Russian Grand Prix 2019

Hakkinen backs Ferrari to end Mercedes Sochi stranglehold

Russian Grand Prix 2019

He said he did not understand the thinking for a reversed grid.

Meanwhile, Ferrari continued to hold the edge over Mercedes.

A one-stop strategy has traditionally been quickest in Russian Federation but the jury is out on whether it is best to start on softs or medium, and for how long to run, before going to harder rubber. Leclerc's pole time of 1:31.628 was 0.425s faster than the sister Ferrari.

"It started off good, then it kind of tailed off, and then it was a bit better towards the end of the second session", he said.

"We are trying to find the balance in that". You only have a few opportunities to change with the setup [during practice].

"It's going to be a tough day tomorrow, but I hope it's going to be raining", he added.

"If you have the right auto you can beat everyone".

"That was mostly a hard day but with some bright moments in it that give us hope that we can do a good job tomorrow and on Sunday", he said.

"The changes they've made in previous years have not been particularly effective so they're probably not confident in the decision-making process", Hamilton said via RaceFans in Sochi. "It's looking good for tomorrow". "It started off not too bad and while we've been improving, the others made some big progressions and improved much faster than we did", he said.

"Pretty much all of them haven't raced ever before or haven't been in a Formula 1 vehicle, but that's how it's been for the whole of Formula 1's period".

"It's a track where the rears are struggling a little bit in the last sector, so you need to maybe compromise a little bit more the first sector to be better in the third sector".

Lewis Hamilton may be comfortably leading the Formula One (F1) World Championship, but the Russian Grand Prix promises to be a challenging race weekend for the Brit.

Lewis Hamilton has sounded his concerns about Formula 1's direction in 2021 and criticised the process of deciding them.

And while Ferrari brought aerodynamic upgrades to their vehicle at Singapore, Hamilton insisted there isn't a short-term fix Mercedes can apply to close the gap this weekend. "It definitely feels very special (to take four consecutive poles), but I don't want to think about those stats!" "Action should be taken and we should be a lot stricter with it", Hamilton said.

"The balance of the auto felt good, I was just struggling with the overall grip", commented the Finn.

"But I'm quite happy".

For neutral fans, the main positive to be drawn from Friday is that the closing margins at the front bode well for the upcoming races - not to mention the 2020 season.

"It seems to be like the flawless package", said Wolff of a auto that has bags of power on the straight but also the aerodynamic downforce to retain the advantage through the corners. The result is three very distinct cars, which are quick on different parts of the track but remarkably close over an entire lap.

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