Overtaking and the Russian Grand Prix aren’t two terms you usually associate with each other, after all, the 2017 race didn’t see a single on-track pass. However, most of the other races held at the 2014 Winter Olympics village have seen some spectacular passes in unorthodox locations.
While tyre wear isn’t a concern around Sochi’s billiard-table smooth track surface, you can do serious damage to your fronts by following another car closely. Therefore, around this track, like any other, getting by quickly is essential to progress up the field.
With the real-life race taking place this weekend, these are the four locations you’ll be most likely to see passing occurring in Russia!
The first braking zone on the circuit is Turn 2, and it’s also the most common overtaking location around Sochi. The kink of Turn 1 is an easy flat and makes it a very long run from the last corner to T2. DRS is in operation on this straight, and the tow is very powerful going down to this corner.
What makes passing here hard, though, is that it’s difficult to follow closely through the final sector, the front tyres just don’t bite when you’re choking on the exhaust fumes of the car ahead. If you’re overtaking, the inside line is dominant, but this will usually mean your opponent will cover the right-hand side of the track in defence.
How to master this corner: You’ll be arriving at almost 210 mph (338 kph) and need to brake just before the 100m board down into third gear. Run the right-front over the red and white inside kerbing and do the same for Turn 3, but be sure to avoid the orange sausage kerb for the latter corner.
READ MORE: F1 2019 Russian GP Track Guide
Turns 4 & 5
You might think that due to how powerful the dirty air effect is in modern F1, that overtaking through the 180-degree high-speed left-hander isn’t an option, but you’d be wrong. Lewis Hamilton showed that you can pass around Russia’s horseshoe-shaped corner in last year’s race, and you can replicate that in Codemasters’ game.
If you don’t get the pass completed into Turn 2, Turns 4 and 5 are you next best bet, especially if you get pushed to the outside, as is so often the case. The outside of the corner sets you up best for the braking zones of Turns 5 and 6, but the inside is the much shorter route around the corner, and also avoids you picking up marbles on your tyres.
How to master this corner: Turn 4 is the most thrilling on the circuit, but an easy flat, these days. Start wide and turn towards the apex of the corner so that at halfway, you’ll kissing the inside kerbs and stay there until Turn 5.
Turn 5 completes this complex and you have to make sure you brake in a straight line to avoid locking up. Brake at 100m down into fourth gear and get as close to the inside kerbing as possible, but don’t touch it, as it can send you wide on exit. Don’t run wide on exit, either, as it costs you a lot of time due to the lower grip levels out there.
The most speculative overtaking spot on the track is Turn 6, as in real-life you don’t really see passing here, but in the game, it’s definitely an opportunity. Attempting a pass on the brakes in Turn 5 can be difficult, especially if you’re going down the inside, as the angle is so much more acute than the racing line.
If you stay in the slipstream of the car ahead and hang back through Turn 5, this can set you up for a move into Turn 6. Realistically, you have to be on the inside to get past, but the outside line does provide an opportunity, as you can swing around the outside. There’s plenty of grip on the outside too, no least on the run-off.
How to master this corner: Turn 6 is the first of many 90-degree corners in Sochi. Brake at about 80m down to fourth gear and get as close to outside kerbing on entry, but don’t run the left-front tyre over it. Run the right-front over the red and white inside kerbing and avoid all of the kerbs on the exit.
READ MORE: F1 2019 Russian GP Setup Guide
The final realistic overtaking spot on the track is the braking zone after second DRS zone. The slipstream is powerful on the run down this straight, and you can get by well before the braking zone, especially if your rival’s tyres are heavily worn.
Passing here is possible, but doing so is like threading the eye of a needle, there’s such little room off-line, you usually have to get the move done before the braking zone. As Carlos Sainz found out in 2015, getting this corner wrong can have disastrous consequences.
How to master this corner: Turn 14 is a heavy braking zone, you need to hug the inside kerbing of T13 to make the line you brake on as straight as possible. Brake at the 150m board down into third gear and don’t slam the peddle down, being gentler on the brakes is the key here. T14 is one of the hardest on the calendar on the front axle, as you’re braking while turning after a DRS straight, locking up is very common here.
Where’s your favourite corner to pass in Russia? One of the above or did we miss somewhere? Let us know in the comments below!
Want to join the RS team? Become a RealGamer