As with every edition of Paddock Press, we recap the Bahrain Grand Prix before turning our attention to Russian GP, the fourth round of the 2017 F1 season.
The Bahrain Grand Prix Review:
The Bahrain desert gave us a great race; strategic genius from Ferrari and a pit stop error from Mercedes once more handed 25 points to Sebastian Vettel. What is interesting is in an era where the undercut is supposedly less effective. One may expect the trend to continue throughout the year.
Bahrain also saw Pascal Wehrlein making a welcome return to F1. The German once again showing why he won the paddock over with his insatiable one-lap pace and a solid race showing to 11th place, almost picking up some ultra valuable points on his Sauber debut.
Plaudits too go to the Force India pair; three consecutive point finishes for Esteban Ocon and a run of 13 for Sergio Perez, made even more impressive by his shock Q1 elimination.
Looking Forward - Russia:
Last year it was Nico Rosberg who took the top spot after Lewis Hamilton's reliability gremlins left him in 10th place on the grid. This year will present a different winner but who that may be we shall soon find out.
After McLaren shockingly completing a long run in the Bahrain test that even left the senior engineers in shock, can they utilise their strong chassis and earn a point or two? Sadly we doubt this due to Russia being more of a power track than any other venue we've visited thus far this year - something Renault and Red Bull could also face issues with if they aren't careful.
Will Force India get another double points finish and continue their consistent form?
Can Mercedes convert their dominant qualifying form into another win or will Ferrari capitalise once more?
After Bottas taking a stunning pole last time out, can Kimi Raikkonen show the tifosi he's still got it?
With Russia being known for low tyre wear, who can prevail and manage the tyres best on what is believed to be a one stop race?
Finally the predictions:
Pole Position - Valtteri Bottas
Race Win - Lewis Hamilton
Podium - Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas
Driver of the Day - Carlos Sainz
Fastest Pit Stop - Williams
First Retirement - Kevin Magnussen
This series relies on your contribution and input so please please please put your predictions and answers to our key questions below before race day.
by Matthew Gannon