mercedes AMG engines next season, a poignant move for the former Renault factory team. It means Mercedes AMG will still have three customers for its engines (Force India and Williams being the other two) when current customer McLaren switches to Honda next year.

Going into qualifying tomorrow and Sunday’s race, Lewis Hamilton leads the 2014 Drivers’ Championship with 266 points, with Nico Rosberg second with 256 points and Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo third with 193 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes AMG has 522 points versus the 332 of Infiniti Red Bull Racing and 201 of Williams.


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