Lewis Hamilton has an opportunity to write his name into the Formula 1 record books this weekend when F1 heads to the Sochi Autodrom for the Russian Grand Prix, but will the Mercedes ace take his chance to equal a record set by the legendary Michael Schumacher?
Hamilton was the star of the show in Tuscany a fortnight ago as he completed the Pole Position/Race Winner/Fastest Lap treble – the second time he has managed it this season – and it was the perfect response to a disappointing Italian Grand Prix performance that had seen him finish down in seventh place. His dominant showing extended his lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship to 55 points, and it also means he is now on the brink of equalling a record set by an all-time great.
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher racked up 91 race wins during his glittering career and Hamilton now stands on 90, meaning victory in Russia will see him move level with the German legend and put him within one win of becoming the most successful driver of all time in terms of individual race successes. So can the British star register win number 91 at the Sochu Autodrom?
How can we bet against him? Yes there have been a couple of down days for him this season, but on the whole Hamilton has been borderline unstoppable in his Mercedes. The defending world champion has six wins, seven pole positions and six fastest laps from the first nine races of the delayed 2020 season, and when you couple that with four wins in six Russian Grand Prix appearances it would take a brave person to bet against Hamilton taking the chequered flag again on Sunday.
However, I am not sold on him completing another treble – for all of his dominance of the sport in recent years the British driver has not started from pole position since 2014. He did set the Fastest Lap en route to winning the 2019 Russian Grand Prix though, so I am backing Hamilton to complete that double once again as he takes the honours in 2020?
But if Hamilton does not start from the very front of the grid on Sunday, who will? Only Valtteri Bottas has been able to pip his Mercedes team-mate to pole position this season and despite a few underwhelming performances through nine races he has to be considered the lead contender if one man is able to deny Hamilton his eighth pole of the 2020 campaign. Bottas started from the front of the grid in 2018 and also set the Fastest Lap that weekend, so I am backing him to shine on Saturday.
Russian Grand Prix Betting Tips & Predictions: Circuit Guide
The Russian Grand Prix is one of the newer races on the Formula 1 calendar, having ended a 100-year absence when it returned in 2014. The Sochi International Street Circuit – now known as the Sochi Autodrom – was opened in September 2014 and it is the third longest circuit behind Spa-Francorchamps and Silverstone. A street track that runs around the complex where the 2014 Winter Olympics took place, the Sochi Autodrom and is one of the most demanding tracks the drivers will face during the season thanks to a string of corners – one single mistake could prove costly. Lewis Hamilton is the most successful driver at the circuit having won the Russian Grand Prix in four of the last six seasons, while there has never been a non-Mercedes winner since the race returned because Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas – the other Mercedes drivers – took the chequered flag in 2016 and 2017.
Location: Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, Russia
Number of Laps: 53
Lap Length: 3.634 miles
Lap Record: Lewis Hamilton, 1 minute 35.761 seconds (2019)
Russian Grand Prix Betting Tips & Predictions: Previous Winners
|1913||Georgy Suvorin||Benz||St Petersburg|
|1914||Willy Scholl||Benz||St Petersburg|
|2014||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Sochi Autodrom|
|2015||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Sochi Autodrom|
|2016||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||Sochi Autodrom|
|2017||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||Sochi Autodrom|
|2018||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Sochi Autodrom|
|2019||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Sochi Autodrom|