Category Archives: Statistics

Chinese Grand Prix analysis: 2012 set to be a classic season?

After three different race winners in as many races, it is clear that the order has never been tighter at the top. With Mercedes seemingly getting over their tyre degradation issues, and Sauber and Lotus chasing the hells of the frontrunners, I feel there are as many as 8 potential race winners this year – 5 of them yet to show their full potential.

But back to the present situation. Nico Rosberg’s first win shows that he is finally ready to challenge the big boys, and with Mercedes looking more of a dominant force, we could be in for a classic season.

Nico joins Keke in F1’s most exclusive club

A long-overdue win for Rosberg means that he is the third son of an F1 driver to win a race himself. However, in the other two cases (Jacques Villeneuve and Damon Hill), their fathers’ lives had already been cut short, both in car-related accidents.

With Nico having become the 103rd Grand Prix winner in F1 history, the focus will now move to see can he challenge for the world championship.

It’s certainly not out of the question. Red Bull’s RB8 is a troubled car, and McLaren have fumbled their advantages far too many times already. With an innovative DRS system, as well as the most powerful engine on the grid, they must capitalise on their pace in the following few races.

Tyre degradation is less of an issue – after each pit stop, the mechanics checked Nico’s tyres for excess wear, but Rosberg had it perfectly under control. It was a well deserved win, and he can certainly go further.

Massa bashing: Round 3

Respected journalists are now calling him a “waste of petrol”. I can’t disagree with them – a 13th place is nothing short of dismal.

The most stark fact is that, aside from the three slowest teams – every single driver on the grid has scored points except for Massa. He brushed off his first two awful races, and called the Chinese GP the start of his season, but has instead proven himself to be even more of a joke.

Fernando Alonso slipped down the order after running wide near the end of the race, but still managed to score points in a difficult situation. Massa’s only notable feat was holding up half the field for several laps.

The hype over Sergio Perez’s prowess in Malaysia has died down, and many are looking to the end of the season for him to replace Massa. For many, that can not come soon enough.

Sauber becoming a credible threat?

One of the biggest surprises so far this year is the Sauber’s excellent pace – going completely against my predictions before Melbourne.

Perez’s race pace in Malaysia, combined with Kobayashi’s 3rd place in qualifying, shows that the team are going places. They have scored their best qualifying and race results ever (as an independent team), and it is apparent that they may take on the big guns.

Each of the Sauber drivers is ahead of one of the Lotus drivers, to give you an idea of their form. Kobayashi scored their first ever fastest lap, to wrap up their excellent few races.

It will be extremely difficult for the Hinwil squad to keep up with the frontrunners, but we will see how they fare in the next few races.

Malaysian Grand Prix analysis: Victories for the underdogs

The Malaysian Grand Prix will go down as a thrilling and unforgettable race. Not just because of the shuffled order, or the heavy rain showers, but because of the fierce and spirited drives that put so many surprise faces on top. A brilliant drive from Sergio Perez, an unrelenting charge from Fernando Alonso, and a quiet ascent to 6th for Bruno Senna was what made this race special.

Perez – the man of the moment

Few will argue that Sergio Perez’s drive was anything but spectacular. A good strategy call at the start put him up to 3rd, and he held the position under treacherous conditions.

Once the track dried out, he demonstrated Button-like prowess on the damp track, eating into Alonso’s lead relentlessly. A poor final pit stop, as well as a slip near the end, cost him the victory, but he has still made his point.

It is the first time since 1971 that a Mexican driver has put a foot on the podium – the last time was for Pedro Rodriguez, 19 years before Sergio was even born.

With such a great performance, the top teams have surely taken a good look at the young Sauber driver. Which leads us to…

Massa bashing: Round 2

Another atrocious drive from Felipe Massa, another reason for Ferrari to ditch the beleaguered driver. And with Sergio Perez seemingly knocking on the door, the Brazilian surely won’t be around for too long.

As his teammate crossed the line to take the chequered flag, Massa was 5 seconds away from being lapped. He now sits 19th in the driver’s championship, behind the Marussias, while Alonso leads the title hunt. There’s no denying that the gap between the two is growing immeasurably long.

The Ferrari F2012 is a handful, but it deserves to be finishing higher than 15th place. I make no secret of my disliking of Massa, and his dismal performances only make this view worse.

Another side of Sebastian Vettel?

