Alex Palmer Writes...
Ah, Sochi, the number 1 race for random happenings and boring racing. Now before you start having a go at me about the two being mutually exclusive, let me clarify - the random happenings may or may not have anything to do with the actual race. Take for example the lead story from the media contingent over the previous two races, which has been the very basic facilities and accommodation that they had access to. And then there was the speculation last year about the financial solvency (or otherwise) of the track, as well as the constant pressure to NOT report on certain things or criticize certain things that the political regime might not like.

But on to the race. With qualifying now firmly established and a fine cool weekend on the forecast, the real interest is probably on who ends up where on Saturday afternoon as there's unlikely to be much overtaking in the race proper. I think we'll see a valiant effort from the Red Bull team but I think we'll see a resurgent Hamilton on pole with Vettel and Rosberg, and maybe Ricciardo filling up the first two rows.

If we cross our fingers and toes, click our heels together three times and wish hard perhaps something interesting might just happen in Sunday's race. I would settle for a safety car triggered by a black bear, or President Putin's motorcade leading the warm-up lap. Or maybe even a shower of rain? Maybe we can bring back Maldonado? I know, now I am really grasping at straws.....

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2017 Calendar

RaceGrand PrixRace Day
1AustraliaSunday 26 March
2ChinaSunday 9 April
3BahrainSunday 16 April
4RussiaSunday 30 April
5SpainSunday 14 May
6MonacoSunday 28 May
7CanadaSunday 11 June
8AzerbaijanSunday 25 June
9AustriaSunday 9 July
10Great BritainSunday 16 July
11HungarySunday 30 July
12BelgiumSunday 27 August
13ItalySunday 3 September
14SingaporeSunday 17 September
15MalaysiaSunday 1 October
16JapanSunday 8 October
17United StatesSunday 22 October
18MexicoSunday 29 October
19BrazilSunday 12 November
20Abu DhabiSunday 26 November

2017 Driver Leaderboard

PlaceDriverTeamPoints
1HamiltonMercedes363
2VettelFerrari317
3BottasMercedes305
4RäikkönenFerrari205
5RicciardoRed Bull200
6VerstappenRed Bull168
7PerezForce India100
8OconForce India87
9SainzToro Rosso54
10HulkenbergRenault43
11MassaWilliams43
12StrollWilliams40
13GrosjeanHaas28
14MagnussenHaas19
15AlonsoMcLaren17
16VandoorneMcLaren13
17PalmerRenault8
18KvyatToro Rosso5
19WehrleinSauber5
20ButtonMcLaren0
21EricssonSauber0
22GaslyToro Rosso0
23GiovinazziSauber0
24HartleyToro Rosso0

2017 Constructor Leaderboard

PlaceTeamPoints
1Mercedes668
2Ferrari522
3Red Bull368
4Force India187
5Williams83
6Renault57
7Toro Rosso53
8Haas47
9McLaren30
10Sauber5