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2015 Russian GP Qualifying Report

Posted on 10 October 2015

By James Allen

1. Lots of uncertainty

There are many question marks going into Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix about race strategy for the 53 lap race. With so little practice running due to accidents and rain delays, no one has a clear picture of whether the soft and supersoft tyres will require a one or two stop race tomorrow. In the Singapore Grand Prix Mercedes struggled with this tyre combination, but here they have a dominant position as the temperatures are much colder, which suits their car. This is one of the toughest tracks on the calendar for fuel consumption and drivers will have to lift off throttle for up to five seconds per lap to be sure of making it to the finish on the 100kg fuel limit.

2. Driver to look out for

A driver to look out for is the 2015 Le Mans 24 hours race winner Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India. The car has been very competitive this weekend and he qualified 6th ahead of teammate Sergio Perez in 7th. The Mercedes engine in the back of the Force India car is the class of the field here in fuel efficiency as well as performance. He will have to lift off throttle less than the Ferraris ahead of him and he may be able to beat Kimi Raikkonen to the chequered flag.

3. Waiting for Carlos

Everyone is waiting to see whether Carlos Sainz will be able to race for Toro Rosso after suffering a huge accident in Qualifying. The 21 year old Spaniard hit the barriers at Turn 13 in Free Practice 3 on Saturday morning, after losing control under braking at 320km/h. Worryingly his car went underneath the TecPro barriers, which had to be lifted off him before he could be extricated and taken to hospital. He's being kept in overnight for observation, but never lost consciousness in the accident, so the doctors may well let him race. The mechanics will be able to build up a car for him should he be given the green light by doctors.

Leading Formula One™ commentator and journalist, James Allen is a contributing writer for Singapore GP Pte Ltd

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