As the Red Bull team slip behind McLaren, we are now granted the opportunity to see how Vettel handles with not having the fastest car on the grid. Unfortunately, he hasn’t gotten off to the best start.

His clip into Narain Karthikeyan may seem insignificant, but it shows a very poor attitude from the German driver. He seemed to move across Narain’s path, then showed obscene gestures when his tyre blew as a result.

Afterwards, he referred to him as a “cucumber”, which is just about the oddest insult I’ve heard in a long time. It appears as if he hasn’t learned from Turkey 2010, when he refused to take responsibility for clashing with Mark Webber.

Granted, he’s not in the position he wants to be, but this is no excuse for his behaviour. A true driver’s colours are shown when he’s dealt a bad hand – just look at Fernando Alonso. Vettel appears rattled, and will need to cap his temper if he wants to claw his way back to the top.

Australian Grand Prix analysis: McLaren heading a new pecking order?

The first race of the 2012 Formula 1 season has brought with it the usual bundle of surprises, and the Australian Grand Prix showed us a glimpse of what’s to come over the next 19 races.

As McLaren and Red Bull strengthen their position at the top, Ferrari faltered, but Mercedes and Lotus failed to capitalise. Teams like Williams and Toro Rosso impressed with good race pace, while Marussia were quietly impressive at the back of the field.

Let’s have a look at what we learned from last weekend:

McLaren vs Red Bull – a year-long battle?

Can Red Bull claw back the deficit to McLaren?

Can Red Bull claw back the deficit to McLaren?

The first race of the season clearly showed McLaren’s strong pace. They locked out the front row in qualifying, and should have held their footing in the race, if it was not for an ill-timed safety car.

Meanwhile, Red Bull were worryingly poor in qualifying – it was the first time since Monza 2010 that neither Red Bull was on the front row – but fought back well to split their rivals.

What’s interesting is that, once Red Bull get a hold of their qualifying issues, the teams will be almost neck-and-neck at the front. Until then however, Button and Hamilton will look at building their points tally. This raises another interesting debate, as to which of the British drivers will end the season on top.

Button showed superior start-line traction, and after that he sailed into the distance. Hamilton was clearly rattled, and suffered for the rest of the race. This allowed Sebastian Vettel to close rapidly, and deny McLaren a perfect start to the season.

His Australian GP jinx aside, Mark Webber looks stronger than last year – though he had to be, to be honest. Despite this, with the EBD ban, he appears more than capable of challenging his teammate.

With all of these drivers looking competitive, we are facing a distinct possibility of all 4 drivers duking it out for the world championship.

Ferrari’s woes, Mercedes’ gain

Alonso is surely furious over Ferrari's poor pace yet again

Alonso is surely furious over Ferrari's poor pace yet again

There is no denying how atrocious the Ferrari F2012 is in terms of pace – 12th and 16th in qualifying proved this. Even their fellow Italian team, Toro Rosso, did better than this.

The team will undoubtedly look to Fernando Alonso to lead the Scuderia’s charge back up the field, but that will take time. As we saw in practice, the F2012 was wildly uncontrollable exiting corners, showing that Ferrari are still struggling to understand their own radical design.

Meanwhile, Mercedes have enjoyed excellent pace so far this year. Pole position in Australia was a definite possibility for Nico Rosberg, until he binned his lap at Turn 3.

A disastrous race left the Brackley squad without a single point, but the potential is still there to win races. Michael Schumacher’s 4th place in qualifying, followed up by running 3rd until his retirement, showed that he has improved greatly since his comeback. Rosberg’s race pace was much more disappointing, however.

Still, the rear wing F-duct innovation shows that the team are in with a chance of taking on the top two teams.

Contrasting fortunes at the back

Charles Pic performed reasonably well on his debut

Charles Pic performed reasonably well on his debut

HRT showed the world why they deserve to be racing in the highest level of motorsport – by flunking testing and failing to qualify. Enough said.

Marussia, on the other hand, enjoyed a relatively successful race, taking a 14th placed finish, equaling their best so far. Rookie Charles Pic stayed out of trouble, though he was forced to back off massively in the last few laps, eventually retiring with an oil pressure issue.

Rivals Caterham retired both cars with mechanical issues, confirming their horrid reliability for another season. With this, consistency and reliability is key for Marussia. If the time ever comes when much of the field are out of the running, they need to be ready to take advantage.

