By Kyle Cumbers

We have been very lucky with the start of the season we’ve seen so far and the excitement is building for the battle ahead at the front between Ferrari and Mercedes.

Although it is still very early in the 2017 season, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen need a result soon to postpone any talks within their respective teams over being the number two driver – at Mercedes and Ferrari.

The Russian Grand Prix hasn’t provided any classic races since arriving on the Formula 1 calendar in 2014, but we can live in hope. Here are some bets I will be placing ahead of this weekend in Sochi – and I invite you to join me.

1: The Russian Grand Prix has been kind to the Mercedes team over the last three years, as they have completed every lap in the lead. The Sochi track is very kind on tyres and Mercedes cars may not suffer the issues that have occurred elsewhere in the first three races of 2017. Therefore I am going for Lewis Hamilton to achieve his third win at the Russian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton to win the race: Evens (BetVictor, Coral, Ladbrokes, Stan James)

2: The following bet is not normally a bet I look at, but with the troubles McLaren Honda are having I thought I would take a look at the odds. I was a little surprised to see you can double your money if you just bet on Fernando Alonso to finish the actual race! Obviously it is no guarantee, but surely Mclaren and Alonso can get to the chequered flag?!

Fernando Alonso to finish the race: Evens (Betfair, Paddy Power, SkyBet)

MORE: Get involved in The NR F1 Podcast Prediction League 

3: It all went wrong for Daniil Kyvat last year at his home race, as Helmut Marko decided this would be the young Russian’s last grand prix in the Red Bull Racing team. It certainly didn’t help that he smashed into Red Bull golden boy Sebastian Vettel. To his credit, Kvyat has bounced back from that and is starting to show his talent once again, and I think he will achieve a points finish this weekend.

Daniil Kyvat to finish in the points: 5/4 (Betfair, BetVictor, PaddyPower, SkyBet)

As always, good luck to us all and please remember to bet responsibly.

Kyle Cumbers is a member of the NRF1 Podcast crew. Follow Kyle on Twitter @kcumbers