Formula 1 specialist Ben Issatt (@BenIssatt) previews the Russian Grand Prix and provides us with his best bets for Sunday’s race.
- 2019 Profit/Loss: -5.25pts
2019 Russian Grand Prix Betting Preview, Odds & Tips
- Date: 29/09
- Time: 12:10pm BST
- Venue: Sochi, Russia
- Channel: Sky Sports F1
A non-stop September finally comes to an end with the fourth race in five Sunday’s at the Russian Grand Prix.
The first month since the summer break has been dominated by just one team, Ferrari, who have enjoyed three straight victories.
Last weekend, it was Sebastian Vettel who took the chequered flag, ending his 22-race run without a win, leaving Mercedes scratching their heads as to how to respond.
Six days on in Sochi, it appears they have no answers as it is Charles Leclerc who became the first Ferrari driver since Michael Schumacher to take a fourth straight pole in qualifying
Lewis Hamilton will start alongside on the front row, however, with the world champion hoping to continue his team’s remarkable record at this circuit.
In five previous visits to the 2014 Winter Olympic Park, Mercedes have never been beaten with Lewis winning three times while Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas shared the other two.
Ferrari have been more competitive though in recent years and this does appear their best chance to finally add a different team to the winner's list in Russia.
Key Stats & Facts
- Valtteri Bottas has finished in the top four in every Russian GP he’s finished.
- Red Bull has never finished higher than fifth in Sochi.
- Turn 3 sees the longest radius corner in F1 as cars take the U-shaped bend flat-out.
- Max Verstappen recovered from P19 to P5 last year, in one of his greatest comeback drives.
- Charles Leclerc 8/11 (William Hill)
- Lewis Hamilton 11/4 (Ladbrokes)
- Sebastian Vettel 9/2 (Unibet)
- Valtteri Bottas 20/1 (BetVictor)
- Max Verstappen 25/1 (Bet365)
Starting on pole, it is tough to look past anyone but Leclerc adding to Ferrari’s current win streak.
He does face two hurdles though, notably the start with the run to the first braking zone the longest on the calendar.
This could offer Hamilton and Vettel behind him the chance to slipstream and attack into Turn 2, with effectively Bottas winning the race from third at the start in 2017.
The other is Mercedes opting for to start on the medium compound tyre which will make them slower but potentially in a stronger position if the soft tyre, which the rest start on, did lose grip quicker than expected.
That though does seem unlikely and the power of the undercut is also strong with the high number of traction zones.
Behind the top three, Bottas is one to watch given his speciality around the Sochi circuit and he had been out-pacing Hamilton through practice before struggling in qualifying.
Also, Verstappen has plenty of work to do from ninth due to a penalty, but has shown good pace and will be much more competitive in the race than over a single lap.
In the midfield, the battle is on between McLaren and Renault with Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg keen to avoid the contact which ruined both their races in Singapore after starting in the top 10.
If they can do that then, over a race distance, it would be expected that the Spaniard should have the pace to hold onto the ‘best of the race’ position.
The question is whether Alex Albon, starting 18th, has the pace to bring his Red Bull back into the top six places.
Hulkenberg’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo can’t be ruled out either, but the Australian has had a difficult weekend so far.
Those starting just outside the top 10 are also well-placed to move up the order through strategy.
Sergio Perez has previously scored a podium in Sochi and could have a say in the P6-P8 battle from 11th, while Antonio Giovinazzi is also on a roll of two straight points places and he starts 12th.
At the back, Daniil Kvyat has been hit by reliability issues all weekend at his home race and perhaps don’t be surprised if the frustration gets the better of him at the start on Sunday.