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  • Stuart Kavanagh

verstappen to the back of the grid

F1 Season Heats Up in Sochi Grand Prix

At the Sochi Autodrom in Russia, week 15 of the Formula One season is set to heat up after a dramatic opening session on Friday that saw World Championship leader Max Verstappen hit with an engine change grid penalty that will see him start Sunday's race from the back of the grid.

Things are tight between the young talented Dutchman and living legend Lewis Hamilton with only 5 World Championship points separating them. Their rivalry has gone to a new level this season as the race for the championship hots up. Last round in Italy both drivers were involved in a crash that saw them both eliminated.

Hamilton ramped up the mind games in the lead up to the Sochi Grand Prix when he suggested Verstappen would be feeling the pressure of a potential first World Championship -

"I remember what it was like fighting for my first championship, and obviously I'm fighting my 10th battle, something like that, I remember what it was like and I know the pressure that comes with it and the experiences that go with it. So I can empathize with that. I think what's important is that we just continue to race hard but fair."

The Dutch superstar hit back in classic Verstappen style, completely dismissing Hamiltons observations in sarcastic fashion -

"I'm so nervous I can barely sleep. It's so horrible to fight for a title, I really hate it. Those comments, just shows you that he doesn't really know me, which is fine. I also don't need to know him, how he is fully, but I just focus on myself and I really enjoy it out there in front."

With the end of the calendar still not confirmed (there are either 7 or 8 races left) Hamilton will be hoping to maintain Mercedes dominance at a track where they have not failed to be first to the checkered flag in its 7-year history. Four of those victories are to the Briton himself.

Verstappen is not without pedigree on this track also. In the 2018 race, he began in 19th place on the grid and took a grand total of eight laps to move his way up to fifth in the 2018 Sochi race.

This has all the ingredients to be a classic race and the World Championship will definitely go down to the wire this year. Doesn't matter if you're Team Verstappen or Team Hamilton, stay up to date at the