After collecting a shock win in Singapore, Lewis Hamilton is closing in on his fifth title as Formula One touches down in Sochi for 2018 Russian Grand Prix.
Force India meanwhile will be desperate to bounce back after a poor race last time out so get set for what could be a pivotal weekend around the Sochi Autodrom.
Circuit: Sochi Autodrom
Number of Laps: 53
Race Distance: 309.732km
Tyres: Softs, Ultrasofts and Hypersofts
For Sebastian Vettel, this is simply a must win because if he fails to do so, his title bid will surely be all but over.
Currently 40 points off Hamilton, the maths suggests that Vettel must win all of the remaining six races regardless of where the Brit finishes.
Kimi Raikkonen however will be a thorn in the German’s side with 150 points still available.
The Finn is currently 107 points off title lead making a late charge unlikely but should Hamilton and Vettel hit a run of misfortune whilst he wins every race, we shouldn’t rule out Raikkonen from repeating his 2007 title snatch.
Mercedes however have won all four Russian GPs so far with three of those coming from pole, piling further pressure on Vettel to have a clean weekend.
Force India will certainly be keen to bounce back here after a tough race around Marina Bay last time out, despite their new upgrade showing promise.
Luckily Sochi has been a decent circuit for them with at least one car in the points at every race here. Sergio Perez meanwhile has a 100% point scoring record around here with a third placed finish in 2015 being his standout result.
In Force India’s race preview, Perez speaks about the need to “carry that pace forward onto Sochi” which is important and Team Principal, Otmar Szafnauer has recognised that element as the only positive from Singapore, describing it as “an immediate performance step.”
Well they will definitely like this weekend then which tends to favour the Mercedes powered cars, so expect to see the Pink Panthers to bounce back here.
Missed any of the first ten race weekends and want to get up to date? Click on any of the hyperlinks below to go and check out my round up of the weekend/s.