Besides some first lap chaos and penalty drama for Lewis Hamilton, Sochi delivered something of a snoozefest that won’t live long in the memory of Formula 1 fans.

Here’s how we rated each driver in F1’s Russian Grand Prix…

Valtteri Bottas (Qualified 2nd, finished 1st) – 8

Bottas needed something to go his way after a string of frustrating defeats to Hamilton and in Sochi, it finally did. It was not a vintage Bottas display by any means - particularly in qualifying when he ended up over six-tenths behind his teammate - but in the race he was drove fast and faultlessly. After claiming a ‘massive’ bee had distracted him from overtaking Hamilton at the start, the Finn capitalised on his teammate’s rare error and subsequent penalty to leave Hamilton with an irritating sting.

Max Verstappen (Qualified 2nd, finished 2nd) – 10

Verstappen once again got the max out of his car in both qualifying and the race to bounce back from two frustrating DNFs in style. His lap to split the Mercedes duo on Saturday was stunning, and on Sunday he extracted everything from his Red Bull to ensure he remained ahead of the penalised Hamilton and hand the Milton Keynes squad a long-awaited podium in Russia.

Lewis Hamilton (Qualified 1st, finished 3rd) – 6

An uncharacteristically error-strewn weekend from Hamilton meant Michael Schumacher’s record of most race wins continues to stand for now. Hamilton claimed his 96th career pole on Saturday after coming within a second of qualifying 15th as a result of a series of errors, before making more before the race had even begun on Sunday. A practice-start violation resulted in Hamilton picking up a 10-second time penalty that left him putting in a recovery effort to third as he conceded 11 points to Bottas in the title fight.


Sergio Perez (Qualified 4th, finished 4th) – 10

Perez starred to claim a brilliant fourth in qualifying and converted that into his best result of the season by finishing in the position he started. The Mexican did not have things easy, however, after he struggling to get off the line on the dirty side of the track at Sochi and subsequently dropping places. Having made up for his start, Perez turned in a stellar drive to climb back up to fourth, including a breath-taking pass on Ricciardo at Turn 4. Maximised everything from his RP20.

Daniel Ricciardo (Qualified 5th, finished 5th) – 9

Ricciardo will have been irked to have been pipped to fourth by Perez in qualifying, but Renault ultimately was slightly slower than Racing Point in Sochi as Perez also beat him in the race. The Australian nonetheless enjoyed a strong race, picking up fifth having overturned a five-second time penalty he received for illegally running wide at Turn 2 when passing teammate Esteban Ocon.

Charles Leclerc (Qualified 11th, finished 6th) – 10

Got everything and more out of his slightly updated Ferrari package on his way to his best finish in five races. Bounced back from the disappointment of missing out on a spot in Q3 in style and hailed Ferrari’s “good step forward” in Russia. Was arguably lucky to avoid a penalty for punting Stroll off on the first lap but Leclerc still turned in one of the best drives of the day.

Esteban Ocon (Qualified 7th, finished 7th) – 7

Ocon was comprehensively beaten by teammate Ricciardo all weekend and will come away frustrated not to have capitalised on the Australian’s five-second time penalty. Despite a promising start and some stern defending throughout, Ocon ultimately couldn’t get past Leclerc and had to settle for P7.


Daniil Kvyat (Qualified 12th, finished 8th) – 9

A dream drive for Kvyat at his home race as he charged into the points with a strong drive that will have helped his bid to retain his seat amid some eye-catching performances from Red Bull’s impressive F2 protégé Yuki Tsunoda. The decision to start on Hards proved correct and eventually helped him finish ahead of his AlphaTauri teammate.

Pierre Gasly (Qualified 9th, finished 9th) – 8

Gasly lost out to his teammate on strategy but was able to recover from being dropped into traffic under a late Safety Car following a pit stop with a solid fightback into the points. The Frenchman will have found it particularly satisfying to get one over on Red Bull’s Albon by beating him to ninth.

