Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Sochi Autodrom, 2014

Sochi expected to produce unusual race

2014 Russian Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Sochi Autodrom, 2014Low tyre wear and high fuel consumption is expected to give the Russian Grand Prix a different feel to recent races.

On the first day of running at Sochi Autodrom teams found the stop-start nature of the track may make it more challenging to complete the 53-lap, 310-kilometre race distance without depleting their 100kg fuel allowance.

“It appears to be quite demanding in terms of fuel,” said Sergio Perez, “which will have implications for the strategy”.

Another dimension to this problem is the quality of the track surface. New tracks are often low on grip, but drivers found they could push harder than expected. Accelerating sooner and braking later means more fuel is used.

Kevin Magnussen said the track “has quite a lot of grip – the surface is pretty good.”

“It appears to suit the Pirelli tyres,” he added, “so that makes it quite enjoyable to drive.”

“Also, the [soft tyres] seem to last pretty well, so we might see not a lot of pit-stops in the race.” Pirelli are expecting drivers to make two pit stops but some may find they are able to get away with just one. Force India, who have often pursued alternative strategies this year did the bulk of their Friday running on the medium while others preferred the sort.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery noted that the surface will change quickly as more rubber goes down. “We’re facing a high degree of track evolution, which is normal for a new circuit,” he said, “and this may yet alter the overall picture of tyre behaviour”.

Although Fernando Alonso took advantage of the ever-improving track conditions to set the third-fastest time in his Ferrari, the McLaren drivers were usually their closest rivals on Friday. However this track seems likely to suit their fellow Mercedes users Williams even more on race day, as their car has proved particularly economical with its fuel.

Mercedes, however, are clearly the team to beat as usual. The two title rivals in the W05s have been neck-and-neck for most of the season, so it was a surprise to see the gap between the pair grow to almost a full second. Nico Rosberg ascribed this to a radical car set-up which did not pay off.

“The team decided to go two different ways in terms of set-up,” he said. “I took a very creative set-up for my car in the second practice session, which didn’t work out.”

“So we will go back to the conservative way for tomorrow, because we saw that Lewis [Hamilton] was very quick with that.”

Longest stint comparison – second practice

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint:


Sebastian Vettel106.064104.991105.423105.73
Daniel Ricciardo105.159105.569105.736105.911105.796105.317106.88105.707104.845104.993
Lewis Hamilton104.783104.671117.429104.932104.439103.764103.894
Nico Rosberg105.014105.301104.708104.695104.777104.545105.05106.722
Fernando Alonso101.404114.653107.719100.889108.974106.866100.504
Kimi Raikkonen105.813105.635105.295104.994104.829105.966110.732
Romain Grosjean106.49105.863105.981107.04105.942105.775106.314
Pastor Maldonado108.398107.59107.054106.15106.24106.736106.288109.881106.757106.261106.052106.184
Jenson Button105.022105.34105.417105.471105.423105.028104.653104.245108.413
Kevin Magnussen105.265105.388104.789104.973105.321106.197104.849105.393104.954105.408104.444
Nico Hulkenberg105.417108.632105.727104.894105.804104.786105.677105.241105.396106.607
Sergio Perez105.889105.035105.69107.027105.339104.885105.059104.588
Adrian Sutil107.52105.797107.009106.321106.199105.982106.427106.817106.288106.594
Esteban Gutierrez108.267108.558107.666107.024107.157107.83106.564107.505109.642106.261107.363110.331106.384
Jean-Eric Vergne105.491116.009104.316114.843103.641112.126103.111123.069102.676111.698102.238
Daniil Kvyat101.697115.304101.741120.206101.108112.061101.306
Felipe Massa102.198121.039101.722118.46100.959118.375100.731
Valtteri Bottas101.543101.962110.001101.628101.388101.365110.502100.573
Max Chilton112.269109.985109.253110.583109.329
Marcus Ericsson115.783106.98106.357119.101106.379
Kamui Kobayashi111.082107.861107.832107.398109.765107.462109.786107.037111.863

