2008 F1 season in statistics p1/2

Nick Heidfeld came within five laps of completing every race in 2008

Nick Heidfeld came within five laps of completing every race in 2008

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

2008 World Drivers Championship - final standings (click to enlarge)

2008 World Drivers Championship - final standings (click to enlarge)

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

2008 World Drivers\' Championship - battle for the title (click to enlarge)

2008 World Drivers' Championship - battle for the title (click to enlarge)

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

2008 World Drivers\' Championship - different points systems (click to enlarge)

2008 World Drivers' Championship - different points systems (click to enlarge)

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

2008 World Constructors\' Championship - final standings (click to enlarge)

2008 World Constructors' Championship - final standings (click to enlarge)

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

2008 World Constructors\' Championship - battle for the title (click to enlarge)

2008 World Constructors' Championship - battle for the title (click to enlarge)

Remnault snatched fourth place from Toyota with their run of form late in the season.

Average starting positions in 2008

Average starting positions in 2008 (click to enlarge)

Average starting positions in 2008 (click to enlarge)

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

Drivers in top three qualifying positions in 2008 (click to enlarge)

Drivers in top three qualifying positions in 2008 (click to enlarge)

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

Average position change in 2008 (click to enlarge)

Average position change in 2008 (click to enlarge)

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

Average points scored per race in 2008 (click to enlarge)

Average points scored per race in 2008 (click to enlarge)

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

DNFs in 2008 (click to enlarge)

DNFs in 2008 (click to enlarge)

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. S??bastien 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

Contribute to the F1 Fanatic 2008 F1 season review: Nominate your best and worst moments of the year, share your thoughts on the drivers and pick your favourite quotes of the year in the F1 Fanatic Forum

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20 comments on 2008 F1 season in statistics p1/2

  1. Patrickl said on 16th November 2008, 16:31

    @John Spencer

    I made a similar comparison between Alonso and Piquet, but I did it on the difference of their Q1 or Q2 qualifiying times (depending on the highest session which Piquet reached).

    Obviously this isn’t entirely fair since often Alonso did just one run in Q1 where Piquet was struggling to get out of Q1 (and failed) while Alonso would improve in Q2. There is no real drive to set the fastest time possible in Q1 or Q2. Trouble is that Q3 is hindered by differing fuel loads so that really makes it impossible to be used. Besides Piquet only reached Q3 in 3 instances.

    Anyway here is my chart:
    http://arcade.laweb.nl//F1/AlonsoVsPiquet.png

    To me it looks like the gap was mostly around 3 tenths all season. With some obvious exceptions, but still, the mass of it is rather solid around that line.

  2. S Hughes said on 16th November 2008, 18:15

    yoricksfriend, interesting yes, but without the unfair, unjust, inconsistant and undeniably biased against Hamilton and pro Massa penalties, Lewis would have won under any points system.

  3. John Spencer said on 16th November 2008, 18:28

    Remember the old Murray Walker aphorism ‘to finish first, first you must finish’? It was almost annoying as ‘IF is Formula 1 backwards’. Don’t worry if you have no idea what I’m going on about. But I plotted points scored against total laps completed from Keith’s table above.

    In 2008, between team mates the driver who completed more laps always scored more points, as you might expect. The only exceptions to this were Kubica and Vettel.

    @Patrickl – it’s surprising that the time gap between Alonso and Piquet was so small (most of the time) given the large difference in qualifying position. The nature of the qualifying system make this comparison difficult, as you say, and in 2008 0.3 seconds was a helluva long time in qualifying, but perhaps Piquet isn’t quite as slow as he seems …?

  4. Patrickl said on 17th November 2008, 17:02

    @John Spencer

    Like you said 0.3s IS a lot of time these days.

    I’d also say that Piquet’s biggest problem is that he finished only half the races.

  5. Daniel said on 18th November 2008, 11:39

    @ John Spencer, RE: DNFs & Starting Position

    Interesting comparison. Two issues raised from this in my mind, 1) does a poor qualifying performance increase you chance of a DNF due to the traffic in front of you, or 2) do those who tend to qualify towards the back tend to get more DNFs due to (relatively) poor driver skills and (relatively) worse racing kit?

    1) seems a logical extension. More cars to pass, more chance of a prang.

    2) seems to explain both the persistence of DNFs and of poor qualifying performance.

    In reality I’m sure it’s a combination of the two, but food for thought none the less. It would be interesting, but highly time consuming, to isolate DNFs caused by car collisions and those from general mechanicals.

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