Reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel has become the first Formula 1 driver to complete a lap of the Sochi Autodrom, the sport’s newest venue which will play host to the inaugural Russian Grand Prix later this year.

In an event co-sponsored by Red Bull and its commercial partner, Infiniti, Vettel and fellow ambassador David Coulthard took a pair of Infiniti Q50 Hybrid cars around the 5.853-kilometre circuit created by ubiquitous F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke.

The track winds its way around many of the facilities used to host the Winter Olympic Games earlier this year. FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting recently declared that the circuit would achieve the governing body’s homologation ribber stamp to stage October’s Russian Grand Prix.


It’s just another Tilkedrome: wide, too many corners, a no elevation change. It seems like an opportunity wasted.


“I think it is a very interesting track. I was here roughly a year ago when it was in the middle of construction and now it is finished. It is great to see the stadiums around and I think the circuit is very technical and it also seems very quick,” Vettel said, when asked of his impressions of the circuit.

“I am looking forward now to driving a Formula 1 car around here at the same place as they held the 2014 Winter Olympics. I think it is going to be a great experience. I am also looking forward to seeing how many people come to watch and see what the reception will be.

“Everything is set and everything is brand new. It is fantastic and ready to go. We just need to bring the cars and the spectators.”

Vettel’s onboard lap can be found here:

While we’ve separately debated the rights and wrongs of Formula 1 even coming to Russia, our initial impressions of the track are that it’s just another Tilkedrome: wide, too many corners, a no elevation change. It’s a mix between Valencia, Korea and Abu Dhabi, none of which would rank as Tilke’s most inspired designs when stacked up against the likes of Istanbul or the Circuit of the Americas. It seems like an opportunity wasted.

The inaugural Russian Grand Prix takes place between October 10-12.

Image via video via Infiniti Performance Team

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.
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