A third and fourth place finish in Japan for the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team was overshadowed by the serious crash for Jules Bianchi, and neither driver was in a celebratory mood after the race. Heading into the weekend in Sochi, both Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo are in sombre moods, but both are looking forward to the inaugural Russian Grand Prix.
Vettel has finished on the podium in the past two races, and is looking for more of the same in Russia. He expects the track to evolve as the weekend progresses, especially when the rubber begins to be laid down.
“The track is unique as it is the only one on the F1 calendar to be located on an Olympic site,” said Vettel. “As for the circuit, there are definitely similarities to other tracks, perhaps the best comparison is Singapore. But unlike Singapore, the layout is more fluid, so it will be much faster. Some sectors remind me a bit of South Korea or Abu Dhabi.
“Generally, I think it has a very successful mix of corners with different characters, some of them will be very difficult, and that’s ultimately what we want as drivers. It will be quite slippery at the beginning of the weekend and I’m expecting a few driving errors, not only because the track is new for everyone, but also because the surface is still so green. So it will be a while until we feel comfortable on the track.”
Team-mate Ricciardo is excited to be heading to a new venue, although the circumstances of arriving in Russia are far from ideal with Bianchi still in intensive care in Japan. The Australian is unsure how the track will run, despite running a number of laps in the simulator.
“I think firstly, it’s always exciting to go a new venue, particularly a new circuit,” said Ricciardo. “As a driver it’s always nice to have something fresh and new and obviously Russia provides a new layout for us. I drove a few laps on the simulator already and I think it should be interesting.
“It’s always different in real life but I hope it can be a fun track. I don’t think we’ll know until we get there, but let’s hope it’s a good challenge for us.”