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Russian Grand Prix

Formula 1 season 2014

Circuit information
CircuitSochi Autodrom
TimezoneGMT +03:00
Race debut2014
Length5.848 km
Distance309.732 km
Line offset0.212 km

The Russian Grand Prix had been eagerly anticipated, as a new race on the 2014 calendar. Unfortunately, the event was overshadowed by Jules Bianchi continuing to fight for his life in a Japanese hospital. A subdued paddock set about racing for the first time on the Sochi circuit, and they didn’t particularly like what they found. Although great facilities awaited the teams, the track wasn’t a driver favourite and the tarmac was so kind on tyres that a one-stop strategy was the order of the day.

Event overview

With just four races left of the season, fatigue was starting to set in. Drivers and teams were tired, and the cars were starting to see more and more mechanical gremlins creeping in. Three drivers faced gearbox related grid penalties (Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hülkenberg and Max Chilton), whilst Pastor Maldonado had the rest of his engine penalty from Suzuka still to carry forward.

The new track favoured the Mercedes engine, with domination continuing for Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. It also helped the McLaren boys to increase their performance, whilst Red Bull started to struggle. In the first session of qualifying, the big surprise came from Felipe Massa whose Williams was suffering with a fuel pressure problem that hindered his pace. In Q2, it was Sebastian Vettel who dropped out, the car just lacking the pace to get through to the top ten.

The drivers took an extra couple of laps to get their tyres up to temperature, but that didn’t stop Lewis Hamilton scooping pole position with Nico Rosberg unable to compete for the top spot. He settled into second on the grid, with Valtteri Bottas in third – a mixed result for the Williams team. McLaren finished fourth with Jenson Button lining up on the second row.

Nico Rosberg had seemed rattled during the early part of the weekend, and that manifested itself into the first corner of the race. Attempting a late braking overtake on his teammate, Rosberg locked up heavily and wrecked his first set of tyres. Although he did manage to get into the lead, it was a position he would have had to give back due to running off track, and he dived into the pit lane for a fresh set of rubber anyway.

That left him with the challenge of fighting his way through the field, and Felipe Massa – who had qualified poorly and pitted early – attempted to cling to his coattails and follow him up the order. Massa managed to get as far as 12th place but couldn’t get quite as easily get past Sergio Pérez, allowing Rosberg to surge ahead without him.

Max Chilton retired after ten laps with a suspension problem. It was a disappointing end to the weekend for the Marussia team, but likely one that they wouldn’t have minded too much, preferring to head home for some solace in the three week break before the US Grand Prix.

When the solitary pit stop window opened, Rosberg found his way into second place, with Hamilton retaining his lead. Kamui Kobayashi pitted and did not rejoin the action. Caterham retired the car due to a brake issue, although Kobayashi told the waiting media that there had been no reason for stopping the car, except perhaps a lack of funds.

The second half of the race dragged on slowly, with little action. Rosberg managed to complete all but that first lap of the race on one set of tyres, remaining in second until the end. The two Mercedes drivers finished on the podium, picking up enough points to seal the constructor’s championship for the team. Hamilton extended his lead in the driver’s fight, with Valtteri Bottas finishing on the podium for his own healthy points haul.

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
10 OctFridayFree Practice 107:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +04:00
Free Practice 211:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +04:00
11 OctSaturdayFree Practice 309:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +04:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +04:00
12 OctSundayGrand Prix12:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +04:00

All content in the series Russia 2014