After decades of trying to get a Russian Grand Prix on the Formula 1 calendar, Sochi Autodrom finally hosted the country’s first Grand Prix in 2014. Here are five notable motorsport events which have taken place in Sochi!
2014: First championship win for Mercedes
At the 2014 Russian Grand Prix, Mercedes were crowned Constructors’ Champions for the first time, becoming the first German constructor to have taken the title. The team had dominated the first season of Formula 1’s V6 hybrid era, with drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg taking all but three of the 19 race wins that season. In the 2014 Russian Grand Prix, Hamilton took victory ahead of Rosberg, extending his title lead. Mercedes have not yet failed to win at the Sochi Autodrom since it joined the calendar in 2014.
2016: First Grand Slam for Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg recorded the first Grand Slam of his Formula 1 career at the 2016 Russian Grand Prix. He took pole, won the race, set the fastest lap and led every lap of the race. Rosberg was unchallenged for the victory and won the race with a 25 second gap back to teammate Hamilton in second place. Rosberg became the 24th driver to record a Grand Slam and would score another at the 2016 European Grand Prix before retiring as World Champion at the end of the season. Only thirteen drivers have taken multiple Grand Slams in their Formula 1 careers.
2017: First win for Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas won his first Formula 1 race at the 2017 Russian Grand Prix. Though the Ferrari drivers locked-out the front row, Bottas started just behind them in third. The Finn overtook his fellow countryman Kimi Raikkonen at the start and had sailed by Sebastian Vettel by the time the cars reached the second turn. From there, Bottas controlled the race and was first of the frontrunners to pit. Vettel took the lead as a result, but the Mercedes was ahead again after he pitted. With Vettel now on fresher tyres, he had the pace advantage. Despite a lock up and a flat spot for Bottas, the Mercedes driver clung on to the lead to claim his maiden victory by just 0.617s!
2017: Only time no overtakes were recorded in Russia
The 2017 Russian Grand Prix was the last time that no overtakes were recorded during a Formula 1 race. Eighteen passes were recorded in this Grand Prix, but all of those were as a result of pit stops. It was the fourth time in history that no on-track overtakes were recorded in a race, the other times being the 2003 Monaco Grand Prix, the 2005 United States Grand Prix and the 2009 European Grand Prix. In contrast, the most overtakes recorded in an F1 race is 161, at the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix.
2017: Only time the Championship leader after the Russian round has not won the title
Sebastian Vettel led the title hunt after the 2017 Russian Grand Prix, making him the only leader of the championship after a Sochi race to not go on and win the title. Vettel had led the Drivers’ Championship from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Despite his lead being cut to just one point after the British Grand Prix, Vettel would lead the championship charge until the Belgian Grand Prix. Following Lewis Hamilton’s win at Spa, the Brit took control of the championship and never lost it. He ultimately finished 46 points ahead of Vettel.