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Race highlights - Russia 2014 - Rosberg recovers from a first lap mistake in a dull Sochi GP

Published by Christine

Mercedes take the constructors title in Russia
Credit: Daimler AG

It really wasn't the classic opening race an organiser might hope for, after some first lap action by the Mercedes crew and a handful of drivers behind them, things settled into far too much of a routine. There was no safety car, which was a surprise, but the drivers kept things clean and tidy to complete the Russian Grand Prix without incident - and only two reliability related retirements.

Lap by lap coverage follows, but I'll be honest, it tails off towards the end and starts counting down the laps until the chequered flag. That tells you all you need to know!

As it happened: Russia 2014 - The race

Event Highlights

  • Lewis Hamilton leads comfortably from the start, and wins to secure Mercedes the team title.
  • Rosberg locks up heavily on the first lap and has to pit early, wrecking the ideal strategy.
  • Nico makes his way back up to second just after the halfway point of the race.
  • Max Chilton retires on lap 10, with a suspension problem on his Marussia.
  • Kamui Kobayashi retires with Caterham suggesting the car was unsafe to continue.
  • 11:30

    Hello there, F1 and fact fans. Are you looking for lap by lap coverage of the upcoming inaugural Russian Grand Prix? Then you've come to the right place!

  • 11:31

    We're half an hour away from the start of the race, so the pit lane is just opening, cars are being released from the garage to head towards the grid. Mercedes sent their guys out first, keen to get this afternoon underway!

  • 11:32

    It's a brand new track, the Sochi Autodrom, a mixture of the twisting turns of the Valencia Street Circuit and the anonymity of the Korean track. The long arc of turn three is fascinating though.

  • 11:32
    Circuit Data
    Sochi Autodrom
    Local timezone+04:00 GMT
    First race2014
    Number of laps53
    Circuit length5.848km
    Race distance309.732km
    Start offset0.212km
  • 11:33

    Mercedes have, quite predictably, locked out the front row of the grid here, but they almost found themselves pipped by Valtteri Bottas. The Williams driver was looking superbly fast on his final flying lap in qualifying but ran wide at the final corner after the tyres lost grip.

  • 11:34
    Factbyte Factbox image

    Pirelli have brought the all-round compounds of medium and softs here. Drivers are expected to take a one-stop approach to the race, but there could be the odd two-stopper if the tyres degrade more than expected. There's also a high chance of a safety car, too.

  • 11:35

    Three drivers took gearbox penalties this weekend, with Max Chilton, Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hülkenberg all dropping back five places. The full starting grid is available here. It was disappointing for Magnussen, as McLaren have shown good pace so far this weekend.

  • 11:36
    Grid Position
    1L HamiltonMercedes
    2N RosbergMercedes
    3V BottasWilliams
    4J ButtonMcLaren
    5D KvyatToro Rosso
    6D RicciardoRed Bull
    7F AlonsoFerrari
    8K RäikkönenFerrari
    9JE VergneToro Rosso
    10S VettelRed Bull
  • 11:38
    Not long till the pit lane opens and we get this on the grid
    Credit: Twitter/Lotus_F1Team

    Romain Grosjean starts 15th on the grid, after another tough Saturday. After the session he said: "The track surface is very smooth so we do have to work to get the tyres up to temperature and this only happens after quite a few laps."

  • 11:39

    Sebastian Vettel dropped out of qualifying in Q2, initially securing 11th on the grid but promoted to 10th after Magnussen's penalty. The Red Bull team don't appear to have the edge in Russia, and have been down on pace through each of the sessions so far.

  • 11:40

    Much of the attention is on Daniil Kvyat, however. The Russian driver has the added bonus of a home race, and that powered him on to fifth on the grid. An impressive result for the future Red Bull star, and his best qualifying performance to date.

  • 11:47
    Drivers minute silence

    A minute's silence for Jules Bianchi.

  • 11:49

    The momentum seems to have swung in Lewis Hamilton's direction recently, with the Brit taking the lead in the championship, and upping his winning tally. Rosberg needs to watch out, Ricciardo is catching him up on this table!

    2014 Race Wins
    1L Hamilton8
    2N Rosberg4
    3D Ricciardo3
  • 11:50

    All the drivers waited at the front of the grid for the national anthems as well. There's talk of that being something that they're asked to do each weekend. It's not going to be comfortable for the drivers who are trying to focus on the race at that point.

  • 11:54
    Drivers form a circle

    F1 drivers closed circle of support for Jules.

