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Wolff wary of pole vulnerability - and Netflix curse - at Sochi

Wolff wary of pole vulnerability - and Netflix curse - at Sochi

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Wolff wary of pole vulnerability - and Netflix curse - at Sochi

Wolff wary of pole vulnerability - and Netflix curse - at Sochi

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has expressed concern his team's qualifying strength may be a weakness at this weekend's Russian Grand Prix - while he is also wary of again being cursed by Netflix.

Mercedes has been utterly dominant in qualifying this season, claiming pole position at all nine races to date, and a front-row lockout in eight of those, the exception being the Styrian Grand Prix.

At the Sochi Autodrom, the team also has a phenomenal record, winning all six races at the circuit, and scoring one-two finishes on four occasions.

Yet Wolff knows the near 900-metre run down to the first braking zone from the front of the grid will put both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at risk should they again sit on the front row.

"Sochi has been a good circuit for us in the past and we hold a strong track record there," said Wolff. "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 [Sebastian] Vettel overtook Leclerc on the run down to turn two, 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."

For this weekend, the Netflix cameras will be following Mercedes as part of its latest series of Drive to Survive.

Last year, Netflix covered the team across the German Grand Prix weekend at Hockenheim where it celebrated a milestone in its history, only to suffer its low point of the year as in wet conditions Bottas crashed out and Hamilton spun, eventually finishing ninth.

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

"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."

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