Netflix and Sochi's 'special' feature has Mercedes wary ahead of Russian GP

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Mercedes is wary on two fronts ahead of this weekend's Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.

The German manufacturer heads to a circuit on which they have yet to lose, claiming victory in every race since the inaugural event in 2014.

But in Mercedes' team preview, Wolff began by reflecting on the crazy run of races since the revised season began back in July.

"After nine races in 11 weekends, and having reached half distance in the championship, Formula One had a well-deserved weekend off," said the Austrian.

"F1, the FIA and the local promoters did an impressive job in setting up a calendar in these difficult circumstances and making sure our series could safely return to the race track.

"However, the condensed schedule also meant a relentless three months for many people working in our sport.

"Those women and men - from all teams and in all kinds of positions - deserve our gratitude for making sure that we could do what we love most: go racing."

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Turning his attention to this weekend's 10th round though, the Mercedes boss explained the one main threat his drivers will have to emerge from unscathed.

"We're now heading to Russia, the first stand-alone event of the season. Sochi has been a good circuit for us in the past and we hold a strong track record there," Wolff noted.

"The Autodrom has a fairly unusual layout and it's one feature in particular that makes it special: the long run from pole to the first braking zone. 

"It means that the pole-sitter isn't necessarily in the strongest position for the race start as the cars behind him benefit from the tow.

"You could see it last year when Vettel overtook Leclerc on the run down to Turn 2 and in 2017, when Valtteri beat pole-sitter Vettel from P3.

"Our qualifying pace has been really strong this year, but this strength could easily turn into a vulnerability on race day in Sochi."

And as Lewis Hamilton goes in search of his 91st F1 win, which would see him match the all-time record set by Michael Schumacher, the extra focus is giving Mercedes flashbacks.

"The Russian Grand Prix will also be the race where Netflix will follow our team for the third season of Drive to Survive," Wolff confirmed.

"Last year, they shadowed us at Hockenheim where we celebrated our home race and 125 years of motorsport - and had our worst race of the season.

"That made for a very entertaining Netflix episode, but we hope that this time we can have great content and a great race," he concluded.