Sochi: Fresh from winning his third race of the season in Bahrain, Sebastian Vettel touched down here Monday to test the track for next year's Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix. Vettel and former star David Coulthard are to whizz around the 5.9-kilometre Sochi Olympic Park Circuit, which is yet to be completed, in a regular road car.
The pair was first whisked around the site for the paddock by the deputy governor of Sochi's region of Krasnodar, Nikolai Buturlakin. Vettel extended his championship lead in the drivers standings Sunday with an imperious victory in Bahrain, finishing first in his Red Bull ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean in the Lotus.
The first Russian Grand Prix will take place in October next year, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in February. More than half of the tarmac required for the track has already been laid. No calendar has been announced for the 2014 season, and the only previous indication of a race date came last month when Sochi's mayor said the race would be held in November 2014.
An October date for Sochi suggests F1 could rejig the calendar for 2014, as the Russian race would fall among the several Far Eastern races on the 2013 schedule. The Sochi track uses some of the access roads for the Winter Olympics next February, and Putin said it was a prime example of Olympic legacy at work.