In Brief

F1 Russian GP: Hamilton and Vettel insist the title race is not yet over

Leclerc focuses on strong finish to the season for Sauber ahead of Ferrari move

2018 F1 Russian Grand Prix

  • When: Sunday 30 September 
  • Where: Sochi Autodrom, Russia 
  • Circuit guide: f1.com  
  • Race start time: 12.10pm on Sunday (UK time) 
  • 2017 result: 1st Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes); 2nd Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari); 3rd Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

Formula 1 rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel take their title battle to Russia this weekend with both drivers believing everything is still up for grabs.

With just six races of the 2018 season remaining, including Russia, Mercedes star Hamilton has built a 40-point lead over Ferrari’s Vettel after successive grand prix wins in Italy and Singapore.  

Despite his advantage, reigning world champion Hamilton has played down the trophy talk.

Speaking in Sochi, the British driver said on Sky Sports: “I don’t think you ever have one hand on it - you either have both hands on it or you don’t. There is still a long way to go, a lot of points available.

“Six races is still a lot of races. The job, the target and the approach is still exactly the same.”

German driver Vettel, who like Hamilton is a four-time world champion, also believes the title race has a long way to go.

“We have had races we should have won but didn’t and others we won and shouldn’t have,” Vettel said on the BBC. “Anything is possible. I’m not aiming to win all six races. I’m aiming to win here and then we go to the next one.

“It is very simple from where we are. We are some points behind and we need to catch up to make sure we stay there. The best way to do that is to finish ahead and ideally ahead of everybody. The plan doesn’t change.

“Obviously at this point we try to give it everything we have and I still believe we have a chance.”

Mercedes have won all four previous races in Russia and will be looking to maintain their 100% record this weekend.

Leclerc focused on Sauber

Next season Charles Leclerc will join Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari but the 20-year-old is putting the move to the back of his mind as he concentrates on the final six races at Sauber.

The rookie has enjoyed a strong first year in F1 and he is aiming to maintain his performances. He told F1.com: “It’s still very far away. First of all I have to finish this season on a high, which is for now the main importance to me. There’s still six races to go. So I will try first to focus on that.

“It’s a dream come true to be racing for Ferrari next year but I’m trying to take it out of my mind to focus fully on the end of this season.

“You can always improve. I still think that I can learn in everything. The target for the end of the season is to try to keep our form.”

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