2021 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix Preview

This weekend is set to see Formula 1 return to action for the latest Grand Prix of its 2021 season. The series is due to be joined in Sochi by Formula 3 and Formula 2 as well.

Sochi is Formula 3’s final round of the 2021 season, having originally been scheduled to take place in Austin. Dennis Hauger heads into this weekend 43 points clear at the top of the drivers’ championship from Jack Doohan who is second. The two of them will be battling to be crowned this year’s champion although Hauger does have a sizeable advantage going into the season finale.

Completing the top three in the standings is Clement Novalak who is 28 points behind Doohan and five ahead of fourth placed Victor Martins. Novalak secured two second place finishes in the previous round at Zandvoort, taking his total number of podium finishes in 2021 to three, the Frenchman having finished second in the season opener at the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya.

The 2021 Formula 3 season has so far seen 11 different drivers claim at least one race victory across seven different teams. Of the 34 drivers to have contested a round in Formula 3 in 2021, 22 have managed to score points.

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Sochi is the sixth round of Formula 2’s season with Oscar Piastri heading to Russia in the lead of the driver standings, 15 points ahead of fellow Alpine Academy driver Guanyu Zhou. Piastri won the feature race at Monza ahead of Zhou in the previous round, with Briton’s Dan Ticktum completing the podium.

The two sprint races at Monza were won between Theo Pourchaire and Jehan Daruvala. Pourchaire heads to Russia fifth in the standings, 10 points behind Ticktum and four points ahead of sixth placed Juri Vips. Daruvala meanwhile goes to Sochi seventh in the drivers’ championship and is nine points behind Vips and is also nine points ahead of eighth placed Liam Lawson.

Completing the top three in the driver standings is Robert Shwartzman, the Russian is 21 points behind Zhou and nine ahead of Ticktum going into his home race. Shwartzman scored points in all three races at Monza, with two sixth places and third.

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In Formula 1 Max Verstappen continues to lead the driver standings and is five points ahead of title rival Lewis Hamilton. This is after the Dutchman secured points in the Sprint at Monza before being involved in a collision with Hamilton in the Grand Prix.

Third in the drivers’ championship is Valtteri Bottas, the Finn is 80.5 points behind Hamilton and has a nine point advantage over fourth placed Lando Norris. Bottas put in a solid performance at Monza where he was fastest in qualifying on Friday and won the Sprint on the Saturday. He managed to be classified third in the Grand Prix having worked his way through the field after taking on engine penalties.

It will be interesting to see how Bottas does in Sochi, which is a circuit the Finn has gone well at in the past, claiming his maiden Formula 1 victory at the circuit back in 2017 as well as another race win last season. On top of those two victories, the Finn also finished second in 2018 and 2019.

Bottas’ form around Sochi could be a key factor in Verstappen and Hamilton’s title fight as well as in the battle of who finishes third in the drivers’ championship between Bottas, Norris and Sergio Perez. The latter of the three will go to Russia 23 points adrift of Bottas and has a 14 point advantage over Charles Leclerc in sixth.

The Italian Grand Prix was won by Daniel Ricciardo who heads into this weekend eighth in the driver standings. The Australian is 14.5 points behind Carlos Sainz and has a 17 point advantage over Pierre Gasly who is directly behind Ricciardo in the championship.

Mercedes F1 W12 – Valtteri Bottas” by Jaimie Wilson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In the constructors’ championship Mercedes continues to lead and has an 18 point advantage over second placed Red Bull at the start of this weekend’s Grand Prix.

Behind the two and completing the top three in the standings is McLaren who are 129.5 points behind Red Bull. The Woking based team became the first to record a 1-2 finish this season thanks to its result in the Grand Prix at Monza. It also means McLaren has a 13.5 point advantage over fourth placed Scuderia Ferrari, the latter finishing the Italian Grand Prix weekend with a 4-6 finish.

There is then a 106.5 point gap between Ferrari and fifth placed Alpine who managed to get both cars in the points at Monza, the sixth occasion the French team have managed to achieve this in 2021.

Alpine are 11 points clear of AlphaTauri who endured a difficult Italian Grand Prix weekend with Yuki Tsunoda failing to start the Grand Prix, while Gasly crashed out of the Sprint and also failed to finish the Grand Prix.

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The Faenza based team have a 25 point advantage over Aston Martin who are directly behind them in the championship. The latter team have a 37 point gap to eighth placed Williams who managed to score points once again in Monza after George Russell capitalised on retirements to finish ninth.

It means that Williams are 19 points clear of ninth placed Alfa Romeo heading into this weekend, the latter having not scored points since the Hungarian Grand Prix. While behind Alfa Romeo is Haas who are three points behind the Swiss based Alfa Romeo team.

A quick note that this weekend’s Grand Prix won’t see the Sprint weekend format used with its next appearance expected later in the season at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix at Interlagos.

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