Sector times and ultimate lap times – second practice

PosNo.DriverCarS1S2S3UltimateGapDeficit to best
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes35.488 (1)34.628 (1)29.434 (1)1’39.5500.080
26Nico RosbergMercedes35.708 (5)34.666 (2)29.747 (2)1’40.1210.5710.421
314Fernando AlonsoFerrari35.553 (2)34.963 (7)29.952 (4)1’40.4680.9180.036
420Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes35.733 (7)34.853 (5)29.908 (3)1’40.4940.9440.000
577Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes35.656 (3)34.821 (3)30.072 (7)1’40.5490.9990.024
626Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault35.729 (6)34.840 (4)30.014 (5)1’40.5831.0330.525
722Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes35.761 (8)34.872 (6)30.085 (9)1’40.7181.1680.000
819Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes35.703 (4)34.972 (8)30.056 (6)1’40.7311.1810.000
91Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault36.150 (13)35.170 (10)30.076 (8)1’41.3961.8460.000
107Kimi RaikkonenFerrari35.992 (9)35.211 (12)30.226 (11)1’41.4291.8790.201
1125Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault36.070 (11)35.203 (11)30.172 (10)1’41.4451.8950.086
1227Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes36.037 (10)35.115 (9)30.439 (15)1’41.5912.0410.086
1311Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes36.116 (12)35.533 (15)30.410 (14)1’42.0592.5090.031
143Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault36.313 (15)35.431 (13)30.317 (12)1’42.0612.5110.000
1599Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari36.214 (14)35.519 (14)30.363 (13)1’42.0962.5460.137
168Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault36.685 (18)35.628 (16)30.579 (17)1’42.8923.3420.000
1713Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault36.505 (16)35.705 (17)30.695 (18)1’42.9053.3550.000
1821Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari36.681 (17)35.814 (18)30.560 (16)1’43.0553.5050.000
199Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault37.089 (21)36.122 (19)30.924 (19)1’44.1354.5850.000
204Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari36.992 (20)36.249 (20)31.289 (21)1’44.5304.9800.000
2110Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault36.977 (19)36.613 (21)31.180 (20)1’44.7705.2200.182

Speed trap – second practice

#DriverCarEngineMax speed (kph)Gap
111Sergio PerezForce IndiaMercedes326
277Valtteri BottasWilliamsMercedes325.20.8
320Kevin MagnussenMcLarenMercedes325.10.9
427Nico HulkenbergForce IndiaMercedes324.81.2
522Jenson ButtonMcLarenMercedes324.31.7
644Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes323.62.4
719Felipe MassaWilliamsMercedes322.73.3
825Jean-Eric VergneToro RossoRenault322.43.6
926Daniil KvyatToro RossoRenault321.74.3
1013Pastor MaldonadoLotusRenault321.54.5
116Nico RosbergMercedesMercedes321.44.6
1214Fernando AlonsoFerrariFerrari320.65.4
137Kimi RaikkonenFerrariFerrari319.86.2
141Sebastian VettelRed BullRenault319.86.2
153Daniel RicciardoRed BullRenault319.76.3
1699Adrian SutilSauberFerrari319.66.4
178Romain GrosjeanLotusRenault318.27.8
1810Kamui KobayashiCaterhamRenault3179
1921Esteban GutierrezSauberFerrari315.910.1
209Marcus EricssonCaterhamRenault315.810.2
214Max ChiltonMarussiaFerrari310.615.4

