• IN WORDS: Lewis & Valtteri Talk Russia

From challenging their engineers to start tactics, Lewis and Valtteri look ahead to Sochi!

When you find a way of working that suits you, it's easy to stick with it. For some, that's absolutely fine and works well, but Lewis isn't one of those people.

"What I continue to find in life, all of us, we are very much stuck in our ways in the things we do," the Brit explained. "There's a way we do things and it's hard for us to change it, because that's what we've learnt works well.

"When you're working with engineers, for example, it's very similar. Breaking patterns, breaking moulds and challenging people, that's what I live to do.

"I'm a pain in the ass to my engineers upstairs. I'm always challenging, challenging, challenging. Even if I'm wrong, still questioning, questioning, questioning.

"Some of that, I like to think, has had a positive impact... to spring an idea or a direction in which we've pushed the car and our understanding, for example of the tyres.

"I really do believe this weekend we'll be in a better position than we were here last year. Our understanding of the tyres is far greater than it was when we arrived here last year.

"It's still a challenge to get right. So, we will take our understanding from last year and that experience with a pinch of salt because the car is different, it's improved, and we've got different tyre this weekend."

Victory last time out in Singapore extended his lead in the Drivers' Championship to 40 points, but Lewis isn't taking that for granted.

His approach remains exactly the same and he's taking each race as they come, because there are still plenty of points up for grabs.

"I don't think you ever have one hand on it," he said, when asked if he has one hand on the Drivers' title.

"You either have both hands on it, or you don't. Same as the last race, just taking it one race at a time, there's still a long way to go, a lot of points available.

"Six races are still a lot of races, it's a long season. We're really just head down, everyone's working incredibly hard to continue to improve the car.

"We're going to be faced with different challenges as we come to these different races, so the job is still exactly the same. The target is still exactly the same and the approach is still exactly the same."

For Valtteri, Sochi holds fond memories, as it was the scene of his first victory in Formula One last year, where he held off the challenges of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages.

He has yet to stand on the top step of the podium this year, but typically goes well at the Sochi Autodrom and has his sights set on the winners' trophy.

"It definitely brings back special memories," Valtteri said. "It was a good memory and it's nice to be back here, it's a strong track normally for me.

"I've had some pretty decent races in the past so, in that way, it's a nice way to approach the weekend.

"No wins for me this year yet, but there's still a bit of the season left and I come here with only one thing on my mind.

"That is being on pole position and winning the race."

Starting position and tactics on the run down to Turn 2 are difficult, because it's the longest flat-out blast from the grid to the first braking zone on the calendar.

Valtteri had a lightning-quick start from P3 last year and got the tow on Vettel to snatch the lead into Turn 2, but in the past, those starting from pole have managed to maintain position.

"Yeah, it's a tricky one here," Valtteri admitted. "It's an extremely long run to Turn 2. Last year, I missed pole by less than one tenth, which maybe in the end was good.

"I got a nice tow, but you also need a good start for that. I think still, you would like to be on pole because from there, if you get a good start...

"In the past, 2015 and 2016, the person who started on pole could keep first place into Turn 2. It is a tricky one.

"Now, I think there has been some resurfacing, which affects positions one and two. Normally when there is new tarmac, it means there is more grip so potentially you would like to be in the first two places."