  • 11:55

    Weather icon

    Wind speed1.1mps
  • 11:56

    Felipe Massa was another driver struggling in qualifying, he had a fuel pressure problem that hindered his running, and has left him down in 18th on the grid.

  • 11:56

    The sun is shining, skies are blue. Drivers are in the cars, with umbrellas being held over their heads to ward off the rays.

  • 12:00

    The front runners all have to start the race on the tyres they qualified with. So it's softs all the way down to Magnussen in 11th. Mediums on board for Pérez, Sutil, Hülkenberg, Massa, Kobayashi, Chilton and Maldonado.

  • 12:00

    Lewis Hamilton leads them away for the formation lap. Final chance to get a feel for track conditions before the racing begins.

  • 12:03

    It's a relatively fast formation lap from Hamilton, but a lengthy lap with lots of corners. They round the final turn to make their way back to the grid, slowing right up to form up in position.

  • 12:04

    Green flagRace started.

  • 12:04 Lap 1

    Wheel spin off the line for Hamilton but he gets away in the lead. Rosberg sticks with him and pulls alongside down the following straight.

  • 12:04 Lap 1

    He locks up massively in the corner and gets the lead, but then runs wide at turn two. He keeps the position but may have to give it back.

  • 12:04 Lap 1

    Lots of the cars actually ran wide at that corner, just as in the GP2 race yesterday.

  • 12:05 Lap 1

    Rosberg is instructed to give the position back but he tells his crew he'll have to box due to the vibrations from that epic lockup.

  • 12:06 Lap 2

    And there he goes, Rosberg pits from the lead. Hamilton back in front now, with Bottas and Button behind.

  • 12:06 Lap 2

    Felipe Massa has also pitted from way down in 17th place.

  • 12:07 Lap 2

    Kvyat is dropping back in the Toro Rosso, he's got both the Red Bull drivers in front of him now. Vettel has managed to get ahead of teammate Ricciardo.

  • 12:07 Lap 3

    Team radioTeam radio to/from Rosberg: "What's the strategy now?"

    "We think we need to go to the end on these tyres."


  • 12:08 Lap 3

    Race controlDRS enabled.

  • 12:09 Lap 3

    Vergne is up in sixth place, impressive from the Toro Rosso driver, particularly with Kvyat down in 9th.

  • 12:11 Lap 4

    Replays show Kvyat had a bad start, whilst so many drivers ran wide at that turn two, it's no surprise to see the order mixed up as it is.

  • 12:11 Lap 5
    Driver Positions
    10L Hamilton0
    2+1V Bottas0
    3+1J Button0
    4+3F Alonso0
    5+6K Magnussen0
  • 12:12 Lap 5

    Max Chilton has come in for a quick pit stop as well, he was running last anyway and remains in that position.

  • 12:14 Lap 6

    Vettel makes a small mistake, running wide, which allows Ricciardo to pull alongside him. He can't quite make it stick, but that's a heck of a battle between teammates for 6th place.

  • 12:15 Lap 6
    One to Watch
    S Vettelvs.D Ricciardo
  • 12:16 Lap 6

    Team radioTeam radio from Daniel Ricciardo: "Losing a lot of time."

    Hint, hint.

  • 12:17 Lap 8

    Felipe Massa sits in 18th, with one pit stop under his belt. He sweeps past Adrian Sutil to take 17th and now sits behind Nico Rosberg.

  • 12:18 Lap 9

    Lewis Hamilton sets the fastest lap of the race so far, a 1:43.8. Rosberg, telling his team this is the kind of lap time he can do if he's to save his tyres, is a 1:45.5.

  • 12:19 Lap 9

    It's not just Ricciardo hoping to get past Vettel. There's a train of cars behind the Red Bull with Ricciardo, Vergne, Räikkönen and Kvyat within four seconds of him.

  • 12:22 Lap 11

    Max Chilton returns to the pit lane again, they're not doing a tyre change here so it could be a problem with the Marussia car.

  • 12:22 Lap 11

    TweetTweet from @Marussia_F1Team: Lap 10/53 | Max is heading in with concerns of a suspension problem.

  • 12:23 Lap 11
    Battle for 6th
    6S Vettel-
    7D Ricciardo+2.063
    8JE Vergne+0.602
    9K Räikkönen+0.811
    10D Kvyat+0.648
  • 12:23 Lap 12

    Bottas is keeping up with race leader Lewis Hamilton at the moment, just three seconds between them. Button is a further 10 seconds down the road.