Alex Albon (Qualified 10th, finished 10th) – 4

After the high of his maiden F1 podium at Mugello, Albon was brought back down to earth in Sochi. The Thai racer was off the pace all weekend and was demolished by Verstappen in qualifying, finishing over a full second down. Fought back from a gearbox penalty and P15 start to claim the final point on offer and picked up a time penalty to cap off a difficult race.

Antonio Giovinazzi (Qualified 17th, finished 11th) – 8

Giovinazzi turned the tables on teammate Raikkonen largely thanks to the Finn’s costly spin in Q1, but he turned in a fine drive on Sunday to claim his best result in some time. A brilliant start to leap up to 12th was key, and the Italian ended up beating Magnussen’s Haas to 11th.


Kevin Magnussen (Qualified 18th, finished 12th) – 7

Magnussen’s rocket ship-esque start saw him leap up the order in a stunning first lap. He hovered around the points-paying positions for the majority of the race but was beaten by Giovinazzi late on. Little more the Dane could have done given Haas’ current level of performance.

Sebastian Vettel (Qualified 15th, finished 13th) – 5

Vettel was considerably slower than Leclerc in qualifying and the race and was left with a difficult task on his hands after pushing the limits and crashing on Saturday. Starting 14th, Vettel struggled with tyre management compared to his teammate and only had a brief stint inside the points when others pitted. That Aston Martin switch can’t come soon enough for Vettel.

Kimi Raikkonen (Qualified 20th, finished 14th) – 6

Raikkonen will probably not remember the day he became the joint-most experienced F1 driver in history, equalling Rubens Barrichello on 322 race starts. Worked his way up the order from a 19th place start following his error in Q1 but was ultimately hampered by a slow pit stop that truncated his progress. Ended up getting stuck behind Vettel and couldn’t make a move.

Lando Norris (Qualified 8th, finished 15th) – 7

Finishing 15th after starting P8 doesn’t look much to write home about, but Norris put in a heroic effort after getting caught up in the Lap 1 mess and having to take evasive action to avoid his out-of-control teammate Sainz. Ran over debris that forced him into an early stop at the end of the first lap. Norris fought hard for the lower reaches of the points but ultimately was left to rue a mistake late on as his pace faded on ageing tyres in a damaged car.


Nicholas Latifi (Qualified 19th, finished 16th) – 7

Was a full second slower than teammate Russell in qualifying but made up for his Saturday pace deficit with a strong drive that saw him overcome the Briton in the race. Got past Russell early on and held off a non-Williams car in the shape of Grosjean’s Haas to take 16th.

Romain Grosjean (Qualified 16th, finished 17th) – 5

Content that he had got everything out of his car in qualifying as he narrowly missed out on a spot in Q2, Grosjean climbed as high as 10th in the opening stint. But the Frenchman’s race fell apart as he struggled with the balance of his Haas, running wide and taking out the Turn 2 bollards among a series of errors as he fell down the order.

George Russell (Qualified 13th, finished 18th) – 6

F1’s ‘Mr Saturday’ returned to Q2 for the sixth time this season with a sublime qualifying lap. But Russell’s hard work was ultimately undone thanks to a scrappy start in the race which saw him run wide at Turn 2 and drop to the very back of the grid. Struggled to match Latifi’s pace and had to make a second stop after ruining his tyres.

Carlos Sainz (Qualified 6th, DNF)

Sainz’s great qualifying – despite not running McLaren’s updated nose and front wing package – was undone by a woeful misjudgement as he ran wide and clattered the wall as he attempted to navigate through the blocks at Turn 2. A real schoolboy error.

Lance Stroll (Qualified 12th, DNF)

Stroll was unfortunate to see an overheating problem relating to his engine curtail his chances of joining Perez in Q3 on Saturday, and his race lasted a mere four corners before he was sent spinning into the barriers and into a premature retirement by Leclerc.