Will Norris turn his first pole in Sochi into his first win?・ RaceFans – Motorsports

At the Grand Prix for the second year in a row, the fascinating in-season battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton could be the second story of a McLaren driver chasing an unexpected victory.

Lando Norris took pole position for the first time in a relatively young F1 career by achieving the best lap of soft tires on dry tracks in qualifying, so there is a very legitimate prospect that McLaren will boost his first victory in the 170 Grand Prix. I have. 1 second at the next race weekend.

However, while McLaren proved to be well-paced around Monza and able to thwart the competition behind it, recreating more than 53 laps of Sochi Autodrom is a completely different outlook.

McLaren, who raced in Monza even without pole position, talked about the possibility of going ahead if he leads at the start. It proved exactly how the race unfolded, of course, helped by the title candidates taking each other out half the distance.

But Norris is more vague about whether he can turn pole position into a win on Sunday. “Do you think we can win? I want to answer.

Norris shares the front row with his previous teammates

“We believe we can, there is a chance. But Mercedes is still as fast as all seasons, so it’s probably one of the best circuits of the whole season. So it’s a good challenge. Ginger, I want it. “

The first step to a victory for Norris and McLaren is to keep the race lead until the first true corner of turn two with a sprint of almost 900 meters.To achieve this, he needs to postpone his previous teammates Carlos Sainz Jnr At Ferrari trying to get the most out of the slipstream on the rundown to the first braking zone of the race.

“I think there are two options,” explains Sainz. “I got a good getaway and it’s a direct race to turn two. If not, I obviously have to find a slipstream because we know it’s not straight and fastest And because you need to do that. Find some tow trucks, some drafts, otherwise it will take a long time to reach Turn 1. “

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Behind Norris and Sainz is another driver who itches to reach the first corner in front of them. George Russell.. After seeing him at the sharp edge of the grid in another wet qualifying session, Russell was surprisingly bullish on Williams’ chances both at the start and during the race.

Russell likes the chance to lead first

“We’re straight and pretty slippery, and I hope Lando gives me a nice little slipstream on turn one,” says Russell.

“We are now earning points – 3 out of the last 4 times. There is no reason not to continue and we have to aim for the podium. We have nothing to lose so we aim for it. . “

“I wouldn’t be surprised if George was leading the race three turns later,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, jokingly about the future and current drivers of the Russell and Hamilton-shaped team at the end of the first lap. Suggested that it may lead to. ..

If Norris entered while maintaining the lead from turn two, his victory due to the fact that most of the fastest cars on the grid (Red Bull and Mercedes) are sitting in multiple places behind him on the grid. The outlook for is increasing.

One of the most interesting questions to be answered tomorrow is how far each candidate ranks on the checkered flag, as championship leader Verstappen is mandated behind the grid with a combination of two penalties and Hamilton’s fourth penalty. Is it raised?

One of the factors that can influence how the Russian Grand Prix course is carried out is Saturday’s semi-washout, where each driver starting from the top 10 on the grid is involved in tire compound. It means that there is a rare opportunity to start the race without. They want. There is no obligation to start with the second quarter set as all the top 10 drivers have advanced to the third quarter with mid-wet tires.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2021
Hamilton bets on hard tires in Monza

Interestingly, this means that Sunday’s Grand Prix is ​​similar to the one used in F1’s new sprint qualifying race format seen in the previous round. At that time, Mercedes took advantage of their unusual opportunity to start Hamilton with hard compound tires for an extended opening stint. Mercedes may have improvised in Monza on a strategy to cover Verstappen after a pit stop delay, but see if Verstappen chooses to play the patient game again with far back. It will be interesting to do.

The longer the first stint, the more attractive it may be to the team, considering how green the surface of Sochi will be after a thorough wash on Saturday. Due to the relatively lack of rubber on Sundays compared to regular race weekends, drivers are more likely to have to manage tire grain, but the expected high temperatures at the start of the race will do this. May help reduce slightly.

“I think the green track can be very deteriorating tomorrow,” says Red Bull. Sergio Perez..

“The first few laps will be important in that regard, so it will be interesting to see what happens in the strategy as you will find tracks that are significantly different from what you expected.”

Another important factor in the race is how much Perez’s teammate Verstappen can advance and limit the damage in the drivers’ championship that chose this round to take a power unit penalty. Verstappen has passed through the field behind Russia, which jumped from 19th to 5th in 2018, but without Saturday’s practice, he doesn’t know how to read the performance comparison between Red Bull and Mercedes. ..

Verstappen faces a long climb from behind the field

“It was a little difficult, but they still look very strong,” Verstappen says. “Of course, they would have raised the engine in the second practice for a fast lap, and from my side I knew I was starting from behind, so there was no reason to do that. So I think we have to wait for how competitive we are. “

The final factor that can affect the outcome of the procedure is whether the weather chooses to play a role again in the action. Currently, there may be only a 20% chance of rain during the race, but Verstappen admits that he expects it to be easier to overtake if the track gets wet, and that number is one. It may be forgiven in the hope that it will increase in the evening.

Whatever the weather, there are all the elements of perhaps the most fascinating Russian Grand Prix I’ve ever seen, with the prospect of another new race winner higher than ever, and another important part of the title battle. May swing Verstappen and Hamilton.

Quote: Dieter Lengkeng

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Will Norris, Sainz and Russell seize the opportunity to win their first victory? Which of the championship candidates will come out first?

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2021 Russian Grand Prix

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Will Norris turn his first pole in Sochi into his first win?・ RaceFans Will Norris turn his first pole in Sochi into his first win?・ RaceFans

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