Mercedes are unbeaten in Sochi, Ferrari have finished on the podium in all of the last four seasons and Red Bull are yet to finish above fifth at the Russian Grand Prix. Here’s how each team’s history compares at the Sochi Autodrom!
Mercedes remain undefeated at the Russian Grand Prix. The Benz team even won the pre-F1 1913 and 1914 Russian Grands Prix, meaning the team have dominated the event for 106 years. In addition to winning every race so far at the Sochi Autodrom, they’ve also taken 1-2 finishes in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Nico Rosberg’s retirement from the event in 2015 and Lewis Hamilton’s fourth place in 2017 are the only two occasions where a Mercedes driver hasn’t finished on the podium at the track.
A Mercedes car has never failed to reach the final part of qualifying at the Sochi circuit. Lewis Hamilton’s tenth place in qualifying here in 2016, the result of a hybrid system failure, is the worst qualifying slot for a Mercedes driver so far at the track. They’ve taken pole in four of the five races here, and locked-out the front row in 2014, 2015 and 2018. The 2017 race, in which Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton lined up third and fourth respectively, is the only time a Mercedes hasn’t appeared on the front row of the grid at the Russian Grand Prix.
Ferrari are yet to win the Russian Grand Prix, but have taken podium finishes in all of the last four Sochi races. 2017 is the only year in which both Ferraris have finished on the podium here, with Sebastian Vettel finishing a very close runner-up to Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen coming home in third. Vettel’s DNF in 2016, a result of being hit twice in two corners by Daniil Kvyat, is the only retirement for a Ferrari so far at this track, as well as the only time one of the team’s cars has failed to score.
Sebastian Vettel’s pole for Ferrari in 2017 is their only pole position so far in Russia. With Kimi Raikkonen qualifying second, the team locked-out the front row. A Ferrari driver has never failed to reach the final part of qualifying at this circuit, with Raikkonen’s ninth place in 2014 being their worst qualifying result so far in Sochi.
A Red Bull driver is yet to finish above fifth place in the Russian Grand Prix. Daniil Kvyat and Max Verstappen are the two drivers to have finished in fifth at the event for the team, the latter doing so in each of the last two seasons. Fifth and sixth last year, both finishes which came from the back of the grid, is the best overall finish for Red Bull so far at the circuit, and one of only two times where both their cars have finished in the top ten (the other being in 2014). 2016 is the only season where the team have walked away from the circuit without any points, in a race which saw Kvyat ruin the team’s chances of scoring.
With grid penalties awaiting them, neither Red Bull driver put in the effort to reach the final part of qualifying here last year. It’s the only time neither of the team’s drivers have appeared in Q3 at the circuit. Daniel Ricciardo’s fifth place qualification in 2017 is the team’s best Saturday result so far at the track.
In 2018, Renault failed to pick up any points at the Sochi circuit for the first time since their return to Formula 1. Their best finish so far here came in their returning season, when Nico Hulkenberg finished in seventh place. Jolyon Palmer’s retirement here on the first lap in 2017 is the only time a Renault car has failed to finish on their three appearances so far at the Russian Grand Prix.
Renault have reached the final part of qualifying only once in Sochi, with Nico Hulkenberg qualifying in eighth place in 2017. The team recorded a double Q1 exit in 2016, while both their cars were eliminated in Q2 last season.
The Haas team have scored twice so far at the Russian Grand Prix, both times with eighth place finishes for Romain Grosjean in 2016 and Kevin Magnussen in 2018. 2017 is the only year where they’ve failed to score so far in Sochi, as well as the year in which Grosjean recorded the team’s first, and only, DNF at the track.
2018 marked the first time Haas had reached the final part of qualifying in Russia, with both cars qualifying in the top ten. Kevin Magnussen recorded the team’s equal-best qualifying with fifth while Romain Grosjean qualified in ninth place.
McLaren have failed to score at either of the last two Russian Grands Prix. Their best result here came in the first race at the track, where Jenson Button finished fourth and Kevin Magnussen followed him over the line in fifth. The team haven’t finished in the top five since then, with Fernando Alonso recording a best of sixth in 2016. While McLaren have never suffered a DNF here, they have seen one of their cars fail to start the race. Alonso came to a halt at the end of the formation lap in 2017, meaning only one McLaren started the race.
McLaren haven’t reached the final part of qualifying here since they did so with both cars in 2014. Last year, the team suffered their first double Q1 exit in Sochi. Jenson Button’s fourth on the grid in 2014 remains the team’s best Saturday result so far at the track.
Racing Point (Force India)
Sergio Perez scored a podium finish for Force India in the 2015 Russian Grand Prix, marking the team’s best result here. Force India have never failed to score a point on all of their visits to the track, and finished in the top ten with both cars in each of the last two seasons. In fact, there have been only three Force India entries which have failed to pick up points here, all of them being Nico Hulkenberg – he finished twelfth in 2014, and retired from the 2015 and 2016 Sochi races.
Esteban Ocon equalled Force India’s best qualifying position at the Sochi Autodrom last season by setting the sixth fastest time. The team have reached the final part of qualifying three times, in 2015 and in each of the last two seasons. 2014 is the only time that neither Force India car has reached Q3 here, and they’ve never qualified lower than thirteenth.
Alfa Romeo (Sauber)
Last season, Charles Leclerc finished seventh in the Russian Grand Prix, marking only the second occasion where the Sauber team have scored points at the Sochi track. Their other points finish came at the hands of Felipe Nasr, who finished sixth in 2015. Other than those two occasions, the team have never finished above thirteenth at the track. Marcus Ericsson’s first lap collision in 2015 is the only time a Sauber driver has failed to finish a race here.
2018 marked Sauber’s first appearance in the final part of qualifying, as they reached the top ten shootout with both cars. Before that, the team hadn’t made it out of Q1 since 2015. Last season, Leclerc qualified in seventh, while Ericsson set the tenth fastest time.
In 2018, both Toro Rosso drivers retired on the first lap of the Russian Grand Prix with similar brake issues. Toro Rosso have the lowest finish rate of any current team at the track, with four DNFs in total. The team have picked up only two points here, with Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz finishing in tenth in 2015 and 2017 respectively.
The inaugural race at the Sochi Autodrom is the only time so far that both Toro Rosso drivers have reached the final part of qualifying, with Daniil Kvyat picking up their best qualifying positon at the track with fifth on the grid. Since then, the team have reached Q3 only twice more, in 2015 and 2016. Toro Rosso have suffered only two Q1 exits here – with Carlos Sainz, who failed to set a time following a monster shunt in Free Practice Three here in 2015, and with Brendon Hartley, who qualified sixteenth last year.
Valtteri Bottas took Williams’ only podium finish so far at the Russian Grand Prix as he finished third in the inaugural event. While more top five finishes followed in the next two seasons for the team, they have only scored two points here in the last two seasons, with Felipe Massa finishing ninth in 2017. 2016 is the only season where Williams have finished the Russian Grand Prix with both cars scoring points, while 2018 is the first time neither of the cars recorded a top ten finish here.
In all of the first three years of F1 visiting the Sochi Autodrom, Valtteri Bottas qualified in third place for Williams here, and he even started from the front row in 2016. Last season marked the first time neither Williams driver reached the final part of qualifying here, with both cars eliminated in Q1.
After graduating 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. 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 Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.