Hamilton has won four of the six races held at Sochi Autodrom, Perez has scored in every race at the circuit and five drivers have a 100% Q3 appearance rate. Here’s everything you need to know about each driver’s history at the Russian Grand Prix!
🇬🇧 Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton has won the Russian Grand Prix four times so far in his career, including in each of the last two seasons. He also won at the event in 2014 and 2015. He finished as runner-up in 2016, while fourth place in 2017 marks his worst finishing position at the track. Hamilton has never failed to reach Q3 at the Sochi Autodrom, though he couldn’t take part in the session in 2016 due to mechanical issues. Hamilton has taken pole only once at the track, in 2014. He has started from the front row four times in total though. Last season marked the first time that Hamilton has out-qualified his team-mate in Sochi since 2014. Hamilton has never lost a position from where he has started at the Russian Grand Prix.
🇫🇮 Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas took the first win of his Formula 1 career at the 2017 Russian Grand Prix. He has finished as runner-up in each season since then. He also finished on the podium in 2014 with a third place finish. Aside from his DNF in 2015, a result of colliding with fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen, Bottas’ worst finishing position at the track is fourth place. Bottas qualified in third place on all of his first four appearances at Sochi Autodrom. Since then, he has taken pole in 2018 and qualified fifth last season. Last year was the first time he has been out-qualified by a team-mate at the circuit. Bottas has led 55 laps of the Russian Grand Prix in total – the second most of any current driver.
🇩🇪 Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel is yet to win the Russian Grand Prix, but has finished on the podium three times. He finished as runner-up in 2015 and 2017, and finished third in 2018. He has retired from the race twice. He crashed out in 2016 after being hit by Daniil Kvyat, while he retired with mechanical issues in 2019. Vettel has started from within the top three grid slots at all of the last three Russian Grands Prix, including starting from pole position in 2017. He qualified on the front row in 2016, but picked up a five-place grid penalty for a change of gearbox. 2014 is the only occasion that the German has not reached Q3 at this circuit, while 2019 was the first time since then that he has been out-qualified by his team-mate.
🇲🇨 Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc has scored on both of his appearances at the Russian Grand Prix. He finished seventh in 2018 with Sauber before finishing on the podium with Ferrari last year. Leclerc has also qualified in the top ten on both appearances, with seventh in 2018 and pole position in 2019. He has out-qualified his team-mate on both occasions. He is yet to gain a position from where he has started at the Sochi Autodrom.
🇳🇱 Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen recorded his best Russian Grand Prix result so far last season with a fourth place finish. He had finished in fifth place in both seasons before that. 2016 is the only time that Verstappen has failed to score at the event; he retired with a power unit problem. 2018 is the only occasion that Verstappen has not qualified in the top ten at the Russian Grand Prix. He is yet to start above seventh at Sochi Autodrom, with a best grid slot of seventh in 2017. Verstappen has finished in a better position than where he started in all of the last three years, gaining a best of fourteen places in the 2018 event, going from nineteenth to fifth.
🇹🇭 Alex Albon
Alex Albon crashed out of qualifying for the 2019 Russian Grand Prix and was forced to start from the pit lane as a result. That didn’t stop him from finishing fifth however in, what was at the time, a new career best result. Albon had a successful time in Sochi on his first appearance at the track in 2018 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.
🇪🇸 Carlos Sainz
Carlos Sainz recorded his best Russian Grand Prix result yet in 2019 with sixth place. It was only the second time he has scored at the track, having previously finished tenth in 2017. He has only failed to finish once at the Sochi Autodrom. That was in 2015, on the same weekend that he suffered the biggest accident of his Formula 1 career, with his Toro Rosso car crashing into the tyre barriers during Free Practice 3. Last season marked the first time that Sainz has reached the final part of qualifying in Russia. Having previously qualified eleventh in 2016 and 2017, he recorded the sixth fastest time – and lined up fifth on the grid – in 2019. Sainz has out-qualified his team-mate at the circuit in all of the last three seasons.
🇬🇧 Lando Norris
Lando Norris finished eighth on his Russian Grand Prix debut in 2019. He was out-qualified by Carlos Sainz, but still reached Q3 and set the seventh fastest time. He eventually lined up seventh on the grid, and lost one position over the course of the race. Norris had a weekend to forget in F2 at Sochi in 2018. 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.
🇦🇺 Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo has scored only once in the last five years at the Russian Grand Prix. That was with a sixth place finish in 2018, bettering his seventh place in the inaugural race. He has retired on three occasions: in 2015, 2017 and 2019. Despite this, 2018 is the only season that the Australian has failed to qualify in the top ten. He has a best qualifying result here of fifth place in 2017, and started from fifth on the grid in both 2016 and 2017. After he started from the back due to an engine penalty in 2018, he gained twelve places and ultimately finished sixth. It’s the only time he’s finished in a better position than where he started from at the Sochi Autodrom. Until 2018, Ricciardo had not been out-qualified by a team-mate at the circuit, but he has now been out-qualified in each of the last two seasons.
