Seven drivers have a 100% finish rate at the Russian Grand Prix, four drivers have never failed to score at the Sochi Autodrom and four have reached Q3 on every appearance. Here’s everything you need to know about each driver’s previous form in Sochi ahead of the 2019 Russian Grand Prix!
🇬🇧 Lewis Hamilton
There has been just one Russian Grand Prix so far where Lewis Hamilton has failed to finish on the podium. That was in 2017, when he finished fourth. Hamilton has won the Russian Grand Prix three times, in 2014, 2015 and 2018. He’s also qualified on the front row three times, in the same seasons. Mechanical issues during Q3 forced him out of qualifying in 2016, but that’s the only time he’s qualified outside of the front four grid slots at the Sochi Autodrom. 2014 is the only season where Hamilton has beaten his team-mate in qualifying at the circuit. Hamilton is yet to lose a position from his starting place at this track.
🇫🇮 Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas took the maiden win of his Formula 1 career at the Sochi Autodrom in 2017. His DNF in 2015, caused by colliding with Kimi Raikkonen, is the only time that he has finished outside of the top four at the track. Bottas has three podium appearances in Sochi. He arguably should have won last year’s race, but moved aside to allow his team-mate to win. Bottas took his first Russian Grand Prix pole position in 2018 – marking the first time that he hasn’t qualified in third place at the track. The Finn has never been beaten by a team-mate in qualifying for the event.
🇩🇪 Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel has had three podium finishes at the Russian Grand Prix, but is yet to win at the event. He has finished as runner up twice, in 2015 and 2017, and finished on the final step of the podium last season. 2016 is the only year that he’s failed to pick up points at the track, after he crashed out on the first lap following a nudge from Daniil Kvyat. 2014 is the only season where Vettel has failed to qualify in the top four at this circuit, it’s also the only occasion where he’s been out-qualified by a team-mate at the track. In his only appearance with Red Bull, he was eliminated in Q2. The German has qualified on the front row twice, scoring his only pole position at the Sochi Autodrom in 2017. It’s the only time he’s started on the front row, as he picked up a five place penalty which dropped him to seventh on the grid at the 2016 event. Of the races he’s finished at the track, 2017 is the only one where he’s finished in a position worse than where he started.
🇲🇨 Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc finished seventh on his first appearance at the Russian Grand Prix last season. He finished where he started, having reached Q3 and out-qualified his team-mate.
🇳🇱 Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen has finished fifth in each of the last two Russian Grands Prix. He’s yet to finish higher than that at the Sochi Autodrom, having finished tenth in 2015 and retired from the 2016 event. Last season marked the first time the Dutchman failed to qualify in the top ten at the track. His best grid slot here is seventh, which he recorded in 2017. Verstappen gained fourteen places in last year’s race following his start from the back row of the grid – he even led 24 laps of the race!
🇹🇭 Alexander Albon
Alexander Albon had a successful time in Sochi on his first appearance at the track last year in Formula 2. He won the Feature Race and finished in the final podium spot in the Sprint Race. It was his last win and his last podium appearance in the series.
🇦🇺 Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo is yet to finish in the top five at the Russian Grand Prix. He recorded his best result so fat at the circuit in 2018, with a sixth place finish. 2014, when he finished seventh, is the only other time that the Australian has picked up points at the Sochi Autodrom. He has retired from the event twice, in 2015 and 2017. Last year marked the first time Ricciardo has failed to reach Q3 at the Russian Grand Prix. In the previous season, he’d recorded his best qualifying result at the track with fifth on the grid. He also started from fifth in 2016, moving up as a result of other drivers’ penalties. 2018 was the first time Ricciardo has been out-qualified by a team-mate at the Russian Grand Prix. Last year was also the only time so far that he’s gained positions from where he started at this track. He made up twelve places from eighteenth on the grid to finish sixth.
🇩🇪 Nico Hulkenberg
2017 is the only year where Nico Hulkenberg has scored points at the Russian Grand Prix. He finished eighth that season. The German has had two DNFs at the Sochi Autodrom, in 2015 and 2016. 2015 marked his best qualifying result at the circuit, with sixth on the grid. 2017 is the only other occasion that he’s started within the top ten. From his five appearances at the track, Hulkenberg has out-qualified his team-mate three times. 2014 marks the only time so far that the German has gained positions from where he started at the Russian Grand Prix. He’s finished both of the last two events at the Sochi Autodrom in the same position as where he started from.
🇫🇷 Romain Grosjean
Romain Grosjean’s best finish at the Russian Grand Prix is eighth place. It’s a result he scored in 2016, and is the only time so far that he’s scored at the track. Grosjean has has two DNFs at the track, He crashed out in 2015 and was out after a first lap collision in 2017. He finished twelfth in last year’s race. Last year marked only the second time that Grosjean has qualified in the top ten at the Sochi Autodrom. His best qualifying result is eighth, which he took in 2015. Until Kevin Magnussen joined Haas, Grosjean had never failed to beat his team-mate in qualifying at the circuit, but he’s yet to out-qualify the Dane. Grosjean recorded his only Q1 exit at the track in 2017.