Complete practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’42.3761’39.63052
2Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1’43.0261’40.49460
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’42.7201’40.50459
4Nico RosbergMercedes1’42.3111’40.54259
5Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’43.5421’40.57342
6Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’42.5071’40.71860
7Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’43.7411’40.73152
8Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’43.1641’41.10861
9Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’44.5061’41.39660
10Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault1’43.3271’41.53157
11Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’43.2121’41.63047
12Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’43.9761’41.67748
13Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’43.8211’42.06150
14Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’43.1291’42.09055
15Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1’44.6251’42.23357
16Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’45.1901’42.89255
17Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1’44.8761’42.90559
18Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’43.05533
19Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1’46.9221’44.13540
20Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1’47.2841’44.53055
21Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1’44.95227
22Sergey SirotkinSauber-Ferrari1’45.03222
23Roberto MerhiCaterham-Renault1’46.78218

2014 Russian Grand Prix

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Image © Red Bull/Getty

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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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14 comments on “Sochi expected to produce unusual race”

  1. click on Mag and Hamilton and the graph would have you think Mag is quicker lol.

  2. Indeed the track for now has slightly impressed but the D-day which is Sunday will be when the report cards will come in. Does Sochi have what it takes to produce an exciting race? It somehow looks like it but we have to wait a few more hours to find out.
    I must say that I was impressed to see the turn up and vibe at the place – through a TV screen – even for FP sessions on Friday. I did not see the Russians as motor sport enthusiasts. I guess I was wrong.
    ‘I took a very creative set-up for my car in the second practice session, which didn’t work out.’- Nico R.
    Is that code-speak for ‘Give me Hamilton’s car set-up’? So much for ‘super-intelligence’.
    Now on a totally different matter directed at Keith Kollantine, over the years that I have been visiting this website – daily except on very rare occasions, there is one thing which has always slightly bothered me and I always thought it’s not good for your traffic. Why do links posted here open on the same tab your website is on when clicked on instead of the webpage opening on another tab?
    It is frustrating because I have found myself to completely forget the article I was initially reading on F1fanatic before being led away by the new link.
    I think you may have to look into it cos I would want to keep my web visitors glued to my pages if the site were mine.
    I used to think you would fix this minor but irritating issue but with time…..I guess I had to ask.

    1. Just press shift and click :)

      1. Not SHIFT, but CTRL.

        1. Or middle mouse button

      2. @tata

        Or just middle-click.

  3. If fuel is going to be the limiting factor in performance, these “long” runs of 5-10 laps are not that illuminating. If there are no SCs, there will be much Hammertime for Lewis and many Hoagys for Nico. Rosberg is still using much more fuel than Hamilton.

    1. I’m not really buying this fuel will play a significant role thing. It played in Melbourne, fine, but then again it was only a minor issue at the other ‘thirsty’ tracks, such as Sakhir, Montreal and Singapore. And as far as I know people said Sochi would be ‘close’ to Singapore, not being as outright demanding as Melbourne was.

      1. Then again, those races were also distorted by safety car periods – to a certain extent, the performance of Alonso and both Red Bull drivers in the opening stages of the race was slightly flattering given that all three of them were using their fuel at a faster rate than Hamilton was at that stage of the race.

        Without safety cars intervening in all of those races, it is likely that you would have seen a more noticeable impact from drivers having to conserve fuel – much like in the 1980’s, where some drivers would use their fuel more rapidly in the opening stages and hope to open up a gap they could then manage, whilst others would be more conservative in the initial stages so they could use a higher engine setting in the closing laps of a race.

      2. Well, the SC argument definitely holds.

  4. I may consider putting Hulk in my predictions in that case. He always seemed to go well at Korea and this is almost identical. The Force India generally is excellent on its tyres and with the Merc engine the fuel consumption should theoretically be lower.

    1. Grid penalty.

  5. “…“I took a very creative set-up for my car in the second practice session, which didn’t work out.”

    “So we will go back to the conservative way for tomorrow, because we saw that Lewis [Hamilton] was very quick with that…”

    ‘Being creative, means that Nico is pondering that, whatever approach he used last races, it didn´t work.

  6. The solution is driving the F-e cars from the start of the race, then switch back to F1 cars in the first pit stop time..xD

Comments are closed.