Lewis Hamilton says he wants to serve up double delight in Russia after bouncing back at Suzuka to extend his championship lead to 48 points over Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.
The reigning Formula 1 champion suffered a nightmare outing at Singapore after being forced to retire with a blown power unit. Despite chinks beginning to show in the dominant Mercedes package Hamilton made an instant return to the top step of the rostrum in Japan to reassert his control in the F1 title fight.
The British driver's victory at Suzuka drew him level on F1 race wins with his idol Ayrton Senna as well as Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Sochi represents a golden opportunity to move ahead of the pair. The 30-year-old won the inaugural Russian Grand Prix last season and is naturally aiming to repeat the feat this weekend.
“Last year was the first experience I'd had of Russia in my racing career and we had a great race there,” Hamilton said. “It was great to win the first race for Formula One in Russia and a fantastic moment for the team to take the title there last time out. Fingers crossed we can add to those great memories again this weekend - I'll be pushing as hard as I can to make that happen.
“Suzuka was a really special weekend for me and another fantastic result for the team. Everyone is doing such an incredible job once again this season and every bit of this success is well deserved. The car was unbelievable to drive in Japan, so hopefully it'll be more of the same at the remaining races.”
If Hamilton is to claim his ninth win of the season at Russia he will extend his points lead on Rosberg to over 50 points – equivalent of Hamilton failing to score in two races with his team-mate winning both – and will give the defending champion the opportunity to wrap up the drivers' honours in Mexico with two races to spare.