Latest young driver shoot-out

Vergne is a talented youngster, but so is Ricciardo

Vergne is a talented youngster, but so is Ricciardo

Toro Rosso’s ditching of Alguersuari and Buemi came as a relief to many – their latest duo of Vergne and Ricciardo has provided a fresh rivalry in the midfield.

Their last-gasp battle for points showed that neither is afraid to back down, and the fact that they didn’t collide shows a relative amount of maturity to their driving. I’m personally a fan of both drivers, and as of yet cannot determine who may end up on top.

This leaves us with an exciting battle within the Faenza squad. So far, Ricciardo has the upper hand, but only just. Can he remain on top for the entire season?

Brazilian Grand Prix stats and facts

Sebastian Vettel took several more records during the final race of the 2011 F1 season. Here are the stats from this weekend:

  • Vettel’s 15th pole position breaks the record of most poles in a season, previously set by Nigel Mansell in 1992 (14 poles out of 16).
  • Red Bull took their 26th victory, 1 less than the Benneton team. Their 38th pole position is one less than Brabham.
  • With 18 poles out of 19, Red Bull have smashed the record for most pole positions in a year for a constructor – a 94.7% success rate.
  • Red Bull also have scored the highest amount of points in a season ever, with 650 points.
  • Rubens Barrichello took his 326th – and possibly last – Grand Prix entry. Jenson Button equalled Gerhard Berger’s amount of race entries with 210.
  • Nico Rosberg continues to extend his lead in the “Most points without a win” record, with 300.5.
  • Sebastian Vettel took his 30th pole position, 37% of his total race entries.
  • Vettel’s 17th podium finish this year puts him level with Michael Schumacher’s record from 2002 – when he was on the podium at every single race.
  • Force India have equalled their best ever result with 6th and 8th places.
  • An interesting fact from Pirelli – 1111 pit stops were made this year!
  • Felipe Massa’s disappointing season was reflected by the Brazilian equalling his best finish of the year – 5th. It is the first time since 1981 (Didier Pironi) that a Ferrari driver has not been on the podium once in a season.
  • Despite this, Massa made his 100th race start for the Scuderia this weekend.
  • Being transformed into Marussia for next year, Virgin have extended the record of “Most starts without a point” to 38.
  • Mark Webber took his 7th career victory, as many as Juan Pablo Montoya and Rene Arnoux. His 13th fastest lap – set on the final lap in Vettel style – is as many as Ricardo Patrese, Jacky Ickx and Alan Jones. Despite his poor season, he has set the most fastest laps this season – 7.

Korean Grand Prix stats and facts

Sebastian Vettel continued his assault on the all-time F1 record list, with his 10th victory of the year yesterday in Korea. Also from this weekend:

  • Vettel’s 20th career win puts him level with Mika Hakkinen. He has now won 25.64% of the races he has entered – a higher stat than Ayrton Senna (25.31%).
  • While Sebastian may equal Michael Schumacher’s record of 13 wins in a single season, he will still rank behind his fellow German on this one, as Michael’s 13 wins came in an 18-race season, one less than the Red Bull driver.
  • If he clocks another 44 laps in the lead, Sebastian will also break the record for most laps led in a season. He is currently on 651 laps. The current record holder is Nigel Mansell, set in the 1992 season.
  • Red Bull had their 16-race pole position streak broken this weekend, though it is still 3rd on the all-time list. The last driver to beat a Red Bull to pole was Nico Hulkenberg in Brazil 2010.
  • McLaren’s 700th race was marked with their 147th pole position, and their 376th podium finish – a remarkable 53.7% rate.
  • Lewis Hamilton took his first pole position since the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix. It was the 19th of his career, one less than Damon Hill and Fernando Alonso.
  • Toro Rosso scored their best team result since Australia 2009, with Jaime Alguersuari 7th and Sebastien Buemi 9th.
  • Vettel has also had his 5-race streak of pole positions broken – for the second time this year!

