Six current drivers hold a 100% Q3 record in Sochi, four drivers have a 100% Russian Grand Prix points-finish record and just two drivers have never been beaten by their team-mate in Qualifying at the track. Here’s everything you need to know about each driver’s Russian Grand Prix history!
🇬🇧 Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton won both of the first Russian Grands Prix in 2014 and 2015, and since then has finished as runner-up in 2016 and in fourth place in 2017. Hamilton has taken one pole position at the Sochi Autodrom, in 2014, but hasn’t started on the front row since 2015. Despite this, the four-time champion is the top points scorer in Russia. Hamilton is yet to lose a position in a Grand Prix at the track. He’s only beaten a team-mate in Qualifying once at the Sochi circuit, but holds a 100% Q3 appearance rate here.
🇫🇮 Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas took his maiden Formula One victory at the Sochi Autodrom last season. He has two podium appearances in Russia, having also finished third in 2014. He was on course for another podium finish in 2015, but a late race crash with Kimi Raikkonen ended that possibility. Bottas has qualified in third place at every Russian Grand Prix, but started from the front row in 2016. He has a 100% Q3 record at the circuit, and is yet to be beaten by a team-mate in qualifying at the track.
🇩🇪 Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel has finished on the Russian Grand Prix podium twice, in 2015 and 2017, finishing as runner-up on both occasions. He’s also suffered a DNF here, thanks to being hit by Daniil Kvyat twice in the space of two corners in 2016. Vettel has qualified on the front row twice, including pole in 2017, but has only started from the front row once due to a five-place grid penalty in 2016. Daniel Ricciardo is the last team-mate to have beaten Vettel in qualifying in Sochi – the German has gone unbeaten since 2015. Vettel has reached Q3 on three of his four appearances at the Russian Grand Prix, having been eliminated in Q1 in 2014.
🇫🇮 Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen has taken podium finishes in Sochi at both of the last two Russian Grands Prix, taking third place both times. He could’ve been on the podium in 2015, too, if not for a late-race collision with Valtteri Bottas. Raikkonen has a 100% points-finishing record, along with a 100% Q3 record at this circuit. Last season, the Finn qualified on the front row here for the first time, having never started lower than eighth in Sochi. Raikkonen has never beaten a team-mate in Qualifying at the Sochi Autodrom.
🇦🇺 Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo is yet to finish above seventh in the Russian Grand Prix. His best result here came in the Grand Prix’s first year, and he’s failed to score points since, coming home in eleventh in 2016 and recording two DNFs. Ricciardo’s best qualifying at the track is fifth, which he achieved last season – he’s yet to start from the front two rows of the grid in Sochi. Ricciardo has beaten his team-mate in Qualifying on all four attempts, though, and has a 100% Q3 record. The Australian has only ever lost positions from his starting slot in the Russian Grand Prix.
🇳🇱 Max Verstappen
Like his team-mate, Max Verstappen is yet to have a big result at the Sochi Autodrom. His best finish here so far is fifth from last season, while 2015 is the only other time he has scored points at the track, finishing in tenth. He was running within the points in 2016, too, but an engine failure in his final race appearance with Toro Rosso saw him sidelined. Verstappen has a 100% Q3 record at the Russian Grand Prix, but is yet to qualify above seventh place. He’s only beaten a team-mate once here, though he didn’t have a team-mate to compete against in 2015 due to Carlos Sainz’s crash in the final practice session.
🇲🇽 Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez has a 100% points-scoring record in Russia. He’s also taken a podium finish here, taking third place in 2015. He’s reached Q3 every year except for the début Russian Grand Prix in 2014. The Mexican has been unbeaten by his team-mate in Qualifying in Sochi for the past two seasons. His best qualifying position is seventh, though his best grid slot here is sixth in 2016. 2016 was also the only time Perez has lost positions in a Grand Prix at the track.
🇫🇷 Esteban Ocon
In his only Russian Grand Prix appearance so far, Esteban Ocon finished in seventh place, having started from tenth on the grid. He reached Q3 in 2017, but failed to beat his team-mate in Qualifying.
🇨🇦 Lance Stroll
Competing at Sochi for the first time last season, Lance Stroll reached Q2 but was beaten by his team-mate in Qualifying. Starting from eleventh on the grid, the Canadian made no gains on his position and finished the race where he started it.
