2009 Australian Grand Prix facts and stats

Jenson Button and Brawn GP made history at Melbourne

Jenson Button and Brawn GP made history at Melbourne

A new F1 team wins on its debut, an all-Mercedes podium, and rotten luck for a driver on his 200th start.

Here’s a round-up of the stats and facts from the Australian Grand Prix.

Brawn GP became the first team to win their first race in 32 years. Jody Scheckter gave Wolf a maiden win in the 1977 Argentine Grand Prix at Buenos Aires.

Jenson Button scored his second career win, following his maiden victory at the Hungaroring in 2006. He also set his fourth the position, the last being at the same circuit three years earlier.

Button led every lap of the race. The only other driver to have done this at Melbourne was Michael Schumacher in 2004.

Button scored the first victory for a Mercedes-engined car that wasn’t a McLaren since Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1955 Italian Grand Prix, driving for the works Mercedes team.

Mercedes-powered cars filled the podium for the first time since the 1955 British Grand Prix, when the entire top four were Mercedes cars. Stirling Moss won at Aintree from Fangio, with Karl Kling third and Piero Taruffi fourth.

Thanks to Jarno Trulli’s penalty, Lewis Hamilton continued his run of podiums at Melbourne, finishing third as he did in his first F1 race at the track two years ago. This year he started from 18th, his lowest ever qualifying position, his previous worst being 15th at Monza last year.

This was Hamilton’s 23rd podium finish in 36 starts, giving him a strike rate of 63.9%. That is the fifth best of all time, and three of the drivers ahead of him have just nine starts between them. The closest drivers that bear comparison are Fangio (35 from 51, 68.6%) and Michael Schumacher (154 from 249, 61.8%). But will Hamilton’s hit rate still look as good after a year in the uncompetitive MP4-24?

Trulli’s 200th Grand Prix start was not a happy one, as he picked up another penalty in qualifying, relegating him to the back of the grid. It was his 203rd appearance at a race, but has non-started three times (San Marino 1997, Malaysia 1999 and United States 2005).

Sebastien Buemi became the 69th driver to score on his debut, finishing seventh. He is the seventh ex-GP2 driver to score a point in F1. More here: Sebastien Buemi scores on debut

The race finished behind the safety car for the first time since the 1999 Canadian Grand Prix.

Nico Rosberg set the second fastest lap of his career – his first was in his maiden race at Bahrain in 2006.

Spotted any more interesting stats from the Australian Grand Prix? Post them in the comments…

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65 comments on 2009 Australian Grand Prix facts and stats

  1. Sush Meerkat said on 30th March 2009, 9:00

    He also set his fourth the position,

    he set his fourth pole position

    It was Sebastian Vettel second time he’s taken out the second place runner, and both times its been a “colleague” he’s done it too.

    • matt said on 30th March 2009, 17:33

      How is Kubica a colleague?

    • sayonaraman said on 31st March 2009, 6:41

      Vettel was a third/test driver for BMW Sauber in 2007. He took over from Kubica in GP USA after Pole’s crash in Montreal and thanks to the 8th place has become the youngest driver to score points in F1. Guess you might say they’re colleagues.

  2. Tom said on 30th March 2009, 9:17

    The saftey car was bought in, so the instant each car passed the line simultaniously the driver was under green flag conditions and the race was finished. So strictly speaking they didn’t finish under the saftey car.

    Did you notice that both Brundle and Legard got a bit over excited and didn’t realise that the green flag conditions didn’t apply til after they passed the line?

  3. Paige said on 30th March 2009, 9:21

    We’re not sure the MP4-24 will be uncompetitive for the whole year. James Allen has said he expects McLaren to pick up a full second over the next few races.

  4. kurtosis said on 30th March 2009, 9:32

    What is James Allen basing his prediction on? Seems to me, no one, including McLaren, know how much progress will be made in the coming weeks. Not to mention that other teams will be bringing improvements too.

  5. Scott Joslin said on 30th March 2009, 9:47

    I am not sure I fully go with the hype about Brawn GP being a new team. they are in name, but not in personnel and car & drivers.

    Technically they are just Honda renamed. When / If Virgin buys the team and renames it Virgin for example. If they win the next race will that be classified as a new team? probably not, so I cannot really see much difference.

