Hamilton has won four of the seven Sochi races, while Mazepin becomes the latest Russian driver to start his home race. 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 twice in the last three seasons. He has won the race in 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019, and recorded additional podium finishes in 2016 and 2020. Hamilton has never finished outside of the top four at the event, with his worst result being fourth place in 2017. He was on course to win last year, but picked up time penalties for carrying out practice starts in the wrong position. 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. 2020 marked the first time since 2014 that Hamilton took pole at Sochi Autodrom – though 2016 and 2017 are the only years in which he has not qualified on the front row at the track. The 2020 Russian Grand Prix is the only time that Hamilton has finished a race at the circuit in a worse position than where he started.
🇫🇮 VALTTERI BOTTAS
Valtteri Bottas took the first win of his Formula 1 career at the 2017 Russian Grand Prix. After finishing as runner-up in both 2018 and 2019, he won the race for a second time in 2020. 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 and did so for a fifth time last year. Bottas took pole in 2018 and recorded his worst qualifying result at the track with fifth in 2019. The last two seasons are the only ones in which Bottas has been out-qualified by his team-mate here.
🇳🇱 MAX VERSTAPPEN
Max Verstappen recorded his best Russian Grand Prix result so far last season with second place. He has finished in the top five at the track in all of the last four years, but last year was his first podium finish at the circuit. 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 qualified on the front row here for the first time in 2020. 2017 is the only season in which Verstappen has been out-qualified by his team-mate in Sochi. Of the races which he has finished, 2015 is the only time Verstappen has finished in a worse position than where he started. He gained a best of fourteen places in the 2018 event, going from nineteenth to fifth.
🇲🇽 SERGIO PEREZ
Sergio Perez has scored on every appearance at the Russian Grand Prix. His best result here is third place in 2015. He finished fourth in last year’s race. 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 fourth, which he recorded in 2020. Perez has not been out-qualified by a team-mate at Sochi Autodrom since 2015. 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.
🇦🇺 DANIEL RICCIARDO
Daniel Ricciardo has scored only three times in seven appearances at the Russian Grand Prix. He recorded his best result to date here with Renault last year, finishing in fifth place. In addition, he finished seventh in 2014 and sixth in 2018. Ricciardo has recorded three retirements at Sochi Autodrom: 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, which is where he qualified in both 2017 and 2020. 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.
🇬🇧 LANDO NORRIS
Lando Norris finished eighth on his Russian Grand Prix debut in 2019, but finished only fifteenth last year. Norris has qualified in eighth on both appearances so far at Sochi Autodrom – though he lined up seventh on the grid in 2019 – and is yet to out-qualify a team-mate at the venue. 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.
🇩🇪 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. Last season marked the first time he has finished the race in a position outside of the points. Vettel failed to reach Q3 here in 2020 for the first time since 2014. He took pole position at the track in 2017, which is his only front row start in Sochi. He qualified on the front row in 2016, but picked up a five-place grid penalty for a change of gearbox. 2014, 2019 and 2020 are the only seasons in which Vettel has been out-qualified by his team-mate at the circuit.
🇨🇦 LANCE STROLL
Lance Stroll is yet to score a point at the Russian Grand Prix and lost his 100% finish rate at Sochi Autodrom last year. He has come close to scoring points twice, in 2017 and 2019, both times finishing in eleventh place. Stroll is yet to reach Q3 at the circuit, and has a best qualifying position of twelfth on his first appearance. He has never out-qualified his team-mate here. 2019 is the only season in which Stroll has finished the Russian Grand Prix in a better position than where he started.
🇪🇸 FERNANDO ALONSO
Fernando Alonso has five previous appearances at the Russian Grand Prix and has scored twice. In both 2014 and 2016, he finished the race in sixth place. In 2017, he failed to make the start as his McLaren car ground to a halt at the pit entry on the formation lap. 2014 is the only season in which Alonso has reached Q3 at Sochi Autodrom, qualifying in eighth place. 2015 and 2018 are the only seasons in which he has not progressed past Q1 here, while 2015 and 2016 are the only seasons in which Alonso has been out-qualified by a team-mate at the track. In all four Russian Grands Prix which he has completed, the Spaniard has finished in a better position than where he started.
