Which F1 driver was the best performer during the Russian Grand Prix weekend?
Review how each driver got on below and vote for who impressed you the most during the last race weekend.
Russian Grand Prix driver-by-driver
Sebastian Vettel – Went out in Q2 for the fourth time this year. “The car felt nervous so I couldn’t take the speed into the corners,” he said, “I lost the rear many times around the lap.” He got ahead of his team mate at the start and passed the Toro Rossos, but dropped back behind Ricciardo in the pit stops and couldn’t take the fight to his team mate at the end.
Daniel Ricciardo – Continues to be frustrated by his starts – he lost four places on the first lap on Sunday. He said the tyres he started on were already “blistered” from their run in Q2, hence his early pit stop on lap 12. His pace was sufficient to move him back ahead of Vettel but as with many other drivers he found overtaking on the circuit difficult, and ended the race stuck behind Alonso.
Nico Rosberg – Seemed to be missing a couple of tenth to Hamilton all weekend long, though his first Q1 run put him in position to take pole. Having lost it to Hamilton, he dramatically locked his brakes while trying to pass his team mate at the start. That forced him to pit immediately, which would have been a significant disadvantage at any other circuit, but with tyre degradation so low he was able to run to the end on his medium tyres. He jumped ahead of several drivers when they pitted, and after passing Bottas had enough in hand to salvage second place.
Lewis Hamilton – Hamilton rarely looked troubled all weekend, with the possible exception of final practice when he spun off but fortunately did not hit anything. One Rosberg took himself out of contention Hamilton could afford to cruise to the flag and not take too much out of his car.
Fernando Alonso – A great first lap propelled Alonso to fourth place, but a front jack collapsed during his first pit stop which cost him a place to Magnussen’s McLaren. “I think that even without this problem I’d have finished in the same position,” he said, “because the McLarens were faster”.
Kimi Raikkonen – Raikkonen looked unhappy with his car’s handling on Friday, but was happier after overnight set-up changes on Saturday. He said he had to brake when he was squeezed by Kvyat at the start, after which he slipped back to 11th. By the end of the race he’d only taken places from the Toro Rossos for ninth place.
Romain Grosjean – Lotus were back behind the Saubers at Sochi and the weekend looked like a long, hard slog for Grosjean. He got into Q2 but said it was a “real struggle to find grip” in the car. In the race he tangled with Sutil for which he was handed a five-second penalty and, somewhat harshly, two penalty points.
Pastor Maldonado – His race engineer apologised for the “complete shambles” which led to his elimination in Q1. A series of technical problems delayed him on Saturday and forced a gearbox change which left him last on the grid. From there, despite being unhappy with the balance of his car, he ended the race behind his team mate, which was about all that could be done.
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Jenson Button – Looked quick on Friday and despite a hiccup on Saturday morning placed his McLaren fourth on the grid – his best since Silverstone. He came under pressure from Alonso in the opening laps, then pulled out a gap over the Ferrari driver. After his pit stop Button had a lonely run to fourth place.
Kevin Magnussen – Qualified sixth but was relegated five places due to a gearbox change penalty. The unit had failed during final practice, leading to a lurid moment in turn three where Magnussen did well to keep his car out of the barriers. After a good start he passed Vergne early in the race and took advantage of Alonso’s delay to claim fifth.
Nico Hulkenberg – Another driver who had to take a gearbox change penalty, Hulkenberg’s dropped him behind his team mate and left him 17th on the grid. Despite starting well and passing the Toro Rossos he ended the race outside the points, on the tail of Perez and Massa.
Sergio Perez – Had to strike a balance between his team’s increasingly urgent messages to save fuel and the pressure from Massa behind. He achieved it, bringing his car in tenth for the final point.
Adrian Sutil – Sutil found his car very short on grip on the medium compound tyres at the start of the race, and after switching to softs he had his incident with Grosjean. But even without that contact Sauber never looked like ending their grim, point-less run.
Esteban Gutierrez – Having to miss the first practice session at a new street circuit so Sergey Sirotkin could drive was tough, but Gutierrez edged ahead in the qualifying battle with his team mate. In the race he stayed out until lap 40 hoping a Safety Car appearance would play to his advantage, but it never happened.
