Like all F1 drivers, Restov began karting at a young age. Despite the intense pressure that went with his famous surname, Restov won the Russian national title in 1998, his 4th season of competing, at just 10 years of age. As his childhood progressed, Restov won more and more junior karting titles, most notably in 2002 winning the Monaco Junior Cup, and in 2003 coming 4th overall in the Karting World Championships. For 2004 he progressed to Formula Renault GB, and in his first season proved himself to be a solid driver, finishing 7th in the championship. 2005 saw him mount a serious title challenge, but a run of misfortune mid-season cost him the title. In 2006 he made the jump up to F3 Euroseries, where in a competitive field he surprised many by finishing 2nd in the championship in his debut season, winning the prestigious Bahrain SuperPrix in the same yaer. He moved up to World Series by Renault for 2007, where he won the title at a canter, thus opening the door to GP2. In 2008 he was a consistent front-runner, finishing 3rd overall, and in 2009 he annihilated the opposition, taking the title at a canter.
Graduation to F1
For 2010, Restov secured a testing berth with BMW-Sauber, which nearly turned into a race-seat, as Christian Klien was threatened with the sack on multiple occasions, but managed to retain his seat. Nevertheless, Restov had managed to get his foot into the door of F1, and was being talked about as a huge talent for the future.
Restov was offered a race seat by strugglers USF1 for 2011, in a move motivated my money more than anything. Restov acquitted himself well, going 3rd fastest in his first run in the car in pre-season, setting a time over 2 seconds faster than team-mate Giedo van der Garde. He made his F1 debut in Bahrain, where he qualified 22nd, 2 places ahead of van der Garde, and finished a solid 15th, 3 places and 11 seconds ahead of his team-mate. This set the tone for Restov's half season partnership with van der Garde, and the Dutchman was dismissed halfway through the season due to being comprehensively beaten by Restov- in the 10 races they were together, Restov was never out-qualified or out-raced by him. The season was a struggle for Restov, as the underfunded team lacked pace and direction. Despite this, Restov still managed to pick up some decent results- his 3rd in Detroit was impressive, if down to attrition, but his superb drive to 9th in Suzuka hinted at his potential. Midway through the season, Jan van der Maeyede was brought in to replace van der Garde, and was immediately on the pace; Restov later admitted that his drop-off in pace relative to van der Maeyede was down to a mixture of upgrades not working for his driving style, and discontentment at the team's relative lack of progress. He also raised the ire of team management after taking his own team-mate out of the race at Monaco, resulting in a suspended two race ban, which expired before it could be enforced. He did manage to arrest his mid-season slump by picking up a further point at Donington, managing to keep Jenson Button's Red Bull behind in the closing laps, and he was within half a second of nabbing points in Lausitz. Towards the end of the season, it was rumoured that he would move to Renault to replace the underperforming Alexandre-Laurent Voeckler, but nothing came of the rumours. Restov finished his debut season 25th overall, with 18 points, and USF1 finished 12th out of 13 constructors, with 23 points.
Following the culmination of the 2011 season, it was announced that USF1 would cease competing in F1, due to a lack of funds. Thus, Restov found himself back as a free agent; he wouldn't remain one for long though, as Sauber very quickly swooped to resign the young Russian alongside Pastor Maldonado. Team morale was high following an impressive 2011, and with the Sauber C30 looking impressive in pre-season, hopes were high. Restov struggled to utilise the C30's qualifying pace, and never was this more evident than at the season openers in Bahrain; both qualifying sessions saw Maldonado break the top 5, with Restov struggling to crack the top 10. In race 2, he showed his skill, scything through the field to finish 3rd, although he was penalised for a collision with Maldonado and the resultant penalty dropped him to 4th. By the time F1 reached Fuji, Restov had managed to sort out his qualifying problems, and lined up 6th for race 1; the highest qualifying position ever reached by a Russian at the time. In the second race, he picked up another 4th position following