🇫🇷 Esteban Ocon
Esteban Ocon has scored points on both of his Russian Grand Prix appearances so far. He finished seventh in 2017 and ninth in 2018. Ocon has also reached Q3 on both occasions, with a best qualifying result at the track of sixth in 2018.
🇲🇽 Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez has scored on every appearance at the Russian Grand Prix. His best result here is third place in 2015. 2014 and 2019 are the only occasions that Perez has failed to reach the final part of qualifying at the Sochi Autodrom, being eliminated in Q2 on both occasions. His best qualifying result here is seventh, which he recorded in 2015 and 2016, though he started from sixth in the latter year due to grid penalties for other drivers. 2016 and 2018 are the only seasons where Perez has failed to finish in a better position than where he started from at the Russian Grand Prix.
🇨🇦 Lance Stroll
Lance Stroll is yet to score a point at the Russian Grand Prix but holds a 100% finishing rate. He has come close to scoring points twice, in 2017 and 2019, both times finishing in eleventh place. Stroll has reached Q3 at the track twice, again in 2017 and 2019, with a best result of twelfth on his first appearance. He has never out-qualified his team-mate here. Last season marked the first time that Stroll has finished the Russian Grand Prix in a better position than where he started.
🇷🇺 Daniil Kvyat
Daniil Kvyat has scored points only once at his home race. That was in 2015, when he finished in fifth place. Though the Russian driver has never failed to finish at the track, he was involved in a first lap incident in 2016, which saw Sebastian Vettel eliminated from the race. That turned out to be his last appearance with the Red Bull team. Kvyat has qualified in the top ten twice at his home Grand Prix, in 2014 with fifth on the grid, and in 2016 with eighth on the grid. He was unable to take part in qualifying last year after requiring an engine change. 2014 is the only time that Kvyat has out-qualified a team-mate at his home race.
🇫🇷 Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly has failed to score on both of his Russian Grand Prix appearances. He failed to finish in 2018 and came home fourteenth in 2019. He has been eliminated in Q2 in both Sochi outings so far, and has qualified in a best place of eleventh last season. Gasly has picked up grid penalties on both Russian Grand Prix appearances, meaning that he has never started from higher than sixteenth at the track.
🇫🇮 Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen failed to score at the Russian Grand Prix last season for the first time in his six appearances. He has previously finished on the podium twice at the track, with third place finishes for Ferrari in 2016 and 2017. 2019 was also the first time he has failed to reach Q3 at the circuit, having been eliminated in Q1. His best qualifying result in Sochi is second place, which he recorded in 2017. The Finn has never out-qualified a team-mate at the circuit. Gaining two places in last year’s race, it was the first time that Raikkonen has finished in a better position than where he started at this track.
🇮🇹 Antonio Giovinazzi
Antonio Giovinazzi finished fifteenth on his first appearance at the Russian Grand Prix last year. He out-qualified his team-mate for the race, and was eliminated in Q2. He qualified thirteenth but lined up twelfth on the grid. Giovinazzi previously drove at Sochi Autodrom with Sauber in Free Practice 1 for the 2018 event.
🇫🇷 Romain Grosjean
Romain Grosjean recorded his third Sochi DNF in six appearances at last year’s Russian Grand Prix. He crashed out in 2015, 2017 and 2019 – with both of the latter two incidents happening on the first lap of the race. Grosjean has scored points only once at the track, with an eighth place finish in the 2017 race. Meanwhile, the Haas driver has reached the final part of qualifying in each of the last two Sochi events, qualifying ninth on both occasions. His best qualifying result here is eighth, which he recorded in 2015. He also started eighth on last year’s grid. 2017 and 2018 are the only occasions that Grosjean has failed to out-qualify his team-mate at the Russian Grand Prix, while 2016 is the only time that he has finished the race higher than where he started it.
🇩🇰 Kevin Magnussen
Kevin Magnussen has scored on all but one appearance at the Russian Grand Prix. That was in 2017 when he finished thirteenth. His best result here is fifth, which he scored with McLaren in 2014. Magnussen has reached Q3 on two occasions in Sochi, in 2014 and 2018. He scored his best qualifying result in the latter year, with fifth on the grid. Last year was the first time Magnussen has been out-qualified by his team-mate since 2014. 2018 is the only time that Magnussen has lost positions from where he started at the Russian Grand Prix.
🇬🇧 George Russell
George Russell qualified in seventeenth for last year’s Russian Grand Prix, but failed to finish the race. Russell raced at the Sochi Autodrom for the first time in F2 in 2018. He finished fourth in the Feature Race and took victory in the Sprint Race.
🇨🇦 Nicholas Latifi
Nicholas Latifi has competed at the Sochi Autodrom in 2015, 2018 and 2019. He failed to score here in GP2 in 2015, but finished second in the F2 Feature Race at the circuit in both 2018 and 2019. He also finished fourth in 2019’s Sprint Race.
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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. Now in its sixth 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.