Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2017

Bottas ends 2,000-day wait for victory

2017 Russian Grand Prix stats and factsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Valtteri Bottas had been waiting over 2,000 days for a victory when he took his breakthrough grand prix win yesterday.

His Russian Grand Prix triumph came 2,044 days since the last time he took the chequered flag in first place. That was in a British Formula Three race at Donington Park in 2011, where he finished ahead of fellow future F1 drivers Felipe Nasr (tenth) and Kevin Magnussen (16th). But Felipe Massa has been waiting even longer – over 3,000 days have passed since his last victory.

Appropriately Bottas shared the podium yesterday with Kimi Raikkonen. The Ferrari driver and his manager Steve Robertson set up the Double R team which Bottas scored his previous win for.

It took Bottas 81 grand prix starts to score his first victory. That’s the joint tenth-longest wait, tying him with Eddie Irvine. However it’s 30 races less than his predecessor at Mercedes took to win his first race:

Driver Races before first win First win
Mark Webber 130 2009 German Grand Prix
Rubens Barrichello 124 2000 German Grand Prix
Jarno Trulli 117 2004 Monaco Grand Prix
Jenson Button 113 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix
Nico Rosberg 111 2012 Chinese Grand Prix
Giancarlo Fisichella 110 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix
Mika Hakkinen 96 1997 European Grand Prix
Thierry Boutsen 95 1989 Canadian Grand Prix
Jean Alesi 91 1995 Canadian Grand Prix
Eddie Irvine 81 1999 Australian Grand Prix
Valtteri Bottas 81 2017 Russian Grand Prix

Bottas became the 107th different driver to win a race. He is also the fifth Finnish driver to win a race out of the nine who have started races – a remarkable strike rate. Of the other four race-winning Finns only one, Heikki Kovalainen, did not go on to win the world championship. He, of course, was also Lewis Hamilton’s team mate at the time.

Start, Magny-Cours, 2008
Ferrari occupied the front row for the first time since 2008
It was a close finish: Bottas crossed the line just 0.617 seconds ahead of Vettel. That’s almost the same margin the last first-time winner had over second place: Max Verstappen beat Raikkonen in Spain by 0.616s last year.

This was one of three races in 2016 where the leaders finished closer together than they did yesterday. Nico Rosberg beat Daniel Riccardo in Singapore by 0.488 seconds and Hamilton headed Rosberg by 0.439s in Abu Dhabi as he tried in vain to help someone overtake his team mate.

Mercedes sustained their perfect record of victories in the Russian Grand Prix, having won all four races. However their run of pole positions in this event was broken by Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari. He also became the first non-Mercedes driver to lead the Russian Grand Prix, which he did for the first time on lap 27.

We’ve now gone four races without the same team winning two in a row. This hasn’t happened since the middle of 2013, when Mercedes traded victories with Red Bull.

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Vettel and Raikkonen gave further indication of Ferrari’s potential in 2017 by locking out the front row of the grid. This was the team’s first since the 2008 French Grand Prix, 127 races ago. Mercedes had only been beaten to pole position once in each of the previous three seasons.

Mercedes therefore didn’t have a car on the front row for the first time since the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix. Their 30-race run of front row starts is the third-longest of all time, behind the 35 Williams managed from 1992 to 1994. Their 18-race streak of pole positions, also the third-longest of all time, ended too. Hamilton missed out on the podium for the first time in the last eight races.

Sergio Perez, Force India, Sochi Autodrom, 2017
Perez just keeps racking up the points
However Sergio Perez did continue his streak of points finishes which is now up to 14 in a row. Esteban Ocon looked on course to take his fourth tenth place finish in a row when he qualified tenth, but slipped up in the race and finished seventh.

Sergey Sirotkin’s practice appearance for Renault was a disappointment as his car broke down on its second lap during practice. He only managed ten laps when he last drove for them in Brazil as well.

Nor might the crowd have been very pleased with the amount of action they saw. With neither of F1’s official support series on duty at Sochi, spectators saw two hours and nine minutes of racing over three days at the track. The grand prix lasted just under an hour and a half while the two Mitjet 2L support races took 20 minutes.

