The 2022 Russian Grand Prix will be the ninth and final running of the event in the seaside city of Sochi. The race somehow still feels new still, even though it was over 30 years in the planning. Bernie Ecclestone held talks with Soviet leader Brezhnev about bringing F1 to the Russian capital after the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
The initial seven-year contract for the race was bankrolled by the national government, with strong support from Vladimir Putin. With the event’s place on the calendar already confirmed until 2020, the promoter signed a 5-year contract extension in 2017 which will see the Russian Grand Prix held until at least 2025. However, the event will move to a new home – Igora Drive – in 2023. Sadly, the Hermann Tilke-designed Sochi Autodrom has not been popular among fans or drivers due to the lack of overtaking opportunities and subsequent processional races.
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In 2020, the Russian Grand Prix was one of few races on the calendar not to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The event was held on its original scheduled date, and took place in front of spectators. Due to social distancing, Sochi Autodrom opened its doors to around 50% of its usual capacity. An estimated 30,000 fans attended on each day of the race weekend. The Russian Grand Prix went ahead with a 50% capacity crowd in 2021, with tickets for the event selling out. The race came to a dramatic conclusion due to a change in weather conditions. Lando Norris recorded his maiden pole position and led most of the race – but rain in the closing stages saw Lewis Hamilton overtake the McLaren driver and record his 100th Formula 1 win.
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Mercedes has won all eight Russian Grands Prix to date. Lewis Hamilton has five wins, whilst Valtteri Bottas has won twice and Nico Rosberg took one win.
Ferrari and McLaren are the only teams other than Mercedes to have taken pole position at the Sochi Autodrom. Ferrari took pole with Sebastian Vettel in 2017 and Charles Leclerc in 2019, while Lando Norris took pole with McLaren in 2021.
There has been a Russian driver present at every running of the Russian Grand Prix so far. While Daniil Kvyat took part in all four races between 2014 and 2017, with a best finish of 5th in 2015, Sergey Sirotkin raced with Williams here in 2018. Kvyat’s comeback to the Red Bull junior team ensured that a Russian driver was on the grid again in 2019 and 2020, while Nikita Mazepin became the latest Russian driver to race on home soil in 2021.
At 5.848km long, the Sochi circuit is the fourth longest on the current F1 calendar behind Spa Francorchamps, Baku and Silverstone. Around 30% of the circuit is used as public roads when racing is not taking place.
Sochi is one of eight cities to have hosted the Olympics and a Formula 1 Grand Prix; the others are Melbourne, Montreal, Barcelona and Mexico City (all current F1 cities), plus historic venues in Berlin (AVUS), Los Angeles (Long Beach), and Rio de Janeiro (Jacarepaqua).
Drivers starting from second and fourth in the Russian Grand Prix have never failed to score points in the race.
Nine different drivers have finished on the podium at the Russian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton has had the most top three appearances, with seven.
Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez have scored in every running of the Russian Grand Prix to date.
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Race first held
5.848km (18 turns)
53 laps (309.732km)
1:35.761, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes, 2019)
1st Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:30:41.001
2nd Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +53.271s
3rd Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +1:02.475s
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