The first in a two-part breakdown of all the statistics of the 2008 F1 season starts with a look at how the championship battles were won.
Plus, who was the best qualifier, who crashed the most, and who led the most laps. And, why Lewis Hamilton would have missed the championship in 2002.
2008 World Drivers’ Championship – final standings
Of the 22 drivers in F1 this year, 18 scored points – all bar the Force India and Super Aguri pilots.
2008 World Drivers’ Championship – battle for the title
For the second year in a row the title was won by a single points. The closest championship conclusion remains Niki Lauda’s half-point win over Alain Prost in 1984. Until Lewis Hamilton passed Timo Glock on the final lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix, F1 was heading for its first ever points tie at the end of a season, which would have given the title to Massa by dint of his six wins to Hamilton’s five.
2008 World Drivers’ Championship – different points systems
The current championship scoring system (10 points for first, then 8-6-5-4-3-2-1) was introduced in 2003. Under the two preceding systems, Massa would have been champion. This is the first time the current system has produced a champion different to what the previous system would have since it was introduced.
2008 World Constructors’ Championship – final standings
Ferrari’s 21-point advantage over McLaren at the end of the season was greater than their lead over any of their rivals at any other point in 2008.
2008 World Constructors’ Championship – battle for the title
Remnault snatched fourth place from Toyota with their run of form late in the season.
Average starting positions in 2008
Felipe Massa had the best average starting position (after penalties), ahead of Lewis Hamilton, with Kimi Raikkonen and Heikki Kovalainen tied.
Drivers in top three qualifying positions in 2008
However Hamilton had the most pole positions, one more than Massa. The only drivers from outside the ‘Big Three’ teams to qualifying inside the top three were Fernando Alonso, Jarno Trulli, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
Average position change in 2008
Massa has the worst average position change this year but that’s mainly because he was the best qualifier and because he was classified 17th at Hungary after his late engine failure. Given his strong qualifying performances, Alonso’s average position improvement of 1.28 is impressive.
Average points scored per race in 2008
Hamilton and Massa’s statistics here tell the story of the championship. Massa had the best hit-rate of points per race of the races he finished. But Hamilton’s fractionally better points per race tally reveals how he edged Massa to the title.
A wide gap between ‘points per race’ and ‘points per finish’ indicates a driver whose points-scoring ability was inhibited by failing to finish races. Nelson Piquet Jnr is an obvious candidate here, but Sebastian Vettel’s tallies remind us how bad his finishing rate earlier in the season was.
DNFs in 2008
This chart also reflects poorly on Piquet – seven non-mechanical DNFs, two more than any other driver, though not all of which his fault. Hamilton had exactly the same finishing record as in 2007: no mechanical DNFs, just one driver error DNF. And, also as in 2007, it was a memorable one..
Laps led in 2008
Massa led the most laps but what caught my eye here is that Kubica, Alonso and Vettel all led more than Kovalainen.
There were 15 different lap leaders in 2008. This ties the all-time record also set in 1954, 1956, 1957, 1960 and 1975.
1. Felipe Massa 363
2. Lewis Hamilton 294
3. Kimi Raikkonen 178
4. Robert Kubica 68
5. Fernando Alonso 62
6. Sebastian Vettel 49
7. Heikki Kovalainen 31
8. Nick Heidfeld 21
9. Nelson Piquet Jnr 13
10. Jarno Trulli 13
11. Nico Rosberg 11
12. Rubens Barrichello 7
13. Timo Glock 3
14. Sebastien Bourdais 3
15. David Coulthard 1
Laps completed in 2008
Nick Heidfeld completed all but five laps this year. He finished four laps behind at Monaco and one down at Brazil.
1. Nick Heidfeld 1,112
2. Robert Kubica 1,084
3. Nico Rosberg 1,068
4. Lewis Hamilton 1,065
5. Felipe Massa 1,057
6. Kimi Raikkonen 1,042
7. Kazuki Nakajima 1,024
8. Heikki Kovalainen 1,011
9. Jarno Trulli 1,010
10. Fernando Alonso 1,000
11. Mark Webber 998
12. Rubens Barrichello 987
13. Timo Glock 950
14. Jenson Button 936
15. Sébastien Bourdais 887
16. David Coulthard 812
17. Sebastian Vettel 810
18. Giancarlo Fisichella 810
19. Nelson Piquet Jnr 776
20. Adrian Sutil 687
21. Takuma Sato 207
22. Anthony Davidson 119
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