Updated: Sep 30
F1 made its first trip to the Sochi Autodrome as recently as 2014. The Hermann Tilke designed circuit is built effectively as a street circuit that circles the Sochi Winter Olympic Park. The circuit is one of the flattest on the calendar with plenty of similar 90-degree corners. However, the addition of the high-speed, long left-hander of Turn 3 really makes for a different kind of challenge.
Sector 1 of Sochi starts off with a small kink in the middle of the straight, which counts as Turn 1. So, the main area for action at the start of the race will be going into the chicane of Turn 2. The almost 180 degree, high-speed left-hander of Turn 3 is one of the circuits most unique attributes and requires a well-balanced car.
There won't be much talk about Turn 1 at the start of the race as this one is just a small kink in the straight. Turn 2 is the first braking zone. However, it is often the slipstream that is established back at Turn 1 that determines the race leader when the brakes are finally applied.
On a hotlap, make sure to remember this is a corner you can use DRS through so remember to get the rear wing flap open as soon as possible.
This one is all about avoiding scrubbing speed by taking the line of least resistance so don't steer more than you have to.
Turn 2: Entry
Welcome to Turn 1... I mean Turn 2. The first braking zone on the track is a fairly heavy one so you want to get on the brakes just before you reach the 100m board.
Try to ease your way onto the entry kerb (up to the wall) before you turn in to get a wide line. As you do, downshift smoothly to avoid under-rotating the rear tyres.
Turn 2: 1st Apex
Once you have the car slowed for the first apex at Turn 2, ensure you are in 3rd gear for the kerb.
Make sure to use up all of the flat kerb but none of the sausage kerb. This is the same story for most of the kerbs on this track.
Try to make sure your line is not too wide as to compromise the line through the next apex.
Turn 2: 2nd Apex
So officially we still have not left Turn 2. This 2nd apex can be treated as the exit to Turn 2 so the key thing is getting the power down on your way to T3.
To dull the torque, get the upshift to 4th done before the kerb and begin to pick up the throttle as you get there, keeping the car pointing straight out towards the right.
Aim to miss that sausage kerb for best power delivery to the track
Turn 3 is probably the highlight of the track. To get it right you need to keep your right foot pinned throughout and hug the inside as much as possible to shorten the route.
You should straddle the kerb for the majority of the way around, letting the downforce do the work.
Turn 4: Entry
Coming towards Turn 4, ensure you end up over to the left out of T3. Hit the brakes as the kerb starts, straddling it for a wide entry and best grip. Trailbrake into the apex.
Turn 4: Apex
Shift down to 4th gear for the apex of Turn 4. Again, so sausage is best here but use all of the rest. This will allow you to get back on the power super early with less risk of spinning.
Use all of the exit kerb, which should leave you narrowly missing the wall heading towards Sector 2.