Mercedes have won every single Grand Prix in Sochi, Russia since 2014 so they are definitely the favorites for the upcoming race. Valtteri Bottas, after being confirmed that it is his last season with the team, is on a good form and will try to take one more race win before going to the midfield Alfa Romeo. Meanwhile, the margin of losing further points for both Hamilton and Verstappen is getting smaller. Hamilton has a big chance to make up for the lost points in Monza since Verstappen is expected to start at the back of the grid due to engine change and the 3-place grid penalty he is carrying from Italy after his crash on Lewis.
Even if Bottas manages to stay ahead of Hamilton, I would expect Mercedes to give orders and let Lewis take the victory in his chase for the 8th world title. Of course, Max will do everything he can to limit the damages and he could easily finish in the top-5 no matter what position he starts from. The battle between the McLarens and the Ferraris is holding strong but the Woking-based team got a huge advantage following the 1-2 in Monza. Given that Leclerc will also start from the back of the grid due to engine change, McLaren is expected to extend their lead.
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