Alonso to catch up with a legend in Sochi, if he starts the race...

© XPB 

Fernando Alonso isn't quite F1's senior citizen, that privilege is held by Kimi Raikkonen, but the Spaniard's seniority will put him on the same level as the sport's all-time most prolific driver in Russia.

Assuming the McLaren driver lines up on the grid next Sunday, he will tie seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher for the second greatest number of career starts in F1.

At 307, the duo is 15 races behind the absolute record holder, Rubens Barrichello.

Alonso will therefore have something to look forward to, because on the performance front, McLaren's MCL33 won't hit any big numbers around the Sochi Autodrom, a venue where straight-line speed is vital.

"It feels like a long time since we last raced in Russia as the race was much earlier on the calendar last year," said the 38-year-old in the team's preview.

"It also feels longer for me since I didn’t make the start due to reliability issues, so I’m looking forward to finally racing in Sochi again.

"Singapore was definitely a boost for everyone. We have had at least one DNF over the last few races, so crossing the line with both cars was positive, and something we need to keep working on every race.

"It was great to get points too, and the aim is always to keep scoring at every possible opportunity."

The remainder of the 2018 schedule could offer McLaren some fixed fortunes, but one can never discard Alonso's ability to stick it out and push for the maximum result, even on unfavorable terrain.

"We know some of the coming races won’t be as favourable to us as Singapore, and there will be tracks that won’t suit our car as much.

"With every race we’re pushing hard, learning a lot and trying to maximise what we have.

"Sochi is a fun circuit with a very interesting and unique layout with its 90-degree corners, so let’s see how our car performs there."

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