🇩🇰 Kevin Magnussen
From his four appearances at the Russian Grand Prix, 2017 is the only occasion where Kevin Magnussen hasn’t scored points at the track. He finished thirteenth in that year, meaning the Dane holds a 100% finishing rate at the Sochi Autodrom. His best result here is fifth, which he scored with McLaren in 2014. Magnussen recorded his best qualifying result at the Russian Grand Prix last year, with fifth. 2014 is the only other occasion that Magnussen has reached Q3 at the circuit. It’s also the only season where he has been beaten by his team-mate in qualifying in Sochi. Last season marked the first time Magnussen has lost positions from his starting place at the Russian Grand Prix.
🇪🇸 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. The Spaniard has scored only one point at the circuit, with a tenth place finish in 2017. He’s yet to reach Q3 at the track, but qualified in eleventh in both 2016 and 2017. He has beaten his team-mate in qualifying for the event in each of the last two seasons. 2017 is the only year that Sainz has finished the Russian Grand Prix in a better position than where he qualified.
🇬🇧 Lando Norris
It was a weekend to forget for Lando Norris in F2 at Sochi last year. He retired from both the Feature and Sprint races, all but ending his hopes of claiming the title. Aside from his F2 duties, he also drove for McLaren in Free Practice 1.
🇲🇽 Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez has a 100% finish rate and a 100% points-scoring rate at the Russian Grand Prix. He also has a podium appearance here, having finished third in the 2015 race. 2014 is the only time that Perez has failed to reach Q3 at the Sochi Autodrom. His best qualifying position is seventh, scored in both 2015 and 2016, though he actually started from sixth in the latter event. Perez has been out-qualified more often that not at this track, with 2016 and 2017 being the only times he has got the better of his team-mate. In 2018, for only the second time, Perez finished the Russian Grand Prix in a lower position than where he started from.
🇨🇦 Lance Stroll
Lance Stroll has a 100% finish rate at the Russian Grand Prix, but is yet to score a point at the Sochi Autodrom. His best finish here is eleventh, in 2017. He finished fifteenth in last year’s race. Stroll reached Q2 in 2017, but qualified in last position in 2018. He’s yet to out-qualify a team-mate at the track. The Canadian is also yet to finish in a better position than where he started at the Sochi Autodrom.
🇫🇮 Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen has a 100% finish record and a 100% points scoring record at the Russian Grand Prix. He has finished on the podium here twice, with third place finishes in 2016 and 2017. His worst result at the circuit so far is ninth place, in 2014. He may well have taken a podium finish in 2015, if not for a late race collision with Valtteri Bottas’ Williams. 2017 is the only season where Raikkonen has qualified on the front row at the track, but he has qualified in the top five in all of the last four Sochi races. He’s never failed to reach Q3 at this event. The Finn is yet to out-qualify a team-mate at the Russian Grand Prix. He’s also yet to finish the race in a better position than where he started; though he’s never lost more than three positions.
🇮🇹 Antonio Giovinazzi
Antonio Giovinazzi has never raced at the Sochi Autodrom before, but did appear here in Free Practice 1 last season with the Sauber team.
🇷🇺 Daniil Kvyat
Daniil Kvyat partakes in his first Russian Grand Prix since 2017 this weekend. His previous best finish at the track is fifth, scored in 2015 with Red Bull. His worst result came in the following season, after launching into Sebastian Vettel twice on the opening lap. It was the Russian driver’s final appearance with Red Bull, as he was demoted to Toro Rosso for the following race. Kvyat holds a 100% finish rate at the Sochi Autodrom. His best qualifying position at the circuit is fifth, scored with Toro Rosso in his maiden season. 2016 is the only other time he’s qualified in the top ten here, though he’s never been eliminated in Q1. 2014 is the only time he’s out-qualified a team-mate at the circuit, while 2015 is the only time Kvyat has finished the Russian Grand Prix in a better position than where he started from.
🇫🇷 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. On his first appearance at the Russian Grand Prix last year, he failed to finish. He retired on the first lap, along with his team-mate, as both Toro Rossos suffered brake failures. Gasly had qualified in thirteenth, out-qualifying his team-mate, but started seventeenth following grid penalties.
🇵🇱 Robert Kubica
2019 will mark Robert Kubica’s first appearance at the Russian Grand Prix, with the event having joined the calendar during his absence from Formula 1.
🇬🇧 George Russell
George Russell raced at the Sochi Autodrom for the first time in 2018 in F2. He finished fourth in the Feature Race and took victory in the Sprint Race.
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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.