  • 12:24 Lap 12

    Daniel Ricciardo gives up the chase of his teammate and heads in for a pit stop, taking on the harder compound so he could one-stop from here if he wanted to.

  • 12:24 Lap 12

    Daniel Ricciardo has rejoined in 18th place, that's way down the order!

  • 12:25 Lap 13

    Chilton has officially retired from the race, he climbs out of the car in the garage and has a good look at the rear of the car.

  • 12:25 Lap 13

    Rosberg dispatches Romain Grosjean for 13th place, he's trying to make his way back up the order.

  • 12:25 Lap 13

    Adrian Sutil pits from the rear of the field.

  • 12:27 Lap 14

    Massa is sticking with Rosberg as he rises through the field. They've both used one of each compound but in opposite order. Rosberg started on softs and now runs on the medium compound, with Massa on the softs.

  • 12:29 Lap 15
    Gap Analysis
  • 12:30 Lap 15

    Rreplays show Rosberg passing Gutiérrez easily for 11th place. He's almost back into the points after that early pit stop.

  • 12:30 Lap 16

    Massa passes Gutiérrez, continuing his path following Rosberg. However, he locks up slightly as he gets in front and allows the Sauber to keep in touch for a little longer than is comfortable.

  • 12:31 Lap 16

    TweetTweet from @CaterhamF1: After 15 laps @Ericsson_Marcus is comfortably in P17 - "you're doing mega, keep pushing" his engineer says over the radio

  • 12:32 Lap 17

    Not much happening on track now, it's a calm moment before the next burst of pit stops no doubt.

  • 12:34 Lap 17

    Button gives an update on his tyres. "Still the same," he says, sounding quite chirpy from third on the grid.

  • 12:35 Lap 18

    QuoteMax Chilton: "We just had a slight issue coming into turn one on that last lap. Something wasn’t quite right, so I had to bring the car back. Luckily, I got it back so we’re just looking at it now to see what happened.

    "It’s been a very, very difficult week for the team and everyone in the F1 family. It hasn’t been easy but I think it’s been a good job to get here and get running. On the grid, all the drivers looked like they were struggling a bit. Hopefully they’ll put on a good show this afternoon for Jules. It’s just a shame that we couldn’t finish the race."

  • 12:36 Lap 19

    Rosberg now told: "Just pick up the pace a little, to keep Button outside your pit stop window." Not sure what that means, but it might suggest the Mercedes will stop again before race end.

  • 12:38 Lap 20

    Nico Rosberg is hunting down Sergio Pérez for tenth place. Half a second between the pair, as Rosberg brakes late into turn two, keeps it clean this time, and takes the position.

  • 12:39 Lap 20

    TweetTweet from @pirellisport: Most drivers on soft tyres. Key to strategy all be staying on softs for as long as possible. Around 1.2s faster than medium

  • 12:39 Lap 21

    Hamilton gives the pit wall an update on how things are going, and essentially says "it's all good."

  • 12:40 Lap 21

    Kvyat dives into the pit lane from ninth place. A reasonable stop from the Toro Rosso crew, slightly slower than the average - 4.2 seconds - and he rejoins in 15th.

  • 12:41 Lap 22

    It's Massa's turn to try and get past Pérez. The Williams isn't as close to the Force India yet, and can't copy the move into turn two.

  • 12:42 Lap 22

    Team radioTeam radio from Nico Rosberg: "Feeling quite a lot of degradation."

  • 12:43 Lap 23

    Jenson Button pits from third, heading into the pit box for a change of tyres, medium compounds go on and off he goes. 2.8 second stop for the McLaren crew. He rejoins in 9th.

  • 12:45 Lap 24

    Kimi Räikkönen was looking for a way past Jean-Éric Vergne, but the Toro Rosso driver heads into the pit lane. Sixth place on the way in, a quick stop, and 14th place on the way out, ahead of teammate Daniil Kvyat.

  • 12:47 Lap 26

    Kamui Kobayashi has been in the pits for a couple of laps now, it looks like he might be out of the race.

  • 12:49 Lap 27

    Fernando Alonso comes in for his first, perhaps only stop. It's a slow stop, a bit of a problem as he doesn't pull away once the mechanics clear.

    Pit Stop Analysis
    DriverF Alonso
    Pit lane35.112s
  • 12:49 Lap 27

    Valtteri Bottas pits from second place, with Kevin Magnussen following him in from third.

  • 12:50 Lap 27

    Bottas was slightly off his pit stop lines, so it was a medium pace stop from the Williams crew. The Finn rejoins in third place, with Vettel moving up to second, and Rosberg settling in fourth.

