The leaders are losers

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, Barcelona, 2007, 2What do Lewis Hamilton, Paul di Resta and Andy Priaulx have in common?

Yes, they’re all talented British racing drivers. But they’re also all leading the championships they compete in – F1, DTM and WTCC respectively – despite not having won a race this year.

And all of those championships use the FIA’s much-criticised 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system. This is yet more evidence that the current system places far too much emphasis on consistent finishing than winning races.

Here are the championship placings of each driver and their nearest rivals, plus their numbers of top five placings (1sts-2nds-3rds-4ths-5ths):

F1 World Championship

After five rounds

=1. Fernando Alonso, 38 (2-1-1-0-5)
=1. Lewis Hamilton, 38 (0-4-1-0-0)
3. Felipe Massa, 33 (2-0-1-0-1)

World Touring Car Championship

After eight rounds

1. Andy Priaulx, 42 (0-3-1-0-2)
2. Augusto Farfus, 40 (2-1-1-0-1)
3. Jorg Muller, 31 (1-1-2-0-0)

German Touring Car Championship (DTM)

After three rounds

1. Paul di Resta, 16* (0-2-0-1-0)
=2. Mattias Ekstrom, 12 (1-0-0-0-0)
=2. Martin Tomcyzk, 12 (0-1-0-0-1)

*Half points were awarded at the third round, in which Ekstrom and Tomcyzk didn’t score.

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Monte-Carlo, 2007Massa is particularly hard done by under the current points system. Under the last system he would only be one point behind Hamilton, rather than five.

This is a topic I keep returning to because it seems so fundamentally wrong to say that a second place – or any position – is worth some fraction of a victory.

In all these series the drivers are pacing themselves early in the season, content to ‘pick up good points’. Priaulx never once got alongside team mate Farfus in their battle for victory yesterday – but he might well have done had he known he was about to go 2-0 down to the Brazilian on wins.

I’ll throw the floor open to comments after one final thought: In 2003, Kimi Raikkonen was one sixth place finish away from winning the title with one win to Michael Schumacher’s six.

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