Alex Palmer Writes
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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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2019 Calendar

RaceGrand PrixRace Day
1AustraliaSunday 17 March
2BahrainSunday 31 March
3ChinaSunday 14 April
4AzerbaijanSunday 28 April
5SpainSunday 12 May
6MonacoSunday 26 May
7CanadaSunday 9 June
8FranceSunday 23 June
9AustriaSunday 30 June
10Great BritainSunday 14 July
11GermanySunday 28 July
12HungarySunday 4 August
13BelgiumSunday 1 September
14ItalySunday 8 September
15SingaporeSunday 22 September
16RussiaSunday 29 September
17JapanSunday 13 October
18MexicoSunday 27 October
19United StatesSunday 3 November
20BrazilSunday 17 November
21Abu DhabiSunday 1 December

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PlaceDriverTeamPoints
1Hamilton413
2Bottas326
3Verstappen278
4Leclerc264
5Vettel240
6Sainz96
7Gasly95
8Albon92
9Ricciardo54
10Perez52
11Norris49
12Räikkönen43
13Hulkenberg37
14Kvyat37
15Stroll21
16Magnussen20
17Giovinazzi14
18Grosjean8
19Kubica1
20Russell0

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PlaceTeamPoints
1739
2504
3417
4145
591
685
773
857
928
101