PUTTING SOCHI TO THE TEST: Red Bull ace and Infiniti's director of performance, Sebastian Vettel, gets to grips with the new Sochi circuit albeit behind the wheel of an Infiniti Q50 Hybrid. Image: Infiniti
SOCHI, Russia – Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel has become the first Formula 1 driver to lap the new Sochi Autodrom in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, ahead of the 2014 inaugural Russian GP on October 12.
Vettel, Infiniti's director of performance, headed to Sochi after finishing fifth at the 2014 Belgian GP at the Spa Francorchamps circuit on August 24 and completed a number of high-speed laps of the circuit in an Infiniti Q50 Hybrid.
Vettel was joined by ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard.
GREEN LIGHT FOR SOCHI GP
Vettel is no stranger to Sochi having visited the venue with Infiniti in April 2013 when the circuit was still under construction. Since then the complex has hosted the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
IMAGE GALLERY: Vettel tests Sochi GP circuit
VIDEO: Vettel's hot lap at Sochi
The Sochi Autodrom, designed by famed F1 architect Hermann Tilke, has 18 corners across 5.8km and will host Round 16 of the 2014 championship.
Commenting on his driving experience, Sebastian Vettel said: “It was great to be back in Sochi and the venue has been transformed since I was last here when it was really just a construction site.
"Having driven the full circuit for the first time in the Infiniti Q50, it’s an interesting layout with a good mix of high-speed corners and technical sections. It’s going to be a huge challenge in a F1 car and I’m really looking forward to coming back in October."
Q50 EAU ROUGE
Infiniti's prototype super-sedan, the Q50 Eau Rouge, came face-to-face with the very place from which its name drew its inspiration - Eau Rouge, the epic high-speed corner of the famed Spa-Francorchamps race circuit in Belgium.
In August 2014 Vettel took on US professional race driver Parker Kligerman and China’s Nine-Ball World champion snooker player Pan Xiaoting in a showdown behind the wheel of the Q50 Eau Rouge.