Sochi: Pirelli C5 Could Be Mercedes’ Most-Serious Challenger

Pirelli to debut C5 tyre at Sochi for the 2020 Russian Grand Prix

After two phenomenal races in Italy (Monza & Mugello), the pressure is on the Russian Grand Prix to live up to expectations. The Sochi Autodrom has seldom entertained (apart from the Putin-Ecclestone bromance!) but we tell you why there may be hope this time around. It could be thanks to the Pirelli C5 tyre! 

The 2020 Russian Grand Prix will permit 30,000 fans to attend the race at the Sochi Autodrom. Will Vladimir Putin, Russia’s no. 1 Formula 1 fan, attend the race? If so, will his best friend Bernie Ecclestone be in attendance, too? (Yes, ECC has said that he would rather spend time with his baby boy than attend a race in 2020, but it’s ECC – trust him at your own will)

In this Pits To Podium segment, Soumil and Kunal list the ‘5 things to watch for’ for the 2020 Russian Grand Prix. Will the Pirelli C5 tyre challenge Mercedes’ dominance at this circuit? The smooth tarmac coupled with the low-medium circuit configuration is the primary reason Pirelli have brought their softest tyre compound to this race. They don’t expect their tyres to be put under high loads a la Mugello. As for the teams, they are hoping that the softer set of compounds (Pirelli C5 being the softest) open up different tyre strategies on race day. In qualifying, look out for drivers complaining of their rears falling off the cliff as they go through sector 3.

Traditionally, Valtteri Bottas has been stronger at Sochi than Lewis Hamilton. Can the Finnish driver claim his second win of the season? And what about the third step of the podium – will Max Verstappen return or can Sergio Perez become the season’s 10th podium finisher? And of course, there’s the mid-field battle that’s ever-entertaining. Tune in!

(Season 2020, Episode 47) 

Join the fun on Pits To Podium’s Grand Prix Prediction League!

Also, Formula 1 has undergone several positive changes over the last few weeks. Here are two episodes that will bring you up to pace with these changes:

  1. NOW Is The Best Time To Own An F1 Team
  2. Liberty Media’s Formula 1, Finally


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Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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