  • 12:50 Lap 27

    It's all go in the pit lane as Kimi Räikkönen stops, and then Lewis Hamilton gets the call to "box, box."

  • 12:51 Lap 28

    It's a very tight pit entry, as Hamilton winds his way round carefully. Super stop by the Mercedes crew and he's on his way again without issue.

  • 12:51 Lap 28

    TweetTweet from @clubforce: A clean stop for Checo, who also receives a set of soft tyres for his second stint of the race!

  • 12:52 Lap 28

    Hamilton rejoins in the lead, with Sebastian Vettel in second - he hasn't stopped yet. Gutiérrez and Ericsson are the only other drivers not to have stopped.

  • 12:52 Lap 28

    Felipe Massa comes into the pit lane for his second stop of the day, after an early stop. That puts pay to him following Nico Rosberg around.

  • 12:53 Lap 29

    Yellow flagBrief yellow flags as Adrian Sutil spins after trying to pass Romain Grosjean. He gets it going without hitting anything.

  • 12:55 Lap 30

    TweetTweet from @CaterhamF1: Kamui's race has ended. We've had to bring him in as telemetry suggested it wasn't safe for him to stay out. Need to investigate further

  • 12:55 Lap 30

    Vettel is warned to respect the beeps as they're concerned about his fuel consumption at this point in the race.

  • 12:56 Lap 31

    Race controlIncident involving Romain Grosjean and Adrian Sutil under investigation - causing a collision.

  • 12:57 Lap 31

    Sebastian Vettel finally comes in for his one stop. It's just Gutiérrez left out on track still on the tyres he started on.

  • 12:57 Lap 31

    Rosberg attempts to pass Bottas, and the Williams is forced to run wide off track. Nico takes the position, now sitting in second place.

  • 12:57 Lap 31

    Vettel rejoined the action in 8th place, he's back behind Daniel Ricciardo now.

  • 12:59 Lap 32
    Driver Positions
    10L Hamilton1
    20N Rosberg1
    30V Bottas1
    40J Button1
    5+6K Magnussen1
  • 13:00 Lap 33

    Race control5 second stop/go penalty for Romain Grosjean - causing a collision.

  • 13:01 Lap 33

    TweetTweet from @WilliamsRacing: ROS fights his way ahead of Valtteri for P2 but with 30 lap old tyres we expect to see more degradation for him in the later stages

  • 13:01 Lap 33

    Rosberg sets the fastest lap of the race so far, and reports over the radio that the tyres are coming back to him a little bit.

  • 13:04 Lap 35
    Gap Analysis
  • 13:05 Lap 36

    Sergio Pérez muscles his way past Daniil Kvyat, and Felipe Massa also took the opportunity to get past. Poor Kvyat loses two places in two corners.

  • 13:07 Lap 37

    On 34 lap old tyres, Rosberg sets the fastest lap of the race. Then goes and betters it next time round. Weird race!

  • 13:10 Lap 39

    Kvyat reports a vibration problem, runs wide off track, and then comes into the pits.

  • 13:12 Lap 40

    Gutiérrez STILL hasn't stopped yet. He's losing places now, but it's still an impressive run.

  • 13:12 Lap 40

    Team radioRosberg, when asked if he can get to the end of the race on these tyres. "Yes, easy. Well not easy, but they're feeling good now."

  • 13:14 Lap 41

    And Esteban Gutiérrez finally comes into the pitlane for a fresh set of tyres. I thought perhaps he was running some kind of magical compound there!

  • 13:15 Lap 42

    TweetTweet from @CaterhamF1: The reason for @kamui_kobayashi's retirement was that his brakes were overheating and it was too dangerous for him to carry on racing

  • 13:16 Lap 42

    Gutiérrez is now towards the back of the field, and gets waved blue flags as the leaders make their way through. He's 14th, with Kvyat, Sutil, Grojean, Maldonado and Ericsson behind him.

  • 13:16 Lap 42
    One to Watch
    F Alonsovs.D Ricciardo
  • 13:21 Lap 45

    Replays show a bit of a lockup for Lewis Hamilton. That's how exciting this race is!

  • 13:22 Lap 46

    Pérez is given some instructions because they are concerned about fuel. "This is desperate," his engineer tells him.

  • 13:22 Lap 46

    Marcus Ericsson has pitted for the second time. He's currently last.

  • 13:24 Lap 47

    TweetTweet from @clubforce: 7 laps to go in this Russian GP. Checo in P10 defending the last point, Nico in P12.

