Russian GP Predictions: Can Lewis Hamilton Finally Clinch His 100th F1 Win at Sochi?

Published 09/20/2021, 6:45 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race. Pool via REUTERS/Kirill Kudryavtsev


After a chaotic Italian Grand Prix, the F1 season now shifts to the Sochi Autodrom with the Russian Grand Prix. This year’s race will be its eighth edition, and the battle at the front looks likely to once again be between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

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Although Mercedes have been dominant on this track, Red Bull look a much stronger outfit than ever before this season.

Lewis Hamilton aims to become the first F1 driver to reach 100 race wins

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The reigning world champion made an impressive start to the season, winning three of the first four races. In addition, he also became the first driver to score 100 pole positions in this year’s Spanish Grand Prix. However, he could only add one more win in the next 10 races, as Verstappen stepped up to the challenge.

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 5, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on the podium with champagne after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Francisco Seco

Before their stunning crash in Monza, Hamilton and Mercedes showed excellent pace. Although he didn’t secure pole position, his teammate Valtteri Bottas excelled in short-run and long-run pace on the weekend.

In fact, Daniel Ricciardo, whose McLaren has a Mercedes power unit, snatched the lead from Verstappen before the first corner on the opening lap of the race. This displays the sheer speed advantage the Silver Arrows possess heading to the Sochi Autodrom, which favors their package.

While pole position gives an advantage on most tracks, the same isn’t necessarily true for Sochi. Here, the effect of a tow plays a massive role. And with a near 1km dash to the first corner, starting behind the leader’s tow could be a better position.

However, Mercedes look a more confident outfit on this track. With four wins in seven races at this track, September 26 looks likely to be the end of Hamilton’s streak four-race winless streak.

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McLaren likely to win midfield battle

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While Mercedes engage in a battle of their own, the midfield battle is also quite close. McLaren‘s stunning one-two in Monza helped them to a huge points haul, which sent them above Ferrari in the constructor’s championship.

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With Ferrari unlikely to bring their new power unit to Sochi, and their aerodynamic struggles, their British rivals look likely to score more points than them this Sunday. Further back, Aston Martin, Alpine and AlphaTauri look set to engage in a close battle for points with the resurgent Williams likely to gatecrash this trio.

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Sanket Nair

820 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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