F1 heads for the Black Sea coast and the resort of Sochi this weekend as Ferrari bid to make it four victories in a row to continue their astonishing 2019 renaissance at the Russian Grand Prix.
The men from Maranello were floundering heading into the summer break after a miserable first half of the season. But since then victories for Charles Leclerc at Spa and Monza and Sebastian Vettel in Singapore have revitalised their fortunes.
Ferrari should again be competitive in Russia, but Mercedes will be hoping to re-assert their dominance at the head of the championship standings. Lewis Hamilton came away from Singapore saying the team could have easily won that race and he’ll be hoping for a better outcome this weekend.
It promises to be another fascinating weekend with the sport’s two big guns again fighting it out at the front of the grid.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of what has started to become a pivotal race in the F1 calendar.
When is the 2019 Russian Grand Prix?
The start times for the Russian Grand Prix are as follows:
Practice 1: Friday September 27, 1100 local time (0900 BST)
Practice 2: Friday September 27, 1500 local time (1300 BST)
Practice 3: Saturday September 28, 1200 local time (1000 BST)
Qualifying: Saturday September 28, 1500 local time (1300 BST)
Race: Sunday September 29, 1410 local time (1210 BST)
Where does the Russian Grand Prix take place?
The Sochi Autodrom initially formed part of the venue used for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, but the tropical beach holiday resort on the Black Sea coast is now considered a Formula One hub.
The 55,000-capacity venue was designed by renowned German architect Hermann Tilke and a single lap takes in 1.7km of public roads, featuring 12 right-handed corners and six left-handers that combines both high-speed and technical sections.
Maximum speeds of 320km/h can be reached on the straight between Turns 1 and 2 with the average lap speed around the 215km/h mark.
The 5.853-kilometre track, which runs clockwise, is the fourth-longest circuit on the F1 calendar behind Spa, Baku and Silverstone.
Daniil Kvyat has been honoured with the T4 Grandstand – which can see action at Turns 2, 3, 4 and 5 – being named after the Russian, who made history at the 2014 Australian GP when he became the then youngest points scorer in F1 history.
Directions: How can I get to the Russian Grand Prix?
The Sochi International Street Circuit is in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi in Krasnodar Krai, Russia. There are no direct flights to Sochi from Western Europe but plenty of regional flights. It is likely most air passengers will need to change in Moscow or Istanbul en route to the race.
For race weekend there are normally special transport options and local buses and trains run to the Imeretinskiy Kurort station which is within walking distance of the track. The train journey from central Sochi to the circuit takes around 50 minutes.
Where can I watch the Russian Grand Prix on TV?
Russian Grand Prix weekend – including qualifying and the race proper – will be screened live in the UK by pay-TV broadcaster Sky Sports on its dedicated Sky Sports F1 channel. You can also access a live stream of the coverage via Now TV. Full coverage will also be aired by free-to-air broadcaster Channel 4.
Subscribers to F1’s own app can hear radio commentary on the race proper from the BBC and access live data around each session.
PlanetF1 will carry live timing and expert commentary on every session of the race weekend along with all the latest news from the track.
The Russian Grand Prix will be shown live on TV by the following outlets in other key markets:
United States: ESPN (English), Univision (Spanish)
Canada: RDS (French), TSN (English)
Australia: Fox Sports and Foxtel 4k (no ad breaks)
France: Canal + (pay TV) and TF1 (free-to-air)
Italy: Sky Sport F1
Germany: RTL and Sky Deutschland
Spain: Movistar F1
What is the weather forecast for the Russian Grand Prix?
Friday September 27: 24C, showers.
Saturday September 28: 22C, rain.
Sunday September 29: 22C, scattered showers.
Which drivers have won the Russian Grand Prix?
Sunday’s race will be the sixth running of a race which was introduced to the Formula 1 calendar back in 2014. So far, the event has been completely dominated by Mercedes.
The Silver Arrows have taken every renewal of the race via three Lewis Hamilton victories and one each from Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas.
Recent winners of the Russian Grand Prix are as follows:
2018: Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain, Mercedes)
2017: Valtteri Bottas (Finland, Mercedes)
2016: Nico Rosberg (Germany, Mercedes)
2015: Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain, Mercedes)
2014: Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain, Mercedes)
Track Lap Record: 1:35.861 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes, 2018)
Russian Grand Prix grid positions
Charles Leclerc became the first Ferrari driver since the great Michael Schumacher back in 2000 to claim four pole positions in a row with another scorching display at Sochi on Saturday. Full grid positions for the Russian Grand Prix – including penalties – are as follows:
1 Charles Leclerc (Monaco, Ferrari)
2 Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain, Mercedes)
3 Sebastian Vettel (Germany, Ferrari)
4 Valtteri Bottas (Finland, Mercedes)
5 Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain, McLaren)
6 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany, Renault)
7 Lando Norris (Great Britain, McLaren)
8 Romain Grosjean (France, Haas)
9 Max Verstappen (Netherlands, Red Bull)*
10 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia, Renault)
11 Sergio Perez (Mexico, Racing Point)
12 Antonio Giovinazzi (Italy, Alfa Romeo)
13 Kevin Magnussen (Denmark, Haas)
14 Lance Stroll (Canada, Racing Point)
15 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland, Alfa Romeo)
16 Pierre Gasly (France, Toro Rosso)*
17 George Russell (Great Britain, Williams)
18 Robert Kubica (Poland, Williams)*
19 Daniil Kvyat (Russia, Toro Rosso)*
Pit lane Alex Albon (Thailand, Red Bull)*
* Max Verstappen, Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly are each penalised 5 places for use of additional power unit elements. Albon to start from pit lane after change in floor spec.
* Daniil Kvyat and Robert Kubica are required to start from back of grid due to multiple power unit element changes.
What are the odds for the Russian Grand Prix?
Charles Leclerc is now odds-on favourite to make it three victories in four races in the Russian Grand Prix after claiming yet another pole on Saturday. Leading odds for Sunday’s race from Bet365 are as follows:
4/6 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
9/4 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
4/1 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
18/1 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
25/1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
(Prices correct at 1800 BST on Saturday September 28)
What are the latest F1 Championship standings?
The leaders in the race for the driver and constructor titles heading into the Russian Grand Prix are as follows:
Lewis Hamilton – 296 points
Valtteri Bottas – 231 points
Max Verstappen – 200 points
Charles Leclerc – 200 points
Sebastian Vettel – 194 points
Mercedes – 527 points
Ferrari – 394 points
Red Bull – 289 points
Tyre choices for the Russian Grand Prix
F1 tyre manufacturer Pirelli will bring the white hard C2 tyre to the Russian Grand Prix along with the yellow medium C3 and the red soft C4. Their compound set ranges from C1 (the hardest) to C5 (the softest).
What is F1’s rule on bonus points?
F1 made the decision to award a bonus point in every race of the 2019 season if certain criteria are met.
The bonus point will be awarded to the driver who completes the fastest lap in the race, as long as that driver also finishes in the top 10. The driver’s team will also score a bonus point in the constructors’ standings in that case.
This means there are up to 21 extra points available for the 2019 championship.