F1’s new commercial boss Sean Bratches described the weekend as “the first time the Russian Grand Prix has been turned in to a fully-fledged motorsport festival”. It seems these motorsport festivals don’t include much in the way of racing.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Russian Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.

2017 Russian Grand Prix

Browse all 2017 Russian Grand Prix articles

50 comments on “Bottas ends 2,000-day wait for victory”

  1. Only one on-track overtake after lap 1 must be the first time in a long time. I have been watching virtually every race since 2009, and I don’t think it was ever even close to so few overtakes.

    1. If I recall correctly, the 2009 European Grand Prix had no overtakes after lap 1. The 1999 Spanish Grand prix also only had 1 overtake.

  2. 33 – the number of journalists killed in Russia during Putin’s reign

    1. I think you’ve got the wrong website…

    2. Damage done to our planet, to the water we drink, to the animals we eat and don’t eat, to the ecosystem as a whole, by each of F1’s oil companies = beyond measure…

      Number of people killed in wars lobbied for by F1’s oil companies = millions upon millions…

      I can go on…

      1. Bordom from lack of overtaking … immeasurable.

  3. The last time a Finn won, Kimi was still driving for Ferrari and finished 3rd.

    Second race in a row, a team had a 1-2 lockout of the front row but failed to win the race. The last time this happened in consecutive races was the 2014 Canadian and Austrian Grand Prix where Mercedes and Williams front-row lockouts led to a Red Bull and Mercedes victory respectively. These are the only two instances of consecutive 1-2s not resulting in a race win since 2010 (I haven’t checked pre-2010 as race-fuel qualifying means that the chances of this happening are very high).

    1. I didn’t know kimi finished third for ferrari in australia 13?

      1. Sorry, I meant the last time a new Finn won :)

  4. @keithcollantine

    Esteban Ocon looked on course to take his fourth tenth place finish in a row when he qualified tenth, but slipped up in the race and finished seventh.

    :)

    Max Verstappen beat Raikkonen in Sopain by 0.616s last year.

    ?

    1. Sopain

      1. @davidnotcoulthard lovely place Sopain, good ham. Or as the locals call it: “hoam”. :P

        1. @fer-no65 Oh no, I’ve been calling it joamon!

          @davidnotcoulthard Fixed, ta :-)

  5. It’s the first time in the hybrid era that a team has had three different winners. Mercedes have now had 3, Red Bull 2, and Ferrari 1.

    1. @strontium And Bottas is the only driver to have been on the podium in the hybrid era with two teams.

      1. @xtwl Vettel’s been on the podium with Red Bull and Ferrari

        1. My mistake.

      2. I think this might be the first podium in the hybrid era where two of the drivers on the podium had also finished on the podium for a different team? Bottas has previously finished on the podium several times for Williams, as Vettel had for Red Bull in 2014 before moving to Maranello. Most of the other regular podium finishers from the start of 2014 (Hamilton, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, even Massa and Perez) have only driven for one constructor in this time.

        Also, Valtteri Bottas becomes the third new winner of the hybrid era, and the first driver to do so in this time for a team other than Red Bull, with the other new winners being Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

  6. If Hamilton does not finish on the podium in Spain it’ll be his first two consecutive finishes not on the podium since 2013, wow.

    I also think Sochi continues its record for having the driver on pole never being the first at T1.

    1. 3rd is probably the best place to start here – Clean side of the grid, and get the slipstream of the pole sitter

    2. @xtwl
      Don’t think your second point is correct. I believe it was 2015, Rosberg was on pole and led into turn one, losing the lead around lap 4 with mechanical issues before retiring… from the race ;)

  7. I find it interesting that both Bottas and Rosberg joined Mercedes from Williams to get their 1st F1 wins.

    1. Willams drivers take note.

      1. That’s just mean @jureo.

    2. Also this day in 2010 Rosberg was 2nd in the drivers championship with Williams.

      1. Correction – Rosberg was with Mercedes in 2010 ;)

  8. Verstappen spent the whooooooole race (from T1) in 5th place.

    And during long stints he had a buffer of 25sec to both the car in front and the car behind.
    As this was such a boring race we should have played a game on Verstappen: all cars to pit and hide in the garage boxes with all the crew, and just after he passes all spectators to leave the grandstands.
    Imagine how VES would feel suddenly all alone in Sochi ;)

    1. @f1-liners That is really unusual. Good spot!

