2016 Formula One Russian Grand Prix preview

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Sochi Autodrom, home of the Formula One Russian Grand Prix

Sochi Autodrom, home of the Formula One Russian Grand Prix

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Round four of the 2016 Formula One World Championship is the Russian Grand Prix which takes place this weekend and held once again at the Sochi Autodrom, located about a thousand miles south of Moscow.

The first Russian race was held only two years ago and so far the event's proven a hit with the fans.

The Sochi Autodrom, a Herman Tilke-designed street circuit with some permanent sections, stretches 3.63 mi through the former site of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, taking in the Sochi Medals Plaza and the Bolshoy Ice Dome.

It boasts long straights and sweeping hairpins but there are also some slow sections that feature 90-degree corners. And being a street circuit, there are very limited run-off areas so drivers need to be careful.

Red Bull Racing Aeroscreen cockpit protection

Red Bull Racing Aeroscreen cockpit protection

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The surface is still very smooth, which makes this race one of the lowest tire degradation races of the season. The teams tend to be aggressive with tire strategy here. For the fourth time in as many races, Pirelli has nominated its medium, soft and supersoft compounds.

Looking ahead at the weather forecast, we’re in for fine conditions throughout the weekend and a top temperature of 63 degrees F (17 degrees C) for Sunday’s race.

In the practice sessions, we saw Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo test the team’s proposed Aeroscreen cockpit protection system. Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton was the quickest and Ferrari’s [NYSE:RACE] Sebastian Vettel was also quick but suffered some electrical trouble that cut short his session.

Going into tomorrow’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race, Mercedes’ other driver Nico Rosberg leads the 2016 Drivers’ Championship with 75 points. Hamilton is second with 39 points and Ricciardo is third with 36 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 114 points versus the 61 of Ferrari and 57 of Red Bull. Last year’s winner of the Russian Grand Prix was Hamilton.

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