Formula 1 returns from a brief one week hiatus with the running of the ninth Russian Grand Prix from the Sochi Autodrom on Sunday.
Mercedes has remained undefeated at this event since it rejoined the Formula 1 calendar back in 2014, which has left Lewis Hamilton as the short-priced favourite (once again) to extend his lead atop the drivers standings.
The battle towards the middle of the standings, meanwhile, remains as intriguing as ever with eight races scheduled over the coming 11 weeks, several of which will be run in new and exciting locations.
With no time to waste, we’ve analysed all you need to know in our 2020 Russian Grand Prix Preview below.
2020 Russian Grand Prix Race Winner
Valtteri Bottas at $4.00
This weekend marks an historic one for Lewis Hamilton as he hopes to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 career Grand Prix wins.
Before Hamilton etches his name in the record books though, the six-time world champion will need to overcome fellow teammate Valtteri Bottas, who won on this track back in 2017.
Bottas has spent the last week stewing on what went wrong in Tuscany, a race he really should have won had it not been for the second safety car.
The Sochi Autodrom was the site of Bottas’ first F1 win, so he should hold fond memories of this track to go along with some competitive qualifying times in recent years.
This track, and the cooler conditions, should prove much more favourable to Bottas than the ones he faced in Italy, especially with Ferrari and Red Bull posing no real challenge.
2020 Russian Grand Prix Double Points Finish
McLaren at $2.00
Lando Norris finished in the points at Mugello a fortnight ago, a huge result for McLaren as they face a tough fight to the finish with Racing Point and Renault breathing down their neck for third in the constructors’ standings.
Teammate Carlos Sainz failed to finish in Tuscany, but he should hold fond memories of the track in Sochi after finishing sixth here last year.
Norris himself finished in the points last season in eighth, so there’s a bit to like about McLaren replicating that performance with a couple of teams hot on their heels.
2020 Russian Grand Prix Double Top 6 Finis
Red Bull at $1.73
The chances of anyone upsetting Mercedes’ one-two finish appears slim to nil, but that isn’t to say Red Bull can’t improve on their big performance at Mugello a fortnight ago.
Max Verstappen has conceded defeat to Hamilton as far as the world championship is concerned, but he did seem pleased with his podium result in Tuscany, a result he is sure to build on.
Teammate Alexander Albon also put in a big performance for fifth at Mugello, which bodes well for his future with the team.
Verstappen finished fourth at this event last year while Albon was knocked out in qualifying, so the motivation should be high for both drivers to improve.