🇷🇺 Sergey Sirotkin
Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin has had two Formula One outings at the Sochi Autodrom. He drove in FP1 for Sauber in 2014, before carrying out the same duties for Renault in 2016 and 2017. He also raced at this track in GP2 in 2015, finishing a best of fourth in the Feature Race.
🇩🇪 Nico Hulkenberg
Last season was the first time Nico Hulkenberg has scored points in the Russian Grand Prix, having previously taken a twelfth place finish and two DNFs. Hulkenberg has a best qualifying position of sixth here, from 2015 and last season was the only other time that he’s reached Q3 at the track. He’s only been beaten by his team-mate in Qualifying once here, in 2016. The German hasn’t gained a position from his starting slot at the Sochi Autodrom since 2014.
🇪🇸 Carlos Sainz
Carlos Sainz suffered the biggest crash of his F1 career here in the final practice session for the 2015 Russian Grand Prix. Despite a visit to the hospital, Sainz competed in the race the next day but ultimately recorded his only retirement so far in Sochi. Since then, he’s taken twelfth and tenth place finishes in the last two years, having qualified eleventh both times. Last season, Sainz gained positions in the Russian Grand Prix for the first time. Starting fourteenth due to a penalty from the previous round, Sainz brought home his first point at the Sochi circuit. He’s yet to reach Q3 at the track.
🇫🇷 Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly raced at the Sochi Autodrom in the GP2 series in 2014 and 2015. He finished eleventh in both the Feature and Sprint races in 2014, and finished in the points in both races in 2015, with a best result of second in the Feature Race.
🇳🇿 Brendon Hartley
Brendon Hartley has never raced at the Sochi Autodrom before.
🇫🇷 Romain Grosjean
Romain Grosjean has reached Q3 only once at the Russian Grand Prix, back in 2015 when he qualified in eighth. Last year, he recorded his first Sochi Q1 exit. Last season was also the first time the Frenchman was beaten by a team-mate in qualifying at the track. With two DNFs in the past three years, Grosjean’s eighth place finish in 2016 is the only time he has scored points at this track. It’s also the only time he’s gained positions at the Russian Grand Prix, moving up seven places from his starting slot.
🇩🇰 Kevin Magnussen
From his three Russian Grand Prix appearances, Kevin Magnussen has scored twice, with a best finish of fifth in his maiden season. 2017 was the first time the Dane has finished outside the points here. Magnussen is yet to be beaten by a team-mate in Qualifying here since his return to F1 in 2016, though he’s also yet to progress to Q3 in Sochi since his McLaren year.
🇪🇸 Fernando Alonso
It was a short Sunday afternoon for Fernando Alonso at the Russian Grand Prix last season, as his car came to a halt on the formation lap. Aside from last year’s DNS, the Spaniard has finished every other race at the track, finishing in sixth place in both 2014 and 2016. Alonso’s best qualifying result here is eighth, which he achieved in 2014, his final year with Ferrari. Alonso has only beaten his team-mate in Qualifying here 50% of the time, having been beaten by Jenson Button in both 2015 and 2016. He hasn’t started inside the top ten since 2014, and has been eliminated in Q2 in both of the last two seasons. Alonso has never failed to gain a position on his starting slot in all of the three races he’s completed at the Sochi Autodrom, making up eight places in both 2015 and 2016.
🇧🇪 Stoffel Vandoorne
In his only F1 appearance at the track so far, Stoffel Vandoorne finished in fourteenth place at the Russian Grand Prix last season. He gained six positions having started from the back due to penalties. Vandoorne was eliminated in Q1 and failed to beat his team-mate.
🇸🇪 Marcus Ericsson
Marcus Ericsson is yet to score at the Sochi Autodrom, and has a best finishing position of fourteenth, in 2016. He’s suffered just one DNF here, in 2015, a race in which he’d qualified in his equal-best position at the track – seventeenth. In both of the seasons where he qualified seventeenth, he started from sixteenth on the grid due to other people’s penalties. Ericsson hasn’t beaten a team-mate in Qualifying at the Sochi circuit since he was driving for Caterham in 2014, and is yet to progress past Q1. The Swede has gained positions on his starting slot in each of the last two Russian Grands Prix.
🇲🇨 Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc has no past F1 experience at the Sochi Autodrom.
After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fifth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and GPDestinations. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.