Lewis Hamilton equals Michael Schumacher, Valtteri Bottas equals Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes remain unbeaten in Sochi. Here are all the best facts and statistics from the 2018 Russian Grand Prix weekend!
FINNISH FASTEST, BUT NOT FIRST TO FINISH
On Saturday, Valtteri Bottas took pole position for the 2018 Russian Grand Prix. It was the sixth pole in his career, his first at the Sochi Autodrom and his second pole position of the 2018 season. It was Mercedes’ 97th pole position in Formula One, as well as being their fourth pole at the Russian Grand Prix.
For the first time in Formula One history, Valtteri Bottas didn’t qualify in third position for the Russian Grand Prix. Despite qualifying in third every year, Sunday marked the Finn’s second front-row start at the Sochi Autodrom, having previously been moved up the grid due to a grid penalty for Sebastian Vettel in 2016.
Valtteri Bottas has never been out-qualified by a team-mate for the Russian Grand Prix and, perhaps surprisingly, Lewis Hamilton has only beaten a team-mate in qualifying at the Sochi Autodrom once. This season also marked the first time Daniel Ricciardo has been out-qualified by a team-mate at the Russian Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas joins Phil Hill, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Alan Jones, Carlos Reutemann and Ralf Schumacher on six F1 pole positions.
MERCEDES’ RUSSIAN DOMINANCE CONTINUES
Mercedes remain unbeaten at the Sochi Autodrom, having won every Russian Grand Prix in Formula One history. On Sunday, Lewis Hamilton took his 70th Formula One victory. It was his third Russian Grand Prix win and his first win in Sochi since 2015. It was his fifth win in the last six races. It was also his 130th podium finish. He’s still the only driver to have won the Russian Grand Prix more than once.
The similarities between Ferrari’s F1 dominance between 2000 and 2004 and Mercedes’ dominance between 2014 and the present day are often pointed out. At the Russian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton claimed his 48th win since the start of the 2014 season. That’s the same number of victories as Michael Schumacher took between 2000 and 2004. Schumacher achieved his 48 victories over a period of 85 Grands Prix, Hamilton did so over the course of 95 Grands Prix.
Mercedes secured their third 1-2 finish in Russia, while Ferrari finished in third place for the third time in as many seasons.
Valtteri Bottas took the 29th podium finish of his career, equalling Daniel Ricciardo’s tally of top three finishes. Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel extended his podium count to 109.
Lewis Hamilton’s hat-trick of victories marks the 56th time that a driver has won at least three Grands Prix in a row. It’s the seventh time in his career that Hamilton has achieved the feat. It’s also the first time this season where a driver has won three races in a row.
QUALIFYING IN SOCHI
Aside from polesitter Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson all recorded their best ever Sochi qualifying performances. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, Lance Stroll, Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne all recorded their worst qualifying attempts for the Russian Grand Prix. Carlos Sainz can be included in the latter list too, if you discount the 2015 event for which he didn’t set a qualifying time.
By the time of the Japanese Grand Prix, it will be over a year since Stoffel Vandoorne has out-qualified Fernando Alonso.
While Williams recorded their ninth double Q1 exit of the year, Lance Stroll was the slowest driver in qualifying for the fourth time this season.
Both Red Bull drivers saw their 100% Q3 records at the Russian Grand Prix come to an end this weekend. The team opted not to run competitively in Q2 due to their incoming grid penalties. Meanwhile, Marcus Ericsson made it out of Q1 at the Russian Grand Prix for the first time in his career. He didn’t just reach Q2 either, he made it all the way to Q3 in his first Q3 appearance since the 2015 Italian Grand Prix 1,120 days previously. It’s the fourth time in his career that Ericsson has qualified in tenth place. He’s never qualified higher than that.
With the seventeenth fastest time, Fernando Alonso equalled his worst qualifying of the season. While at Haas, Kevin Magnussen equalled his best qualifying performance of the season with fifth.
Charles Leclerc impressed with seventh on the grid – his best start position so far in his career. It marked Sauber’s best qualifying performance since Nico Hulkenberg qualified in fourth at the 2013 U.S. Grand Prix.
For the twelfth time this season, the driver who was fastest in Q2 failed to set the fastest lap in Q3. The fastest driver in the second part of qualifying has failed to take pole position at all of the last six races. The last time a driver was fastest in Q2 and Q3 was Lewis Hamilton at the British Grand Prix.
Red Bull still haven’t finished above fifth at the Russian Grand Prix. Max Verstappen equalled his and the team’s best result in Sochi with another fifth place finish. Verstappen’s gain of fourteen places in the Russian Grand Prix is the highest number of places gained by a driver from their starting position in a race so far this season. On his 21st birthday, Verstappen even led the most laps of the race despite starting from nineteenth on the grid.
Both Toro Rosso drivers were out on the first lap in Sochi. It’s the team’s first double DNF of the season, and their first since the 2017 Canadian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso were the only drivers to gain places from their starting positions in the 2018 Russian Grand Prix.
The 2018 Russian Grand Prix was the shortest race to be held so far at the Sochi Autodrom, clocking in at 43.562 seconds faster than last year’s race. This year’s race was a lap longer but, unlike in 2017, didn’t feature a Safety Car period. In fact, the 2018 event was the first Russian Grand Prix to not feature a Safety Car outing since 2014.
The previous Russian Grand Prix lap record was beaten this weekend by Valtteri Bottas. It was the eighth time in his career that he’s set the fastest lap of a Grand Prix. The Finn now has the same number of career fastest laps as James Hunt, Gilles Villeneuve, Ralf Schumacher and Jenson Button. Both Mercedes drivers, both Ferrari drivers and both Red Bull drivers all set lap times which were faster than Kimi Raikkonen’s 2017 lap record over the course of the Grand Prix.
Nicky Haldenby is a freelance writer from Scarborough, England. After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fourth 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 sister site GPDestinations, where he shares regular race previews and articles focussed around the latest in Formula 1 calendar and venue news. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky can also be heard regularly as a guest on various Formula 1 radio shows and podcasts.