ALMOST TIME TO CELEBRATE? F1 Constructor's title leaders Mercedes could wrap up the team title at the Russian GP. Image: AP / Jon Super
Sochi, Russia - Mercedes can celebrate their second successive Formula 1 Constructors' title in Russia on Sunday (October 11) but Niki Lauda fears it could be forced to wait.
Mercedes chalked up a dominant one-two in Japan in September, with Lewis Hamilton leading home Nico Rosberg, after being strangely eclipsed on the slow and twisty Singapore street circuit.
Mercedes needs to score just three points more than Ferrari in Sochi to retain the title they won at the inaugural Russian race in 2014 with a one-two flourish.
Lauda, non-executive chairman of Mercedes, feared Sunday (October 11) could be more like Singapore than Suzuka.
Lauda said: "We have to say thank God we came out of the Singapore trauma and we are back.
"My worry is that the next race is Sochi which is a Singapore-type of asphalt, so it's not done and not that easy. We have to work hard and stay competitive and then we are looking good. But you only look good when it's done."
Mercedes have a lead of 169 points over Ferrari with five races remaining, and a maximum of 172 will be still up for grabs after Sunday.
Mercedes posted a collage on their Instagram account:
Hamilton has a 48-point advantage over Rosberg in the Drivers' championship, so nothing can be decided there yet.
Hamilton made his mark on Sochi in 2014 by lapping fastest in all three practice sessions, taking pole position and leading from lights to chequered flag.
That means the Briton is still the only driver to have led a lap at the circuit winding its way around some of the 2014 Winter Olympic venues.
Hamilton, winner of eight races so far in 2015 season, said: "It was great to win the first race for F1 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."
Rosberg to keep pushing
Rosberg has all the statistics against him, given that no driver has ever failed to take the title with such an advantage and so many wins as Hamilton, but he has vowed to push as hard as ever.
Rosberg said: "I'm not backing down in my fight for the championship. We have five races to go and, although the championship gap to Lewis is quite big, in my mind it's definitely not over yet."
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, the winner in Singapore, will be hoping to postpone Mercedes' title celebrations but the local crowd will be hoping Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat can also put himself in the mix after finishing second in Hungary in July 2015.
Red Bull have been making more headlines off the track than on it this season, thanks to increasing concern about their 2016 engine supply and fears the team could quit altogether, but Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo have both been on the podium.
Kvyat said: "The atmosphere in 2014 was fantastic, there were so many fans giving me support. It really feels awesome to be there. I'm happy to have the attention, it gives you a bit of a lift."