Start, Sochi Autodrom, 2014

2017 Russian Grand Prix stats preview

2017 Russian Grand Prix

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Could 2017 be the year a team other than Mercedes leads a lap of the Russian Grand Prix?

The silver cars have dominated the event since it first appeared on the calendar three years ago, leading all 159 laps of the Sochi Autodrom so far. Here a look ahead to this weekend’s race in statistics.

The form book

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Sochi Autodrom, 2016
Hulkenberg hasn’t made it beyond turn two since 2014
Mercedes’ dominance in the Russian Grand Prix has included a trio of wins and pole positions. They would surely have made it three front rows and one-twos as well but for Lewis Hamilton’s technical problems in qualifying last year and Nico Rosberg’s during the 2015 race.

The team has gone almost a full year without being beaten to pole position thanks to the efforts of Hamilton, Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas, who took his first pole position in Bahrain. Hamilton will need to watch for his team mate again as Bottas has good form at this circuit in qualifying.

In his Williams says Bottas started every Russian Grand Prix with only Mercedes in front of him. He qualified second last year (thanks partly to a penalty for Sebastian Vettel) and third the two years before. Mercedes’ new driver has raced well here too: he reached the podium in 2014, would have done in 2015 had Kimi Raikkonen not taken him out, and was fourth last year.

Daniil Kvyat surpassed Vitaly Petrov as Russia’s most experienced F1 driver earlier this year. But he will have mixed feelings about returning to his home track as this race triggered his demotion from Red Bull to Toro Rosso 12 months ago. Two clashes with Vettel within the opening seconds of the race paved the way for Max Verstappen to take Kvyat’s place.

Sochi hasn’t been kind to Nico Hulkenberg either. He crashed out on lap one in his last two visits. He is one of four drivers who have beaten their team mate in every qualifying session so far this year, along with Vettel, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

However the latter is yet to finish a race this year. He was at least classified in Bahrian having completed more than 90% of the race distance. The same cannot be said for Lance Stroll, who is still looking for his first official result.

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Lap times

Since F1 first came to Sochi Autodrom the cars have already taking nearly three seconds less to get around the circuit. That should fall further this year.


Source: Mercedes

The first three Russian Grands Prix were largely processional affairs.

Race ratings

Here’s how F1 Fanatic readers have rated the Russian Grand Prix in recent years:

Join in Rate the Race when the chequered flag falls at the end of this year’s race. You will need a (free) F1 Fanatic account to participate:

2017 Russian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “2017 Russian Grand Prix stats preview”

  1. Those 2014 cars need to be censored, lol.

    1. +1 to some of them.

    2. They looked ‘compromised’ shall we say, certainly from that angle.

    3. At least they don’t look like a vacuum cleaner receptacle ala Red Bull.

  2. 4.06 rating in 2014!
    My ‘stat preview’ is that we will beat that this year ;)

    1. I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high! If DRS is ineffective in Sochi there won’t be very many overtakes, and the kind asphalt here will surely mean it’s a one-stopper with these new tyres. It could mean we’ll finally see Merc and Ferrari have to engage in a real battle, or it could mean we’ll see one follow the other round for the entire race.

      Let’s hope for the former.

  3. It’s a little hard to believe that only 12 months ago Verstappen was still at Toro Rosso. It feels like he has been with the senior team for a lot longer which is a credit to how well he has bedded in and performed there.

    We’re still in the early part of this season but I feel Red Bull will have another huge decision to make about Sainz’s future at the end of the year. I think he’s demonstrated on many occasions that he’s ready to fight in a top team, and it would be such a shame to see him held back by Red Bull because they don’t want to lose him to a rival.

    From my perspective as a fan I’d quite like to see either Sainz or Ricciardo replace Raikkonen, with the other pairing with Verstappen at Red Bull. I think that the top three teams will all be competitive at the end of this year, and expect that form to follow on into 2018 as well, so it would be nice to see three really strong driver combinations too (my verdict is still out on Bottas).

    1. I’d quite like to see either Sainz or Ricciardo replace Raikkonen

      I’m very impressed with Sainz, but lukewarm to him pairing with Verstappen at RBR. I’d really want to see Verstappen at RBR (he’ll stay) paired with Vettel/Hamilton/Alonso.
      As for Ricciardo, I hope he squeezes out his ‘promotion’ to Ferrari, and we can see how well he does against a motivated Vettel.
      Seems a bit harsh for Sainz. But I’ve been quite pleasantly surprised with Renault’s trajectory, and it would be great to see him and Hulk in yellow next year.

      1. Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso won’t go to Red Bull, and Red Bull won’t get them – since Webber, they’ve never had a driver that hasn’t been from their young driver programme, if Ricciardo goes, Sainz will go into the Red Bull alongside Verstappen.

        1. Vettel was part of their young driver programme :p
          And it took Verstappen only 20months; Alonso and Hamilton can join RBR in 20 months then.

          1. Let me rephrase that – They’ve not had a driver that hasn’t come directly from Toro Rosso taking a seat in the Red Bull. I know it’d be nice to see Verstappen v Hamilton, but it won’t happen, Sainz will get the seat if Ricciardo goes.

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        25th April 2017, 17:13

        Is it true that no driver left Toro Rosso to join a team other than Red Bull? I hope that if Sainz doesn’t get the RBR seat, he stays in F1. I didn’t want to see Buemi and Alguersuari go

        1. No, Liuzzi went to Force India after spending 2006 and 2007 at Toro Rosso – though he skipped the 2008 season. He also started at Red Bull back in 2005, and then went to Toro Rosso.

    2. In a couple races time when you realise that Kvyat is actually the quicker STR this conversation is going to be proven pointless.

      1. Kvyat is quick… sometimes. But I think Sainz is more consistent on all fronts, which is what counts at the end of the day. Also, I get an impression that Kvyat is often holding himself back for some reason (with occasional performance bursts), and is not racing balls out – something we expect from the top drivers. Kinda like Raikonnen in Ferrari – we know he can be quick, but these days he rarely goes the extra mile.

  4. Michael Brown (@)
    25th April 2017, 14:10

    I hope that we don’t get a race with few overtakes like Australia this year.

    Turn 1 and 2 need to go on this track. It tries to be like Bahrain, but the difference is that you can’t cut turn 2 in Bahrain. In Sochi, it’s so easy to cut the turn that a crappy escape route like in Montreal was implemented.

  5. Is Sochi a Tilkedrome ?

    1. Ferrari, Seb fan
      25th April 2017, 18:52

      I think so

  6. Will anyone other than Mercedes lead a lap at Sochi?
    The answer is yes… Raikkonen running a 10 lap too long first stint.

  7. Interesting to note that number of overtakes have been inverse to the rate the race ratings. 2014 having the highest number of overtakes and worst rating, 2015 having the least and best, 2016 in between.

    1. @keithcollantine There is an idea for an article: correlating the number of overtakes in a race with the F1F rate the race rating for the race. That would be a good read!

Comments are closed.