2008 Japanese GP stats and facts

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso is the first person to win both at Fuji and Suzuka
Fernando Alonso is the first person to win both at Fuji and Suzuka

Fernando Alonso became the first driver to win the Japanese Grand Prix at two different venues.

Sebastien Bourdais led a race for the first time, and his penalty allowed Mark Webber to reach his points century. Here’s the statistics round-up from the Japanese Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso scored the 21st win of his career. That puts him on his own in 11th on the all-time most wins list, with one fewer than Damon Hill. Alonso has also participated in 121 Grands Prix to date, which is also one fewer than Hil.

It was his second win in the Japanese Grand Prix. The only driver to win the Japanese Grand Prix more than twice is Michael Schumacher, with six wins. But Alonso is the first driver to win it at different circuits: Suzuka and Fuji. Schumacher was leading the race at Suzuka that Alonso won in 2006, until his Ferrari engine failed, which all-but handed the title to Alonso.

Felipe Massa set the tenth fastest lap of his career, his second this year.

Massa has only finished on the podium this year at tracks where he also finished on the podium last year: Bahrain, Circuit de Catalunya, Istanbul, Monte-Carlo, Magny-Cours and Spa. The other circuits where he finished on the podium this year (Hockenheimring and Valencia) weren’t on the calendar last year. He also finished on the podium at Indianapolis and Nurburgring last year (not on the calendar this year) and Shanghai and Interlagos (still to come).

Lewis Hamilton scored his 12th career pole position, giving him as many as David Coulthard and Gerhard Berger. For the second year in a row, he will go into the Chinese Grand Prix able to win the title.

This year Hamilton has set pole position at each of the venues where he won last year – Montreal, Hungaroring and Fuji – but failed to win the races. He also set pole position at Indianapolis, which is off the calendar this year.

Mark Webber’s promotion to eighth meant he scored the 100th point of his F1 career.

Sebastien Bourdais led a Grand Prix for the first time.

Kimi Raikkonen scored the 30th front row start of his career. He failed to set his 11th fastest lap this season and make a new record, but he still has two races left to do it. More importantly, he ended his four-race point-less streak.

But whatever happens now, Raikkonen cannot retain his championship crown, and a first-time champion will be crowned this year.

Finally, someone on the live blog asked when was the last time neither McLaren scored during a Grand Prix. It actually wasn’t that long ago – this year’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Most consistent finishers in 2008

2008 F1 driver participations and finishes (click to enalrge)
2008 F1 driver participations and finishes (click to enalrge)

Nick Heidfeld maintained his 100% finishing rate in 2008, while Lewis Hamilton posted his only DNF so far in Canada. Out of the drivers who’ve started every race Adrian Sutil has the worst finishing record – he had his fifth mechanical DNF of the year at Fuji.