    If Brawn had started from scratch then I would buy in to this first new team to win since Wolf. but in reality Honda developed the car throughout 2008 and the team retained all the key personnel throughout the winter.

    But don’t get me wrong it is still an amazing story for Brawn, but not a new team in the purest sense of the word.

    • pSynrg said on 30th March 2009, 12:05

      But in that spirit you could say more than half the grid are just rebadged old teams. I’d say Brawn qualify as new more than some of the others did.
      The entire drivetrain and engine package is brand new. Honda’s influence was clearly thrown out with the baby when Ross Brawn came in and saw what poor package they had built.
      So the car is a Brawn creation with power and drive coming from a non-Honda source.
      Sounds new enough to me.

    • Scott Joslin said on 30th March 2009, 14:14

      But if Honda had not had changed name, would we be calling it a new team despite those elements you described? Don’t forget Honda are still paying most of that teams wages.

      In which case pSynrg you could argue Force India are a new team, they have a new drive train, new technical engineer and team personnel – just the name is the has not changed.

      I don’t want to be a killjoy surrounding all this positive Brawn hype but, if the USGPE team arrive at Melbourne next year and win out of the box then that would account as a new team for me as they started from scratch.

  6. keepF1technical said on 30th March 2009, 10:01

    “James Allen has said he expects McLaren to pick up a full second over the next few races.”

    just remember whose engine the brawn diffuser is bolted to. some teams (red bull) dont even have the option of the ‘new’ diffuser type because of their car design.

    hows this for a technology exchange… brawn diffuser for a maclaren gearbox / kers… then we might see james allens comment of a full second come true.

    • sayonaraman said on 30th March 2009, 22:29

      A small OT:
      Which teams don’t have a chance to add the diffuser to their cars and why exactly can’t they do that? Thanks.

  7. Martin Bell said on 30th March 2009, 10:05

    All in all, this was probably the best result to diffuse the diffuser debate. It would have been very different if the three teams in question had dominated.

  8. Arnie said on 30th March 2009, 10:10

    The rece did not finish under the safety car. The safety car came in on the last lap. I don’t know if the green flag was waved before the race, but the safety car did not cross the finish line. Maybe the race finished under yellow flag.

    • John H said on 30th March 2009, 20:54

      It’s still safety car conditions until they ‘cross the line’ and when they cross the line, it is the end of the race… (they never start lap 59). So yes, it did finish under the safety car.

      I love this trivial debating!

  9. Damon said on 30th March 2009, 10:14

    Who had the fastest race lap?

  10. Fer no.65 said on 30th March 2009, 10:21

    He also set his fourth the position

  11. Fer no.65 said on 30th March 2009, 10:25

    Brawn GP was also the first team since Mercedes in 1955 French Grand Prix to score a 1.2 in his maiden race…

    i think…

  12. Toby Bushby (@toby-bushby) said on 30th March 2009, 10:37

    Fernando Alonso has scored points in Australia every year since returning to a race driver role in 2003….whereas it is only the second time in Kimi Raikkonen’s career (beginning in 2001) that he hasn’t scored points in Oz, the other being 2004 (engine failure).

    F1.com doesn’t have qualifying and practice results for 2007 and 2008 for some strange reason, but I think (and my memory would certainly not be called elephantine) that this was the third Australian GP in a row that Nico Rosberg started from 5th on the grid.

    Have a look at the official Constructor’s standings (don’t if you’re a Ferrari fan). Makes for an interesting read….and possibly a strange statistic in itself. When was the last time Ferrari were last?

  13. Jay Menon said on 30th March 2009, 10:48

    If Mclaren pick up the pace over the next couple races, how much of it would have Lewis contributed to?

    • pSynrg said on 30th March 2009, 12:07

      You simply need to multiply the factor of increase in performance with the ratio of love/hate for Lewis Hamilton to get the result.

  14. gareth said on 30th March 2009, 10:48

    2 years in a row Car 22 has won the first race of the season.

    • ajokay said on 31st March 2009, 10:14

      You’d never have seen that happening 15 years ago, no matter how much I was rooting for Forti Ford

  15. Jonathan said on 30th March 2009, 10:56

    The last time Ferrari didn’t score a single point in the season opener was 1992. In fact the last four time that Ferrari didn’t score a point in season opener, Ferrari also had a double retirement.

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