Max Verstappen leads the championship by just five points arriving in Sochi, but Lewis Hamilton is poised to take back control at a Mercedes favourite track.

With only eight rounds remaining and little to separate the title race, the pressure is ratcheting up for crash-prone protagonists Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Michael and Rob, two of the most gifted raw talents in modern Formula 1 podcasting, review the documentary Schumacher and embrace a 12-year-old meme as good content.

The 2020 Russian Grand Prix was no classic, but Lewis Hamilton’s inability to convert pole to victory was another illustration that the only team capable of beating Mercedes is Mercedes itself.

We discuss how apis mellifera just reignited a Finnish championship and why Sebastian Vettel is on track for his worst F1 season ever.

I review the action from the 2020 Russian Grand Prix with statistician Sean Kelly.

The Russian Grand Prix was delicately poised between three drivers on different strategies, but a double penalty for poleman Lewis Hamilton before the race had even started snuffed out any hopes of an exciting finish.

Instead Valtteri Bottas recorded a comfortable victory after inheriting the lead from his penalised teammate, easily covering Max Verstappen in the slower Red Bull Racing machine with an identical strategy.

Hamilton had the odds stacked against him even before his penalties, forced as he was to start on the delicate soft tyre. However, even on that unfancied alternative strategy he looked quick — indeed it was theoretically the fastest way to the flag — and he recovered to finish on the podium.

Valtteri Bottas took a comfortable victory at the Russian Grand Prix after teammate Lewis Hamilton copped two time penalties before the race started.

Hamilton started from pole and had his sights set on equaling Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 victories, but two practice starts on his way to the grid outside the designated area in the pit lane immediately put him under investigation for breaching the rules.

Shortly after the race got underway the stewards slapped him with a five-second penalty for each offense, effectively rubbing him out of victory contention.

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Valtteri Bottas has taken an easy win in Russia after polesitter Lewis Hamilton was slapped with two penalties on his way to the grid.

Championship leader Hamilton, who was targeting a record-equalling 91st Formula One victory in Sochi, made two practice starts outside the designated area in the pit lane before taking his place for the start of the race.

The stewards handed him two five-second penalties on safety grounds for the errors, effectively wiping him out of victory contention.

Lewis Hamilton is on pole to match Michael Schumacher’s record 91 Formula One victories, but his route to the front row was as tortuous as his path to the top step is shaping up to be.

The defining lap of Hamilton’s qualifying wasn’t his new track record to take pole, it was his first flying lap of Q2. The Briton was shod with the medium tyre, as was teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, to set it as his race-starting compound after the soft proved delicate in the Sochi heat.

Mercedes comfortably had the pace to run the yellow tyre in Q2, and Hamilton duly set a competitive time, but his lap was deleted for exceeding track limits out of the last turn.

Lewis Hamilton will have a chance to equal Michael Schumacher’s record 91 Formula 1 victories from pole position at the Russian Grand Prix after crushing the opposition in qualifying.

Hamilton was more than half a second quicker than Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen in second and a dispiriting 0.652 seconds faster than teammate Valtteri Bottas, who will start third.

The Briton’s lap time of 1 minute 31.304 seconds was also a new track record for the Sochi Autodrom.

Lewis Hamilton will seek to equal Michael Schumacher’s record 91 victories when he starts from pole position at the Russian Grand Prix after dominating qualifying in Sochi.

Hamilton’s time of 1m31.304s was a new track record and put him more than half a second quicker than the rest of the field.

But the Briton didn’t have things all his own way. A red flag for a Sebastian Vettel crash in Q2 put him at risk of missing the top-10 shootout after his only representative lap of the session had been deleted for exceeding track limits.

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Lewis Hamilton underscored Mercedes’s stranglehold on the field ahead of qualifying with a dominant display in final practice at the Russian Grand Prix.

The Briton’s time of 1m33.279s was 0.776 seconds quicker than teammate Valtteri Bottas and 0.817s quicker than McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.

Bottas’s best lap was compromised by traffic, after which he wasn’t allowed to access his more powerful engine modes to compensate, while Sainz’s lap was set less than 10 minutes before the end of the session when the circuit appeared to be coming back towards the drivers thanks to cloud cover cooling surface temperatures.

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Valtteri Bottas maintained his domination of Friday practice at the Russian Grand Prix in the second session, putting Mercedes atop the time sheet by more than a second ahead of any other car in Sochi.

The Finn’s fastest time of 1m33.519s was 0.267s quicker than second-placed teammate Lewis Hamilton and almost 1.1s faster than Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo in third.

Both Mercedes set their fastest laps in the first half-hour of the session despite the circuit improving as it was cleaned up though the 90 minutes.

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Valtteri Bottas set the one-lap benchmark at a dusty Sochi Autodrom in a messy first session for Mercedes at the Russian Grand Prix.

Bottas, who typically performs well in Sochi, was 0.507s quicker than Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo despite the Australian setting his quickest time nearer to the end of the 90-minute session when the circuit was cleaner.

Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull Racing and 0.654s off the pace.

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I preview the upcoming Russian Grand Prix with last year’s podcast guest Sean Kelly.

We form the Parliament of Box of Neutrals to decide your F1 disputes and play what is apparently everyone’s favourite game: ‘What is your name unusual?’.