Russian Grand Prix 2017: Predict the podium - Who will come out on top in Sochi this weekend?

Natasha Henry
Will Kimi Raikkonen join Sebastian Vettel on the podium in Russia? - Rex Features

Russia's Sochi Autodrom isn't one of the sexiest tracks on the calendar but the driver's that end the weekend on the podium will not be complaining as they look to increase the gap between them and their nearest rivals.

After three races only one driver outside of the Mercedes or Ferrari stable's have made it onto the podium, and that was Max Verstappen in the very wet and ridiculous Chinese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton won in Shanghai with Sebastian Vettel taking the trophy in the first and last race; Australia and Bahrain, respectively. 

It is hard to see too much changing but as you know I do love an underdog so it would be nice to see a different face on the podium this weekend. 

The man to beat will be Lewis Hamilton who has been in the top three in all three of the post-war races held at the track; winning the first two and finishing second last year. 

But there could be a changing of the guard based on the first two practice sessions with Ferrari leading both and looking a fair bit faster than their rivals in two of the three sectors.

With Mercedes traditionally the Tsar's of Sochi with three wins in three races and a 100% laps led record, Ferrari know a front row lock-out would give them the upper hand especially with Kimi Raikkonen needing to answer a few questions about his indifferent form so far. 

Unlike his German teammate, the 37-year-old has not looked capable of winning a race although it remains to be seen if it is down to him or the car.

But the Finn looked to have solved his previous problems as he topped P1 and was only 0.263s behind Vettel in P2, with Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton, Vertsappen and Daniel Ricciardo making up the top six. 

Can Lewis Hamilton get his second win of the season in Russia on Sunday? Credit: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC /AFP

It may be Daniil Kvyat's home race but an average Renault engine and only one top ten finish so far, makes me think he won't be adding any extra celebrations to his 23rd birthday which was on Wednesday. I suspect he didn't get a card from Vettel after last year's crash.

And while I would love to see the Red Bull's up there and challenging, at the moment they are struggling to decide which of their two possible aerodynamic set-up's are better - with each driver having a different one.

Until they get their basic car decisions right then it's hard to see either of their very talented driver's spraying more champagne. 

And even though the Mercedes weren't at their best on Friday, you suspect they will improve as the weekend goes on at a circuit that Vettel described as being "made for Mercedes".

Sadly for Bottas we already know that Hamilton has a better handle on the car during races, so if it comes down to one driver having to take a back-seat in Mercedes, it will once again be the Finn. 

Natasha's Russia GP podium prediction:

1. Kimi Raikkonen

2. Lewis Hamilton

3. Sebastian Vettel

Now it's your turn. Who do you think will be on the podium on Sunday afternoon? Leave your predicted top three in the comments section below.

 

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