Hamilton takes pole number 96, Ricciardo heads a qualifying session for the first time in two years and Ferrari record their worst Sochi qualifying result. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2020 Russian Grand Prix!
HAMILTON ON POLE
Lewis Hamilton secured the 96th pole position of his career at the 2020 Russian Grand Prix. He becomes only the second driver, after Nico Rosberg, to have taken multiple pole positions at the Russian Grand Prix. Hamilton’s pole margin was the second largest recorded at the Sochi Autodrom – the only time that the pole margin was bigger here was in 2016, when Rosberg took pole by 0.706 seconds.
For the fifth time in the seven Russian Grands Prix held since 2014, a Mercedes driver will start from pole position.
This is the fifth consecutive race at which Lewis Hamilton has taken pole position. It’s the 23rd time in F1 history that a driver has taken five poles in a row, and the third time that Hamilton has done so. He previously took five or more consecutive poles between the 2015 Monaco & Italian Grands Prix and between the 2016 United States & 2017 Chinese Grands Prix. Hamilton is only the second driver to have taken five or more consecutive poles on three occasions. Ayrton Senna took five or more successive poles on four occasions in his career.
Lewis Hamilton broke the Track Record with his pole time. His lap time – a 1:31.304 – was 0.083 seconds faster than the previous record, set by Valtteri Bottas in qualifying for the 2018 Russian Grand Prix.
For only the second time in 2020, Mercedes failed to lock out the front row. It’s the first time that the team has failed to do so since the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix. In that race, it was also Bottas who failed to qualify on the front row.
THE TOP TEN
With second place, Max Verstappen became the first Red Bull driver to qualify on the front row at the Russian Grand Prix, beating the team’s previous best qualifying result at the circuit of fourth in 2019, also recorded by Verstappen. Alex Albon qualified in tenth, making this the first Russian Grand Prix in which both Red Bull drivers have qualified in the top ten since 2017.
Sergio Perez qualified in fourth position for the fourth time in 2020. His qualifying result is the best ever qualifying position for the Racing Point team at the Russian Grand Prix. Their previous best result here was sixth, scored under their Force India guise, for Nico Hulkenberg in 2015 and for Esteban Ocon in 2018.
Qualifying in fifth place, Daniel Ricciardo recorded Renault’s best Russian Grand Prix qualifying result. Their previous best qualifying result at the circuit was seventh, recorded by Nico Hulkenberg last year.
Daniel Ricciardo set the fastest time in Q2, making this the first time that the Enstone team has been fastest in a qualifying session since Romain Grosjean was fastest for Lotus in Q1 at the 2015 Canadian Grand Prix. It’s the first time that Ricciardo has been fastest in a qualifying session since he was fastest in Q3 and took pole at the 2018 Mexican Grand Prix. He became the first driver to be fastest in Q2 then fail to qualify in the top four since Kimi Raikkonen, who was fastest in Q2 at the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix and also went on to qualify fifth.
McLaren recorded the same qualifying result for the 2020 Russian Grand Prix as they did for the 2019 Russian Grand Prix, with Carlos Sainz qualifying sixth and Lando Norris eighth.
Pierre Gasly qualified in ninth place, marking the first time that a driver for the Red Bull junior team has reached Q3 at the Russian Grand Prix since Max Verstappen did so in 2016. It’s the first time that Gasly has reached Q3 at the event.
Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Lando Norris and Esteban Ocon all maintained their 100% Q3 appearance rate at the Russian Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc is the only driver to have lost his 100% Q3 appearance rate in Russia as a result of qualifying for the 2020 event.
OUT IN Q2
Neither Ferrari driver reached Q3 at the 2020 Russian Grand Prix. Before 2020, Ferrari had never previously missed out on both cars reaching the top ten in qualifying at the Sochi Autodrom. Their previous worst result at the track was ninth for Kimi Raikkonen in 2014.
Ferrari have had at least one car fail to reach Q3 at all of the last six races. It’s the first time that this has happened since the final seven races of the 2009 season.
Sebastian Vettel recorded his first Q2 exit at the Russian Grand Prix since 2014. Fifteenth is also his worst qualifying result at the Sochi Autodrom, his previous worst being eleventh at Red Bull in 2014.
While team-mate Sergio Perez equalled his best qualifying result of the season, Lance Stroll equalled his worst result of the year to date. The Canadian qualified in thirteenth, the same position in which he qualified for the Styrian Grand Prix. That was also the only other time so far in 2020 that Stroll has failed to reach Q3.
George Russell qualified in fourteenth place, becoming the first Williams drivers to make it out of Q1 at the Russian Grand Prix since 2017.
OUT IN Q1
Alfa Romeo recorded their first double Q1 exit in Russia since they were named Sauber in 2017. While Kimi Raikkonen equalled his worst qualifying result of the year (20th), Antonio Giovinazzi equalled his best qualifying result of the season to date (17th).
Haas recorded their fifth double Q1 exit of the 2020 season. It’s the first time both of their cars have been eliminated in Q1 at the Russian Grand Prix.
Before qualifying for the 2020 Russian Grand Prix, only five drivers had recorded multiple Q1 exits at the event. Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen and Kimi Raikkonen have all now joined the list.
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.