  • 13:27 Lap 49

    Five laps to go.

  • 13:29 Lap 50

    TweetTweet from @PhilDuncanF1: Mercedes to win the Constructors' Championship with three races to spare. Hamilton will lead Rosberg by 17 points in title battle

  • 13:30 Lap 50

    StopwatchFastest lap for third place Valtteri Bottas, a 1:41.544.

  • 13:34 Lap 53

    Final lap.

  • 13:34 Lap 53

    It's a 15 second gap before Nico Rosberg comes round to start his final lap. Domination, as ever!

  • 13:36

    Chequered flagLewis Hamilton wins the Russian Grand Prix!

  • 13:36

    Rosberg finishes second, to secure the 2014 constructor's championship for Mercedes.

  • 13:36

    Bottas crosses the line for third, and sets the fastest lap of the race as well.

  • 13:37
    Driver Positions
    10L Hamilton1
    20N Rosberg1
    30V Bottas1
    40J Button1
    5+6K Magnussen1
    6+1F Alonso1
    7-1D Ricciardo1
    8+2S Vettel1
    9-1K Räikkönen1
    10+2S Pérez1
  • 13:38

    Team radioTeam radio from Nico Rosberg: "Sorry guys that was very unnecessary. But what an unbelievable car, to come back from that."

  • 13:38
    Race Winner
    DriverL Hamilton
    Race time1:31:50.744
    Race distance309.745km
    Average speed202.346km/h
  • 13:39

    Hamilton, of course, extends his championship lead again. His team congratulate him for a cool, calm and composed victory today, and he in turn congratulates them for the team title.

  • 13:39
    Gap Analysis
  • 13:40

    Lots of clapping and cheers for Hamilton as he dashes to the weigh-in pre-podium.

  • 13:40

    TweetTweet from @WilliamsRacing: We've also extended our points lead over Ferrari for 3rd in Constructors to 28 points

  • 13:41

    TweetTweet from @McLarenF1: Rock solid drives from our boys to secure P4 for Jenson and P5 for Kevin. Super consistent. Nice work, guys.

  • 13:42

    Awkward scenes in the green room, as Vladimir Putin arrives and asks some questions via a translator, but Rosberg and Hamilton continue to ignore each other at the same time.

  • 13:43
    M ChiltonSuspension10
    K KobayashiBrakes22
  • 13:44
    Championship Standings
    1L Hamilton291
    2N Rosberg274
    3D Ricciardo199
    4V Bottas145
    5S Vettel143
  • 13:44
    Championship Standings
    2Red Bull342
  • 13:45

    The three make their way to the podium and the national anthems play out, as beneath them the crowds pour in for a busy track invasion.

  • 13:47

    Putin hands out the trophies to Lewis Hamilton, and Mercedes representative Paddy Lowe.

  • 13:52

    QuotePodium quotes - Lewis Hamilton: "I’m so happy to be here, we’ve had an amazing week. The fans and the organisers, Russia’s been so good to me and the team. I’m looking forward to coming here many, many times. Nico did a great job to recover from his mistake earlier on today, the car was performing really well. We did a great job for the team, it’s history for us. I feel very proud to be part of it."

  • 13:52

    QuotePodium quotes - Nico Rosberg: "It was a great strategy from the team. Our car is just unbelievable, it’s so good. Everyone has done such a good job building this car. Half of me is disappointed I messed up today, but the other half is really happy because everyone in the team deserves this so much. For them, this is the most important title in the year. I can smile a bit because I’m happy for everyone to achieve that."

  • 13:53

    QuotePodium quotes -Valtteri Bottas: "I need to be happy for us as a team, what we’ve been doing since last year is amazing. Again on the podium, good amount of points. We were today, best of the rest. Unfortunately Mercedes is still quite a bit ahead but we did the best we could from where we started, so we need to be happy as a team."

  • 13:57

    That about wraps things up for the FBFB this weekend. It wasn't the best race ever. Okay, no, it was terrible, but hey, we have a three week break now before the US Grand Prix.

  • 13:58

    Great weekend for Williams, solidifying their third position. Also McLaren did a great job with the Mercedes engine powering them to a strong result.

  • 13:58

    Less good for home favourite Daniil Kvyat who rapidly dropped out of the running. And for Max Chilton, who saw off a difficult week with a DNF.

  • 13:58

    Now time for a brief rest and recuperation period before the final three race run to the end of the season. I'll be back for the US GP, I hope you'll join me then! Thanks for reading, fact fans!

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