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Featured Image by Arne Müseler on Wikimedia Commons

For the Formula 2 Feature Race held earlier today, in Russia, Mick Schumacher scored his second Feature Race. He was joined on the podium by title rivals Yuki Tusonda & Callum Ilott, who finished in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

For tomorrow’s Sprint Race, Guan Yu Zhou is set to start from pole on the reverse grid, with Nikita Mazepin set to start in second alongside him. Ahead of the Feature Race, we look at some topics of interest to us ahead of the race…

The Circuit – Sochi Autodrom

Pitlane02 / CC BY-SA 3.0

This weekend’s Russian Grand Prix will be held at the Sochi Autodrom. The track, formerly known as the Sochi International Street Circuit and the Sochi Olympic Park Circuit, is a semi-permanent race track in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi in Krasnodar Krai, Russia. The track snakes round the Olympic Park utilised for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, with the starting grid being located in the northern section of the area, just south of the Imeretinsky Kurort railway station.

The track features 2 configurations, the semi-permanent Grand Prix Circuit, and the permanent short circuit. The Russian Grand Prix will be held on the semi-permanent layout, which features 18 turns and has a length of 5.848 km, including 2 DRS Zones, located on the start/finish straight, and the curved backstretch.

The official lap record stands at 1:35.761, set by Lewis Hamilton in 2019, while the outright fastest lap was set by Valtteri Bottas in 2018, with a 1:31.387. The Formula 2 Lap Record stands at 1:46.476, set by Nyck de Vries in 2018.

The Things to Watch Out For:

Lundgaard & Shwartzman’s fightback to the front

For tomorrow’s Feature Race, we see 2 championship-contending drivers being forced to fight their way up the field, with 3rd placed Christian Lundgaard & 5th placed Robert Shwartzman.

3rd placed Lundgaard sees himself with a massive hill to climb tomorrow, as he looks set to start far down the order, on the final row of the grid. Lundgaard retired from the race due to a multi-car collision in the opening lap of the race at Turn 2.

For a second consecutive Feature Race, Ferrari Driver Academy member and championship contender Robert Shwartzman saw his race ruined by factors beyond his control. Shwartzman, who was fourth into the championship heading to his home round in Russia, finished down in 11th, just outside the points. This was due to the Russian driver losing time, following a slow right-rear tyre change after Prema attempted a double-stack pitstop. Coming in ahead of the weekend in 4th, Shwartzman has since been pushed down to 5th in the standings.

Drivers’ Championship Battle

Following the Russia Feature Race, a 53 point gap has emerged among the top 6 in the championship, with Mick Schumacher leading the points standings at 186 points. Schumacher is trailed by Callum Ilott with 168 points, with the gap between the Ferrari juniors increasing from 8 points to 18 points.

Further behind the duo, a 23 point gap has opened up between them and the 4 & 5th placed drivers, which are tied on the points standings. Christian Lundgaard leads Yuki Tsunoda on countback, with both drivers clocking 145 points. Behind the duo is Robert Shwartzman, who has slumped to 5th in the standings at 140 points, while Nikita Mazepin sits further back in 6th at 1343 points.

Teams’ Championship Battle

UNI-Virtuosi: Can they still challenge Prema, or hold onto P2?

The past few race weekends can only be described as mediocre for UNI-Virtuosi Racing. The team, who had seemed like early-season title favourites, have had a lacklustre run of races, which have seen the team lose ground to Prema Racing in the Teams’ Championship. Furthermore, the team are now also seeing their 2nd placed standing in the Championship coming under threat from F2 newcomers Hitech Grand Prix.

The gap to first in the standings (Prema) now stands at 46 points ahead of the Sprint Race; previously, it was 40 following the Mugello weekend, and 32 following the Monza weekend. A near-identical situation is occurring as the team looks to defend it’s 2nd place in the standings, with Hitech Grand Prix steadily catching up to the squad. Virtuosi’s gap to Hitech currently sits at 46 points currently; previously it was 45 following the Mugello weekend, and 78 following the Monza weekend.

The Battle for “Best of the Rest” & P5-7

Behind the top 3 teams, who have clawed out over 50 points to the 4th placed ART Grand Prix team, a battle for P4 & “Best of the rest” honours is brewing. A total of 52 points separates ART from Carlin, MP Motorsport & Charouz Racing System.

Of the 4 teams, only MP Motorsport sees a relatively equal points distribution between both cars (79-42), with ART seeing 145-38, Carlin seeing 145-36 and Charouz seeing a vastly imbalanced distribution of 122-2.

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