Japanese Grand Prix stats and facts

Button took his first win in the dry for McLaren

Button took his first win in the dry for McLaren

Today Sebastian Vettel has become the sport’s youngest ever Formula 1 back-to-back world champion, at the age of 24 years and 98 days. Here are the statistics from this weekend:

  • Jenson Button took the 12th win of his career, as well as his 6th fastest lap. It was the first ever victory he has ever taken in the dry for McLaren.
  • Vettel continued his crushing form, taking his 16th podium finish in 17 races. He is now absolutely certain to break the Formula 1 record for most points scored in a season.
  • He also took his 27th pole position out of 77 races – a better ratio than Michael Schumacher. It is also the second time this year that Sebastian has scored 5 consecutive pole positions.
  • Michael Schumacher led a lap for the first time since the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix, and the 141st time he has done so. He has also become the oldest driver to lead a lap
  • Since this style of article hasn’t been updated recently, there’s one stat I missed a while back – Lewis Hamilton has broken the record for most penalties in a season, with 6 so far.
  • While Red Bull recorded their 35th pole position, McLaren took their 147th fastest lap and 173rd race win.
  • After a string of shocking results, Lewis Hamilton has now gone without a podium finish since the Nurburgring.
  • Vettel is the 9th driver in F1 history to take back-to-back drivers’ championships, following the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Jack Brabham, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Mika Hakkinen, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.
  • He is only the second world champion from Germany, yet they have 9 titles between them. This is one more than Brazil, and 5 less than Great Britain.
  • Pirelli have now supplied tyres to 6 world champions, the most recent one before Vettel being Juan Manuel Fangio in 1957.
  • Button’s victory ensures McLaren took their 9th victory in 27 races at Suzuka, although they previously hadn’t won here since 2005 with Kimi Raikkonen.
  • The next race in Korea will be contested with 13 world championship titles between the drivers – the highest ever. It will also be the first time since the 1991 Australian Grand Prix that 3 double world champions (Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel) will contest a race together.
  • Finally, to end with a strange stat – In very similar fashion, the pole sitter for the 2000 Japanese Grand Prix (Schumacher) (also the title decider at the time) was also 0.009 seconds ahead of the contesting McLaren (Mika Hakkinen) in 2nd place.

Hungarian Grand Prix stats and facts

Jenson Button’s 200th Grand Prix was most certainly a successful one, granting him his 2nd victory of the season. Here are the statistics from last weekend:

  • The Hungarian Grand Prix saw 88 pit stops in total – a new F1 record.
  • After Nick Heidfeld’s exhaust failure and Vitaly Petrov’s slow pit stop, Renault failed to score a single point in a race for the first time since the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix, where both cars retired within several laps of the start.
  • Paul di Resta took his best career result finish with 7th place.
  • Button has become the 11th driver in F1 history to participate in 200 races or more. Currently Rubens Barrichello is the only driver above 300.
  • Jenson’s 11th Grand Prix win is as many as Jacques Villeneuve, Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa.
  • Massa took his 14th fastest lap, his first since Australia this year.
  • It was the 100th Grand Prix event for Toro Rosso, the current V8 engine formula, and Nico Rosberg.
  • With Felipe Massa losing 2 places at the first corner, the only driver who has never lost a place on the first lap at any race in 2011 is Narain Karthikeyan.
  • Sebastian Vettel’s 23rd pole position is only one off Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet. However, his starts-to-win ratio is nearly 3 times higher than either of these two drivers.
  • Red Bull have taken their 13th podium finish in a row, a feat which only 5 teams have ever beaten. The record is 53 by Ferrari, from Malaysia 1999 to Japan 2002. The team have also taken the last 12 pole positions in a row.

German Grand Prix stats and facts

Lewis Hamilton took a masterful victory yesterday, despite having never taken a single point from the Nurburgring before. Here are this weekend’s stats and facts:

  • Sebastian Vettel’s poor performance doesn’t mean he can’t still break records. The German’s 4th place now gives Vettel the record of best ever start to an F1 season. The previous record holder, Fernando Alonso, had taken a 5th place at the 10th race of the 2006 season, after 9 1sts and 2nds.
  • Despite some complaints of artificial racing, it has emerged that only 29% of overtakes this season have been due to DRS.
  • Lewis Hamilton took his 10th fastest lap, matching Graham Hill, Mario Andretti, Mark Webber and John Surtees.
  • Mark Webber took the 9th pole position of his career, the 29th for Red Bull. Despite this, he has yet to retain his lead off the start at all this year.
  • However, Webber has finally managed to lead a lap this year. He is the seventh driver to do so in 2011.
  • 4th marks the first time in 15 races that Vettel has finished off the podium.
  • In terms of total driver’s points, Ferrari have now amassed 5,555 points in their 61-year history.
  • Alonso took his 68th podium finish, as many as Rubens Barrichello.
  • Apart from Lotus, Virgin and HRT, Pastor Maldonado is the only driver of the main field to have not completed full race distance so far this year.
  • Fernando Alonso is now the only driver of the pack who has out-qualified his teammate at every event so far. Felipe Massa has not beaten Alonso in qualifying since Spa 2010.
  • Lewis Hamilton has finished on the podium at least once at every F1 circuit he has raced in.
  • Nico Rosberg now has the most points without a win of any F1 driver.

