Sebastian Vettel says that his Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen deserved to get better results in the first four races of 2017.
Vettel has won two races so far this season, but Raikkonen has finished on the podium just once. His third place in Sochi means the Finn is now 27 points in arrears to Vettel in the drivers championship.
"He probably didn't have the races he deserved," Vettel said this week.
"Things didn't go 100 per cent in his direction so far," the four-time world champion continued. "But I don't think there's any doubt inside the paddock that he's one of the most talented drivers we have.
"I don't think there's anyone who doubts his skills or his talent," he added. "I don't think anybody else could go to WRC and perform at the level he did, just come back and be right up to the pace again.
"You need to have a lot of things coming your way," he pointed out.
"If you look back last year, I had some races where things didn't come way. It's up and down. But usually throughout the season it sort of equals out."
Raikkonen has been fending off speculation that he's out of favour with Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne. Getting into the top three in the Russian Grand Prix certainly came at the right time for him,
It was "a more positive weekend compared to the first three races," Raikkonen said after the race.
"Obviously I’m happy for the podium. But I’m disappointed to lose a place at the start instead of gaining one," he added. "Now we need to keep working; small details can make a big difference in the end."