F1 Insider: Russian Grand Prix preview and betting tips

Check out our tips for the Russian Grand Prix

Our F1 Insider is back and picks out two strong fancies as Formula 1 heads to Russia for the latest Grand Prix.

Recommended bet

2pts e.w. Valtteri Bottas to win the Russian Grand Prix at 6/1

2pts no safety car deployed at 2/1

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record

Valtteri Bottas to win the Russian Grand Prix at 6/1

Mercedes' dismal run to fourth and fifth places in Singapore last weekend is unlikely to provoke an overreaction in the Brackley camp.

The strategy employed on the pit wall didn't produce the desired result but the team were caught in a pincer movement that even surprised those who instigated the tactic, Ferrari.

The Scuderia didn't intend for Sebastian Vettel to leapfrog Charles Leclerc, but the pace of the German's out lap on fresh rubber caught them by surprise.

The red cars should be strong again this weekend but Mercedes should hold a significant edge in the slow and medium-speed corners that characterise Sochi.

Valtteri Bottas has always revelled in the grip-less track surface, taking his maiden victory here in 2017 and only being denied in 2018 by team orders.

The Finn qualified third at Sochi for Williams in 2014, 2015 and 2016, so has the course form to mix it with team-mate Lewis Hamilton and the Ferraris.

No safety car deployed at 2/1

A safety car has been required in three of the five races held at the Sochi Autodrom.

In 2015 the AMG Mercedes was called upon twice for separate crashes, and also appeared in 2016 following a three-car incident and 2017 after a contretemps between Romain Grosjean and Jolyon Palmer.

Last year though, as in 2014, it stayed in its garage, and the odds of 2/1 that its driver Bernd Maylander is again not called upon look a fraction too long.

As a modern Hermann Tilke-designed circuit, Sochi has plenty of run-off area and while its deep braking zones facilitate passing, access for recovery vehicles is plentiful and the track is generally wide enough to discourage contact.

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