another storming drive through the pack. He drove well in Korea, picking up a solid 6th in race 1, before going one better in race 2. In the second race at Istanbul, Restov equalled his career best qualifying with 6th, and following a blistering start, found himself in a position to win the race. A dramatic move on Takuma Sato on the last lap gave him the lead, and he held on to pick up his first win in F1, becoming the first Russian to win in F1 at the same time. At the next race in Mugello, he qualified on the front row of the grid, fractionally missing out on pole to Button in the Red Bull; he went on to finish a solid 4th. At Monaco Restov was knocked out in Q1 for the first time since his USF1 days, but he showed good maturity to work his way back up to 9th place on the track where overtaking is notoriously difficult. Race 2 saw him back on form, qualifying 4th and finishing 3rd. At Donington he was unable to repeat his Istanbul antics, but 2nd behind Sato was still impressive; so much so that his 10th in race 2 was seen as a disappointment. Restov had a torrid time in Canada; cooling issues cost him big points in race 1, while an early retirement in race 2 meaning no points at the race meeting. Restov looked out of sorts in America as well, only managing an 8th and a 9th, although it was later revealed that he was suffering from mild food poisoning over the race weekend. He was back on form in Lausitz, picking up a 6th and another 3rd place, keeping him in the title hunt as a slight outsider. Valencia saw another pointless weekend for Restov, with transmission robbing him of a podium in race 1, and a collision saw his car damaged and suffer from loss of pace in race 2. Restov made amends at Monza, picking up a 4th and a 3rd and in race 1 picked up his first career fastest lap. In the first race at Abu Dhabi, Restov was extremely lucky not to be banned, following a dangerous move on James James Davies; he was subjected to a hefty fine following the incident, and it was a much subdued Restov who drove to 7th in race 2. He picked up another solid 5th in India, but it could have been a 3rd but for a time penalty. Uruguay saw Restov pick up another 7th in race 1, but race 2 was his making. He annexed pole, made a brilliant start and lead every lap, setting fastest lap in the process. Before the Brazilian Grands Prix, Restov agreed to help Maldonado with his title charge, and this was evident in race 1 as he waved Maldonado through, before spinnig out of a potential 5th place. Race 2 saw him secure pole position, and although he handed the win to Maldonado, he made sure everyone know who was the fastest driver on the day by closing up to Maldonado in the closing laps. In the final races of the season in Singapore, Restov came 2nd in race 1, with fastest lap to boot, and 7th in race 2. Restov finished 4th overall, with 267 points, and Sauber won the Constructors Championship, with 586 points.
Following his impressive 2012, Restov was immediately in demand, but turned down a move to Ferrari and ignored rumours linking him to Red Bull and Mercedes by signing a contract extension with Sauber. He was assigned the number 7 for 2013, and was partnered by the 2011 champion, Robert Kubica. At the season opener in Bahrain, Restov qualified 7th and drove solidly to finish 6th, before taking pole and finishing second in race 2. He struggled in Malaysia, struggling over one lap in both qualifying sessions as he failed to crack the top 10 in either session, and only managing to pick up 4 points over the course of the weekend.
Complete Formula One Grand Prix results
|2011||Office Depot USF1 Group||USF1 US3||Honda RA005E||BAH||USA||JPN||KOR||TUR||ESP||MON||GBR||IRE||EUR||GER||HUN||ITA||URU||BRA||SIN||IND||ABU||25th||18|
|2012||Sauber F1 Team||C30||Ferrari Type 056||BAH||MAL||JPN||KOR||TUR||EUR||MON||GBR||CAN||USA||GER||ESP||ITA||ABU||IND||URU||BRA||SIN||4th||267|
|2013||Sauber F1 Team||C31||Ferrari Type 057||BAH||MAL||JPN||TUR||AUT||IRE||MON||ESP||USA||CAN||GBR||ITA||POR||GER||KOR||IND||ABU||SIN||7th||206|
|2014||Scuderia Ferrari Kapersky Lab||F2014||Ferrari Type 058||BAH||MAL||BRA||MEX||USA||CAN||GBR||ESP||AUT||TUR||GER||POR||ITA||ABU||IND||CHI||KOR||JPN||SIN||17th||70|
|2015||Scuderia Ferrari||F2015||Ferrari Type 058||BAH||MAL||BRA||MEX||USA||CAN||GBR||GER||ESP||RUS||AUT||ITA||CYP||ABU||IND||JPN||KOR||SIN||CHI||14th||72|
|2016||Team Calinetic Petronas||F1-CAL1||Mercedes PU104B||BAH||IND||BRA||MEX||PAC||CYP||HUN||GER||GBR||RUS||AUT||ITA||EUR||ESP||USA||ABU||SIN||JPN||CHI||19th||18|