April 27, 2017

Russia is the largest country in the world by surface area, approximately 57 times bigger than Scuderia Toro Rosso’s homeland, Italy. Russia boasts some of the most beautiful cities in the world, but such is the nature of the Formula 1 World Championship that the majority of those who work in the sport have never seen anything of the country other than Sochi airport and the Olympic Village. In the year of the STR12 here are 12 STRange facts about Russia.

1) Let's start with the national drink: The word "vodka" derives from the word "voda", which means "water". Who are they trying to kid?!

2) Russia's most amazing museum, the Hermitage in St Petersburg is home to around 70 cats that guard its treasures against rodents. The tradition dates back to a 1745 decree of Empress Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great, founder of St. Petersburg. The museum also has almost 14 miles of marbled corridors.

3) Russia has more time zones (11) than any other country.

4) It is home to the coldest inhabited place on the planet - Oymyakon. On February 6, 1933, a temperature of −67.7 °C was recorded at its weather station (That's even colder than Silverstone in July!)

5) Our Russian driver's full name is Daniil Vyacheslavovich Kvyat derived from his father's given name with "ovich" tacked on the end.

6) Kvyat's best result at his home race was a fifth place in 2015, driving for Red Bull Racing.

7) Sochi is known as the Summer Capital of Russia. In summer the town's population doubles as Russian holidaymakers come to enjoy the sun in what is known as the Pearl of the Black Sea.

8) Strange therefore that a summer resort was chosen for the Winter Olympic Games in 2014. Prior to the influx of all the foreigners involved in the event, Sochi's most famous non-Russian visitor was probably Bono, the singer with U2.

9) On average, Sochi enjoys 300 days of sunshine per year; unheard of in the rest of Russia.

10) The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest railway in the world. It runs for 9200 kilometres from Moscow to the Pacific port of Vladivostok. About 30% of all Russia's exported goods travel on this line.

11) Moscow is on a par with New York at the top of the list of cities with the most billionaires.

12) 31 years – that's how long it took to put on a Formula 1 race in Russia. The idea of a Soviet Union Grand Prix was first put forward in 1983 and the inaugural GP was held in Sochi in 2014.