British Grand Prix stats and facts

The most notable record from yesterday’s British Grand Prix was that Fernando Alonso has equalled Jackie Stewart’s 27 Formula 1 victories. Here’s more stats from this weekend:

  • Alonso also set the fastest lap, his 19th of his career, as many as Ayrton Senna, Damon Hill and Stirling Moss. It is the 225th fastest lap by a Ferrari driver.
  • Pirelli have claimed that 585 overtaking moves have been completed so far this season (not including undercutting in pit stops, or any move on the first lap). 547 overtakes were made in the whole of the 2010 season.
  • Interestingly, Vettel’s domination of 2011 almost exactly matches Alonso’s start to the 2006 season. In both cases, both drivers took 6 wins and 3 2nd places in the first 9 races.
  • This was Sebastian Vettel’s 14th front row start in a row. He has 32 in total (22 from pole) out of 71 race entries, a rate of 45% – which is the 4th highest in F1 history. Only Clark, Fangio and Senna have higher percentages.
  • Vettel has also secured 11 podium positions in a row – a record only beaten by Alonso and Schumacher.
  • 9 of those podiums were from the start of this season, as many as Lewis Hamilton (2007) and Fernando Alonso (2006). Only Michael Schumacher has more podiums in a row from the start of a season, taking 17 in a row in 2002.
  • Renault suffered their worst qualifying this year – with 14th and 16th places for Petrov and Heidfeld.
  • In terms of most career points without becoming world champion, Mark Webber has moved into 2nd place, 0.5 points ahead of David Coulthard.
  • Sergio Perez equalled his best result with 7th place.
  • Daniel Ricciardo’s debut means that there are two Australian F1 drivers for the first time in 34 years.

European Grand Prix stats and facts

The 2011 European Grand Prix set a new Formula 1 record for most finishers in a race – 24. It is also the first time that every car has finished a race since Monza 2005. Here are more stats and facts from this weekend:

  • Sebastian Vettel has now set a new record for the best start to an F1 season, with 6 wins and 2 second places in the first 8 races.
  • This was Vettel’s 13th front row start in a row, which has run from Singapore 2010 to the present. This is one more than Michael Schumacher (1994 Europe – 1995 Germany). The current record holder is Ayrton Senna with 24 front row starts in a row (1988 Germany – 1989 Australia).
  • Similarly, this was Vettel’s 10th consecutive podium finish, one more than Jim Clark, Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet, Michael Schumacher (twice) or Lewis Hamilton ever achieved.
  • If Sebastian gets a likely podium in Silverstone, then he will match Lewis Hamilton (2007) for 9 podiums in a row from the start of the season.
  • Jenson Button has now finished 101 races in the points out of 197 starts, the 6th highest in F1 history.
  • Vettel has scored 93% of his possible points so far this season. The record for an entire season is 84.71% by Michael Schumacher in 2004.
  • Oddly enough, this is only the second “triple” (pole, win, fastest lap) that Vettel has achieved. The previous feat was Silverstone 2009. He was one lap away from a Grand Slam (lead every race from pole with fastest lap), but Felipe Massa led for one lap during the pit stops. Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso are the only two drivers on the grid to have achieved a Grand Slam.
  • Out of 459 racing laps, Vettel has led 368 of them. The safety car has driven 40 laps (all of which can be added to Vettel’s and the total’s tallies), with the closest rival, Jenson Button, having only led 31 laps. Teammate Mark Webber has yet to lead a lap this year.
  • While Jaime Alguersuari has been knocked out of Q1 in the last 2 races, he has bounced back to finish 8th on both occasions.
  • With the record amount of finishers in a race, Narain Karthikeyan has the unenviable record of being the only F1 driver to have finished 24th.
  • Only Fernando Alonso and Vitantonio Liuzzi have outqualified their team-mates at every race so far this year.
  • This was the 50th points-scoring finish in a row for Renault engines – a record that spans back to the inaugral Valencia GP in 2008.