Hamilton prepared for a cold reception in Russia

Lewis Hamilton, odds-on at 4/11 to win the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship will resume his rivalry with teammate Nico Rosberg in Russia. The Brit has won the last two Grand Prix races, and is also odds-on at 4/6 to make it a hat-trick in Sochi.

The 2008 champion has been reacting to his victory in Suzuka, and has spoken of his shock to what happened to fellow driver Jules Bianchi.

“It’s difficult to know what to say after a weekend like the one in Japan. As I crossed the line, obviously I was pleased to have finally won at Suzuka – but as soon as we got back to the pits and heard what happened to Jules it suddenly didn’t seem relevant anymore.

“My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”

Looking ahead to the next race, Hamilton has said it is one he is eagerly anticipating.

“This weekend is a new experience for Formula One as we head to Russia for the first time,” he added. “I like a challenge and a new circuit always provides that.

“Of course, we’ve run through plenty of laps on the simulator – but you never really know what it will be like until you get out there and feel your way into the track.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s really like and how our car performs there. It felt great in the race in Japan and I’m sure it will be strong again in Sochi, so I’m hoping to keep up this run of results that we’ve built in the last few races.”

Mercedes teammate Rosberg, who is 9/4 to win in Russia, for what would be the first time in six attempts, has also said he is relishing the circuit.

“Looking ahead to this weekend, it’s exciting to be going to the first ever Russian Grand Prix. Formula One has never raced in Russia before, of course. But we did actually do a demo in Moscow a couple of years ago where I drove round the Kremlin, which was really cool.”

Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo, who is third in the standings, could be a good shout at 11/10 for his first podium finish since the Spanish Grand Prix in May.