    2. @f1-liners good spot indeed. I saw the interview with him where he was explaining this. He indeed saw no cars anywhere around him at pretty much any point after the first few laps

    3. Sundar Srinivas Harish
      2nd May 2017, 17:11

      Jigsaw: “Do you want to play a game?”
      Max: “What?”
      Jigsaw: “Find another driver, or lose your brakes.”

  9. Is it just me or is France 2008 not 168 races ago? Many, even the sports twitter account have been stating this, when in fact it’s 127 Kimi Raikkonen races since France 2008. I think this stat was first posted when Raikkonen was on provisional pole and then because it was also the last time Ferrari had a 1-2 in qualifying, there has been some confusion.

    1. @sward28 Kimi missed the 2010 and 2011 seasons, (totaling 38 races). He also missed the last two races of the 2013 season. This is the 40 race discrepancy between the him and Ferrari.

      1. @dragon86 I understand that, that’s the point I was trying to make. Everyone has been saying it has been 127 races since Ferrari was last locked out the front row. When in reality that is the amount of Raikkonen races since he was last on pole. It’s been 168 races since France 2008 overall.

  10. Levente (@leventebandi)
    1st May 2017, 16:20

    The last double Finnish podium was also 2008 Hungary if my stats not lying, and RAI was also 3rd there

  11. I don’t have the data required to do it, but I’d be really interested in seeing, over the last 20 years or so, how dominant a single team’s been vs. how long a new F1 driver “waits” for victory.

    I realize that no one’s saying, “Oh, how long a driver “waits” for victory is a proxy for how talented they are,” but it sort of feels like that’s the point of the stat. But these days, if you’re not in a Merc, Ferrari, or Red Bull… good luck trying to win.

    As far as I can tell, you’ve gotta go back to March 2013 when Raikkonen won for Lotus to find a non-Merc/RB/Ferrari win *at all*… which is before Bottas even came to F1.

    Which means basically, “winning” = working your way into one of those three teams (or unfortunately opting for McLaren, which … yeah).

    So it’s a strange stat. It’s basically, “Are you one of six drivers actually fighting for wins?” and if not, “How fast can you get into one of the top-flite teams?” Because absent that, Raikkonen and *Maldonado* are your only real “wildcard” winners since 2012.

    IMO, basically a better “metric” would be, “If you’re in a car that *can* win, how long did it take you to actually win?” By that measure, Bottas did alright. :D

    1. And as an addendum, how depressing is it that since 2013, literally only three teams have won races? I really hope that Ross Brawn’s able to make F1 a sport where more teams are fighting for all out victories, instead of “best of our funding group” battles.

      1. @helava, there have been long periods in the past when the sport was effectively dominated by four teams – Williams, McLaren, Ferrari and Benetton/Renault. Between Senna’s victory for Lotus in the 1987 Detroit Grand Prix and Panis’s victory for Ligier in the 1996 Monaco GP, those four teams took every single race victory over a period of nearly nine years.

        The problem is that, to some extent, the length of dominance periods isn’t necessarily reflected in the “time to first race win” stat because the length of the seasons has markedly increased in recent years. Irvine and Bottas, for example, may tie in terms of number of races until first win, but Irvine had been around in the sport for a season longer than Bottas before he got his first win, so it’s not an entirely straightforward comparison.

  12. Worse still, the Earth has been waiting 1,658,195,216,003 days for Bottas to win a Formula 1 race.

    1. Plus 17 hours 22 minutes and exactly 16,567453468986543 seconds

  13. Is it true that Bottas has beaten his teammates every time in Russia?

    1. Nope, as Massa’s 4th place finish in 2015 is higher than a DNF/12th place classification.

  14. This was Alonso’s only 2nd DNS in his entire career- the first being the infamous USA 2005 GP, of course.

    1. Erik Torsner
      2nd May 2017, 8:49

      …and tomorrow he will be in a private test at that very track. Slightly different layout though.