🇫🇷 ESTEBAN OCON
Esteban Ocon has scored points on both of his Russian Grand Prix appearances so far. He finished seventh in both 2017 and 2020, and ninth in 2018. Ocon has also reached Q3 on all three appearances, with a best qualifying result at the track of sixth in 2018. 2018 is the only season so far that Ocon has out-qualified his team-mate at the venue.
🇲🇨 CHARLES LECLERC
Charles Leclerc has scored on all three of his appearances at the Russian Grand Prix. He finished seventh in 2018 with Sauber before finishing on the podium with Ferrari in 2019. He finished sixth last year. 2020 was the first time that Leclerc failed to reach Q3 in Sochi. He exited in Q2, qualifying in eleventh place, having taken pole position one year previously. Leclerc is yet to be out-qualified by a team-mate at the Russian Grand Prix.
🇪🇸 CARLOS SAINZ
Carlos Sainz recorded his best Russian Grand Prix result 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 failed to finish here twice, in 2015 and 2020. He was eliminated on the opening lap in 2020, crashing into the wall when attempting to rejoin the circuit. In 2015, he suffered the biggest accident of his Formula 1 career, with his Toro Rosso car crashing into the tyre barriers during Free Practice 3. Until 2019, Sainz had not reached Q3 at the Russian Grand Prix. He has qualified in sixth place in each of the last two seasons, with a best grid slot of fifth in 2019. Aside from 2015, when he did not take part in qualifying, 2016 is the only occasion that Sainz has been out-qualified by a team-mate at the circuit.
🇫🇷 PIERRE GASLY
Pierre Gasly scored at the Russian Grand Prix for the first time in 2020, finishing in ninth place. He retired on his first appearance in 2018 and finished only fourteenth in 2019. 2020 was also the first time that Gasly reached Q3 at Sochi Autodrom, qualifying in ninth place. He was eliminated in Q2 in the previous two seasons. The Frenchman is yet to be out-qualified by a team-mate at the track. Prior to 2020, Gasly picked up grid penalties on both Russian Grand Prix appearances, meaning that he had never started from higher than sixteenth at the track.
🇯🇵 YUKI TSUNODA
Yuki Tsunoda has previously raced at Sochi Autodrom in F3 and F2. He failed to score here in either F3 race in 2019 but scored in both F2 races in 2020 with a best finish of second in the Feature Race.
🇫🇮 KIMI RAIKKONEN
Kimi Raikkonen holds a 100% finish record at the Russian Grand Prix, but has not scored at the event since 2018. He scored here on every appearance with Ferrari, including with two third place finishes in 2016 and 2017. 2019 was the first time he has failed to reach Q3 at the circuit, having been eliminated in Q1. He was also eliminated in Q1 last year, qualifying last. 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. Raikkonen has finished in a better position than where he started in the last two races at this track.
🇮🇹 ANTONIO GIOVINAZZI
Antonio Giovinazzi is yet to score at the Russian Grand Prix, recording a best finish of eleventh last year. He finished fifteenth on his first appearance at the Russian Grand Prix in 2019. He has out-qualified team-mate Kimi Raikkonen on both appearances so far, qualifying thirteenth in 2019 and seventeenth in 2020. Giovinazzi previously drove at Sochi Autodrom with Sauber in Free Practice 1 for the 2018 event.
🇩🇪 MICK SCHUMACHER
Mick Schumacher has previously raced at Sochi Autodrom in Formula 2. He retired from both races at the track in 2019, before recording two podium results in 2020: a win in the Feature Race and third place in the Sprint Race.
🇷🇺 NIKITA MAZEPIN
Nikita Mazepin becomes the third Russian driver to take part in his home race at the 2021 Russian Grand Prix, after Daniil Kvyat and Sergey Sirotkin. Mazepin has previously raced at Sochi Autodrom in GP3 and Formula 2. He has finished on the podium twice, with second place finishes in the first GP3 race here in 2018 and in the 2020 F2 Sprint Race.
🇬🇧 GEORGE RUSSELL
George Russell is yet to finish above eighteenth position at the Russian Grand Prix. That’s the position in which he finished last year, twelve months on from retiring from the 2019 race. Russell reached Q2 at the circuit last year, qualifying in fourteenth place and lining up thirteenth on the grid. 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
After qualifying on the back row and starting last at the 2020 Russian Grand Prix, Nicholas Latifi out-raced his team-mate to finish sixteenth. Latifi had previously 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.
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.