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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2018 Calendar

RaceGrand PrixRace Day
1AustraliaSunday 25 March
2BahrainSunday 8 April
3ChinaSunday 15 April
4AzerbaijanSunday 29 April
5SpainSunday 13 May
6MonacoSunday 27 May
7CanadaSunday 10 June
8FranceSunday 24 June
9AustriaSunday 1 July
10Great BritainSunday 8 July
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16RussiaSunday 30 September
17JapanSunday 7 October
18United StatesSunday 21 October
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20BrazilSunday 11 November
21Abu DhabiSunday 25 November

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PlaceDriverTeamPoints
1Vettel171
2Hamilton163
3Räikkönen116
4Ricciardo106
5Bottas104
6Verstappen93
7Hulkenberg42
8Alonso40
9Magnussen39
10Sainz28
11Ocon25
12Perez24
13Gasly18
14Leclerc13
15Grosjean12
16Vandoorne8
17Stroll4
18Ericsson3
19Hartley1
20Sirotkin0

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PlaceTeamPoints
1287
2267
3199
470
551
649
748
819
916
104