  15. @keithcollantine: There’s a big one missing: Pérez got his first Formula 1 record. He’s become the new holder of the record for most points without a win, with 389. Before Sunday the holder was Bottas with 449.

    Second in that list and very close to Pérez is now Hulk with 368, so we can expect both guys to “fight” each other for the record throughout the season.

    1. Good one

  16. Bottas has qualified in third place in every modern Russian Grand Prix (though he started in second in 2016 due to Vettel’s grid penalty for a gearbox change).

  17. Didn’t Bottas have the record for most podiums without a victory? Or most points without a victory?

    Which now have gone back to Nick Heidfeld?

  18. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    2nd May 2017, 13:21

    What I love about how Valtteri reacted to what was undeniably the high watermark of his career to date, is that it was understated beyond even Finnish convention. Underpinning that moment was a starkly vivid relief tinged with a subtle frustration that he had not managed to win previously. It was a race that says tremendous things about his ability to attain higher things: 1) he clearly has a tremendous belief in his own ability, and 2) when opportunity came knocking, unlike Hamilton’s last Finnish teammate, he was able to produce his best performance level when the stakes were higher than ever.

    I think we all took a somewhat cynical view of Bottas’ reportedly troubled Bahrain race. Yes, he evidently suffered with the tyre pressures in the first stint, but the fact that his pace never truly recovered was rather symptomatic of a driver overcome by the occasion of his first pole position. Compound that with an influx of harsh and evidently unnecessary questions about #2 drivers from the assembled press, and you would say that the pressure had never been higher for Valtteri coming into the weekend.

    He responded with cool, calm, cognizent clarity, and produced his best form and focus under pressure as only the greatest racing drivers can. Super impressive…

  19. Pretty sure it’s been mentioned before (perhaps even recently?) but last non-Merc/Fer/RBR win was Australia 2013; last 81 races won by 3 teams.

  20. Bottas is one of 9 drivers to manage exactly 1 pole and exactly 1 win (obviously he may add to these tallies). The other 8: Pat Flaherty, Jo Bonnier, Lorenzo Bandini, Carlos Pace, Vittorio Brambilla, Robert Kubica, Heikki Kovalainen, and Pastor Maldonado. Only Flaherty, Bonnier, and Maldonado managed both pole and win in the same race.

    2nd year in a row that Hamilton’s streak of 8 podiums (which started in the previous season’s Japanese GP) ended in the race after the Bahrain GP.

    Vettel’s pole means that the only current tracks on which he has never been on pole are Baku, Barcelona, Mexico City, and Red Bull Ring. He has also never been on pole at former circuits Fuji, Indianapolis, Magny Cours, and Nurburgring (the first 3 of which he only raced at in his Toro Rosso days).

    The top 3 drivers in the Championship are separated by 23 points – the closest after 4 races since 2012.

    Since 2003, every time the Finnish anthem has been played on the podium, Raikkonen has been on the podium.

    First time since 1995 that 2 teams have each scored 2 wins in the first 4 races of a season.

    Vettel’s 90th podium, scored at the same circuit that Hamilton managed his 90th at last year.

    Fourth highest car number to win a race, after #101 (Ascari in Germany 1952), #99 (Wallard in Indy 500 1951), and #98 (Ruttman in Indy 500 1952).

    The two most recent wins by Finnish drivers have come in Bottas’ first race and his most recent race.

    21st different circuit at which Vettel has achieved pole, moving ahead of Senna and Mansell – only Hamilton (24) and Prost (22) have more.

    First time since China 2007 that Ferrari have topped all 3 practice sessions.

    Ferrari have had as many front-row starts in 2017 as they managed in the whole of 2014-16 (4).

    First Russian GP not to feature a Williams in the top 4.

    First time Vettel and Raikkonen have shared the front row.

    Hulkenberg’s points mean that the only track that he has raced at but not scored points is Istanbul (which he only raced at in 2010).

    Thanks to formula1.com, statsf1.com, and magnetimarelli.com for some of these.

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