The Sochi Autodrom circuit is very wide with nice low kerbs which allow the drivers to attack the corners. It’s a reasonably high speed circuit with a lot of time spent at full throttle which also means fuel usage is quite high. In the past, harder tyres have been quite competitive, whereas the supersoft tyres we see in qualifying might be quite difficult to get good performance out of at the end of the lap from turns 13 to 18. Last year it was an easy one-stop race but having the supersoft tyres in use this year – which some cars will be required to start on depending on qualifying position – may mean that a one-stop strategy may not be the best way to achieve the maximum result. This is a circuit where we have been competitive in the past, and whilst the first three races have not yielded as many points as we would have liked, we hope Russia will see an improved result for us.
Sochi is a nice track to drive. It’s a mix between a city circuit and a normal circuit. It’s a race I enjoy and one we have traditionally done well at. I don’t know Russia very much, as we stay in a small town and spend most of our time at the hotel or the track. I like racing there and I hope the event gets bigger every year. From what I know of the track, I’m hopeful it will suit this year’s car, but it’s too early to say for sure.
Russia is my neighbouring country, being Finnish. Sochi is a very technical track and I find it really interesting to drive. I’ve always had pretty good results there. Last year it didn’t end up the way I wanted, but normally I’m pretty quick and we are competitive there as a team. One challenge in Sochi is that the asphalt is quite smooth, so in qualifying it’s not easy to get the tyres to work quickly enough for the timed lap. That has been a challenge in previous years, but hopefully we have fixed it and I’m sure we’re going to have a good weekend in Russia.