Is It Back to Reality or Will McLaren F1 Be Dominant Enough to Pull Off Another Heist at Russian GP?

Published 09/22/2021, 6:05 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 12, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren’s Lando Norris celebrate after finishing first and second in the race Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron


The recently concluded Italian Grand Prix threw Mercedes’ and Red Bull’s dominance out of sorts, as McLaren pulled off a miraculous 1-2 finish. This is outright evidence that certain mid-field teams are starting to inch closer to the top field, and we could be in for a rather nail-biting closure to this season.

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But, let’s not drift too far off and rather shift the limelight onto the upcoming race weekend. With less than a week away from the Russian GP, one might wonder whether McLaren will be able to sustain the champion’s level of performance at Sochi.

Can McLaren manage to deliver another strong show at Sochi?

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Well, here’s what we think. McLaren are certainly one of the favorites, going into the weekend. This is because Sochi produces a similar set of characteristics compared to Monza. But, of course, it yet again depends on the starting grid.

If either of the McLaren drivers do manage to secure a front-row start, we could well be in for another McLaren victory. This is because the British outfit have looked strong in the straights with the powerful Mercedes engine at the back.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – McLaren’s Lando Norris and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the sprint qualifying REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Not even Max Verstappen with a much superior car was able to make a move on Daniel Ricciardo in Italy. And that says it all about McLaren’s blistering straight-line speed. Bottom line, track position will be highly crucial for McLaren to experience any sort of success in Russia.

Meanwhile, their equivalent rivals, Ferrari could carry a similar level of threat too. But, considering how Ferrari have performed in qualifying sessions since the summer break this season, there isn’t much to expect from the team in Russia either.

Will Mercedes be a threat?

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This is obvious! Yes, Mercedes will be the one to carry the biggest level of threat, considering Sochi is arguably their most successful circuit.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 12, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo leads during the race REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

On top of that, Mercedes have been working with their turbocharging system in the power unit, in a bid to find that extra bit of pace to defeat Red Bull. And it looks like Lewis Hamilton‘s car will sport the updated power unit. It is still unclear as to how the engine will behave on the track as opposed to the test bench.

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If it indeed causes trouble to Hamilton’s car, McLaren will have one driver less to worry about. Also, with Verstappen awaiting the 3-place grid penalty, the Papayas hold a golden opportunity to snatch another front-row start this weekend. But, can they?

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Rohit Kumar

1253 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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