Race Preview: Russian Grand Prix

Image: Formula 1 / Twitter

Two weeks ago in Bahrain Sebastian Vettel won his second race of 2017, and in doing so opened up a small seven point lead over Lewis Hamilton in the World Drivers Championship.

The re-emergence of Ferrari this season has been a breath of fresh air, but many are starting wonder how far Mercedes have fallen behind their rivals from Maranello.

Vettel comes out on top in Bahrain

A bold race strategy and daring move by Ferrari to undercut Hamilton at the first pit stop put Vettel into the lead after the German started the race on the second row behind the two Mercedes.

Mercedes fought back in an attempt to retake the lead, but a five second penalty handed to Hamilton for impeding Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo at the entrance to the pit lane ultimately prevented him from getting close enough to challenge Vettel before the end of the race.

2016 Russian Grand Prix

The opening lap of the saw several cars making contact with each other, but the biggest crash involved Daniil Kvyat hitting Sebastian Vettel from behind and knocking the Ferrari driver out of the race.

Kvyat went on to finish the race, but the young Russian, who was already on thin ice with Red Bull Racing, ended up being dumped by the team and was replaced by Max Verstappen.

It was also a day to forget for Lewis Hamilton, who was plagued by mechanical issues throughout the race and finished in second position behind teammate and championship rival Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg dominated the entire weekend recording his first career Grand Slam and a seventh consecutive race victory, which was a feat that had only previously been achieved by Alberto Ascari, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.

Most importantly the win helped Rosberg to increase his lead over Hamilton to forty-three points, which ultimately helped him to win his first, and only, World Drivers Championship.

This Weekend

Two weeks ago Mercedes locked out the front row of the grid for the first time in 2017 with newcomer Valtteri Bottas putting himself on pole position for the first time in his career.

At the top of the Constructors Championship Ferrari have a slim three point lead over Mercedes, but will need the maximum amount of points from both of their drivers on Sunday to increase that lead this weekend.

Ferrari has proven that they have a quick and competitive car, but can they win at a track where Mercedes has dominated for the past two years?

Image: Pirelli Motorsport / Twitter