Jean-Eric Vergne – Was perplexed as to why he couldn’t match his Q2 time in Q3, although he was far from the only driver – neither of the Mercedes did. He didn’t get off the line particularly well but a great run through turn three got him ahead of both Red Bulls and Magnussen. It couldn’t last, however, and he was soon passed by all three, but he gave Kvyat short shrift when his team mate tried to do the same. Both were destined to finish out of the points.
Daniil Kvyat – Having qualified a best-ever fifth he started poorly and was swamped by the big names he’d beaten on Saturday. But like his team mate his race was largely an exercise in fuel saving, and a second pit stop put paid to any hopes of a top ten finish at home.
Felipe Massa – An ill-timed fuel pressure problem meant Massa failed to make it out of Q1 and started a lowly 18th. Williams took the risk of starting him on the medium tyres and getting rid of them after one lap, which would have paid off had the Safety Car come out, but it didn’t. He got stuck behind Perez and finished out of the points.
Valtteri Bottas – After setting fastest times in the first and second sectors, Bottas looked on course for a shock pole position until his car got loose in the final sector. He reckoned second was the limit of what was possible, a view shared by the team’s head of performance engineering Rob Smedley. The same might have been said for his race, as he finished within four seconds of Rosberg, having initially suspected the Mercedes driver couldn’t complete the race without a second pit stop.
Max Chilton – Chilton had a terrible burden to should at Marussia, struggling on alone after Jules Bianchi’s fearful crash at Suzuka. Ten laps in he reported a problem the front-left of his car was behaving oddly, which the team traced to a fault at the right rear, and he retired from the race.
Kamui Kobayashi – Kobayashi’s abrupt retirement from the race in the pits on lap 22 prompted speculation that Caterham had purposefully withdrawn his car to save money, and the explanation that his brakes were overheating was a cover. The team as a whole covered around a third fewer laps than their rivals in practice – Kobayashi again sat out the first session so Roberto Merhi could drive – and Kobayashi was in last place when he retired.
Marcus Ericsson – Was very pleased with 17th on the grid, ahead of his team mate, Chilton and the trouble-hit Maldonado and Massa. He did not appear to suffer any of the mysterious brake problems that afflicted Kobayashi, and finished a twice-lapped 19th.
Qualifying and race results summary
|Driver||Started||Gap to team mate||Laps leading team mate||Pitted||Finished||Gap to team mate|
|Jean-Eric Vergne||9th||+0.743s||52/52||1||13th||Not on same lap|
|Daniil Kvyat||5th||-0.743s||0/52||2||14th||Not on same lap|
Review the race data
- 2014 Russian Grand Prix lap charts: Williams surprised by Mercedes pace
- 2014 Russian Grand Prix lap times and fastest laps: Rosberg sets second-fastest lap on 51-lap old tyres
- 2014 Russian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops: No reward for Massa’s Safety Car strategy gamble
Vote for your driver of the weekend
Which driver do you think did the best job this weekend?
Cast your vote below and explain your choice in the comments.
Who was the best driver of the 2014 Russian Grand Prix weekend?
- Sebastian Vettel (1%)
- Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
- Nico Rosberg (14%)
- Lewis Hamilton (35%)
- Fernando Alonso (1%)
- Kimi Raikkonen (0%)
- Romain Grosjean (0%)
- Pastor Maldonado (0%)
- Jenson Button (21%)
- Kevin Magnussen (7%)
- Sergio Perez (1%)
- Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
- Esteban Gutierrez (0%)
- Adrian Sutil (0%)
- Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
- Daniil Kvyat (1%)
- Felipe Massa (0%)
- Valtteri Bottas (16%)
- Max Chilton (1%)
- Kamui Kobayashi (0%)
- Marcus Ericsson (1%)
Total Voters: 611
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2014 Russian Grand Prix
- Sponsor Watch: 2014 Russian & Japanese Grands Prix
- Three-in-a-row for Hamilton in Driver of the Weekend
- First Russian GP gets one of the lowest-ever ratings
- 2014 Russian Grand Prix fans’ video gallery
- 2014 Russian Grand Prix team radio transcript
Images © Red Bull/Getty, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, McLaren, Caterham/LAT