Alonso has his best qualifying in seven years, Raikkonen records his best result in almost two years and Schumacher suffers his first retirement. Here’s a statistic from each driver’s 2021 Russian Grand Prix weekend!
At the 2021 Russian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton became the first driver to reach a century of Formula 1 victories. He won the Russian Grand Prix for a fifth time, extending his record for most Sochi Autodrom victories. As well as recording his 100th win, Hamilton became the first driver to have scored 4,000 points in his Formula 1 career. Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix with a win margin of 53.271 seconds. That’s the largest win margin since his victory at the 2008 British Grand Prix, over thirteen years ago. He remains the only driver to have completed every racing lap held at Sochi Autodrom since the circuit joined the calendar in 2014 – as well as one of only two drivers to score at every running of the event so far.
Finishing in fifth place, Valtteri Bottas failed to score a top four result at the Russian Grand Prix since his retirement from the 2015 event. Bottas’ fifth place is the first time a Mercedes driver has failed to finish on the podium at the Russian Grand Prix since Lewis Hamilton’s fourth place in 2017.
With second place, Max Verstappen equalled Red Bull’s best Russian Grand Prix result. Verstappen also finished second at Sochi in 2020. Verstappen is only the sixth driver to finish on the podium having started 20th on the grid. Picking up an engine penalty for this race, Verstappen failed to set a lap time in Q1. He therefore recorded his first Q1 exit since the 2019 Italian Grand Prix. It was the first time he has not qualified in the top three since the 2020 Italian Grand Prix. This is the sixth time in his career that Verstappen has qualified on the back row of the grid.
With ninth place, Sergio Perez maintained his record of scoring points at every Russian Grand Prix to date. Lewis Hamilton is the only other driver to have achieved this feat.
With fourth place, Daniel Ricciardo recorded his best ever Russian Grand Prix result. His previous best result here was fifth place, with Renault in 2020.
Lando Norris recorded the first pole position of his Formula 1 career at the Russian Grand Prix. Norris becomes the 102nd different driver to take pole position in World Championship history and the eighteenth British driver to do so. He became the fifth youngest polesitter in F1 history, recording McLaren’s first pole since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. Norris led the majority of the Russian Grand Prix and came close to winning the race until the weather conditions changed. He finished the race in seventh, which – although a disappointing result – is still his best-ever Russian Grand Prix finishing position. This was the ninth World Championship Grand Prix in which the polesitter has finished in seventh place. It last happened at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel qualified for the Russian Grand Prix in eleventh place, failing to reach Q3 for a third successive race. He went on to finish twelfth, outside of the points for a third race in a row. It was also the third Russian Grand Prix in a row in which Vettel has not scored.
Qualifying in eighth place, Lance Stroll reached Q3 at the Russian Grand Prix for the first time. This was Stroll’s sixth Q3 appearance of the 2021 season – but the first time he has qualified above tenth place. The Canadian went on to finish eleventh, failing to score for a fifth consecutive Russian Grand Prix appearance.
Fernando Alonso reached Q3 at the Russian Grand Prix for the first time since the inaugural race at Sochi Autodrom in 2014. With sixth place, Alonso recorded his best qualifying result since qualifying sixth with Ferrari at the 2014 United States Grand Prix. Alonso finished the race in sixth place, scoring for the ninth time in the last ten races. He matched his best ever Russian Grand Prix result, having also finished sixth at Sochi Autodrom in both 2014 and 2016.
Esteban Ocon qualified in tenth place at the Russian Grand Prix, maintaining his 100% Q3 appearance record at the event. But Ocon’s 100% points scoring record in Russia came to an end on Sunday. Ocon finished only fourteenth in the Russian Grand Prix – the first time he has failed to score since his retirement at the Austrian Grand Prix. It ended his longest points-scoring streak since 2017.
Charles Leclerc, who carried a grid penalty for this race, qualified in fifteenth place. It was the third time in 2021 that he did not reach Q3. Leclerc’s fifteenth place in the race sees him lose his 100% points finishing record at the Russian Grand Prix. His previous worst result here was seventh place, recorded in 2018.
Carlos Sainz set the second-fastest time in qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix and recorded the first front row start of his Formula 1 career. In the race, Sainz recorded his fifth podium finish – but this was only the third time that the Spaniard has actually stood on the podium. He is the 100th F1 driver to reach five podium finishes in his career and the ninth different driver to finish on the podium at the Russian Grand Prix. The Spaniard led the opening twelve laps of the race, leading more laps in this race than he had in his F1 career to date.
For only the third time in 2021, Pierre Gasly failed to reach the top ten in qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix. Gasly failed to score in the race – failing to score at consecutive races for the first time in 2021. This was the third time in four Russian Grand Prix appearances that Gasly has not scored.
Yuki Tsunoda reached the end of a race for the first time since the rain-shortened Belgian Grand Prix. He finished only seventeenth – his worst result other than retirements and non starts.
After missing the last two races due to testing positive for coronavirus, Kimi Raikkonen finished the Russian Grand Prix in eighth place. It was the third time he has scored in 2021 – and his best result since his fourth place finish at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. This was the first time Raikkonen has scored at the Russian Grand Prix since 2018.
Finishing in sixteenth place – and suffering with no team radio communication for the entirety of the race – Antonio Giovinazzi recorded his worst Russian Grand Prix result to date. The Italian is yet to record a retirement in 2021, but this was his worst result of the year to date.
Mick Schumacher recorded the first retirement of his Formula 1 career. He’s the first member of the Schumacher family to not retire on his F1 debut. Michael Schumacher retired on his first appearance at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix, while Ralf Schumacher retired on debut at the 1997 Australian Grand Prix. Mick Schumacher becomes the sixth driver to have a 100% DNF record at the Russian Grand Prix. The other drivers with the same record in Sochi are Brendon Hartley, Kamui Kobayashi, Max Chilton, Rio Haryanto and Robert Kubica. Schumacher is the first driver to retire from the Russian Grand Prix having started fourteenth on the grid.
Nikita Mazepin is still yet to out-qualify anyone in Formula 1, aside from drivers who have failed to set lap times. The Russian driver was almost four seconds slower than his team-mate in qualifying for his home race.
For the fourth time in the last seven races, George Russell reached Q3. Russell recorded his third best qualifying result with third place, having previously qualified on the front row with Mercedes at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix and with Williams at the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix. Russell went on to finish in tenth place. Despite scoring only once in his first 48 Grand Prix appearances, Russell has now scored in four of the last five races. Russell becomes the 24th different driver to have scored points at the Russian Grand Prix. He scored the first point for a Williams driver at the Russian Grand Prix since Felipe Massa finished ninth at the 2017 event.
Nicholas Latifi failed to reach the end of the Russian Grand Prix, but was classified in nineteenth place. This was Latifi’s third retirement of the year – his first since the opening two rounds of the 2021 season.
Read more statistics from the 2021 Russian Grand Prix in our Post Race Statistics article!
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 Motorsport Guides. 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.