Japanese Grand Prix facts and stats

Vettel was in crushing form on F1's return to Suzuka

Vettel was in crushing form on F1's return to Suzuka

Sebastian Vettel came within three-thousandths of a second of a perfect race result at Japan.

It was the 25th Japanese Grand Prix that counted for the world championship and – happily – the 21st at Suzuka. More facts and stats below.

Vettel has now won four Grands Prix, which is the same number won by Dan Gurney, Bruce McLaren and Eddie Irvine.

Vettel has won all four of his victories from pole position. This was his fifth start from pole, matching Giuseppe Farina, Chris Amon, Clay Regazzoni, Patrick Tambay and Keke Rosberg’s tally.

The Red Bull driver dominated the Grand Prix, leading every lap of a race for the first time in his career. It means his team have now led a total of 1,198km, moving them past the 1,000km mark.

He came very close to achieving the perfect Grand Prix result of a win from pole, leading every lap and setting fastest lap. But team mate Mark Webber beat his time by 0.003s with mere minutes of the race left to run. (Read more: Japanese Grand Prix fastest laps analysis)

That was Webber’s second fastest lap, giving him as many in his career as Vettel plus 13 other drivers.

Jarno Trulli equalled Toyota’s best ever finish with second place, which team mate Timo Glock also achieved at Singapore last week.

McLaren team mates Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen each started their 50th Grands Prix, the pair having made their F1 debuts at Melbourne in 2007. Hamilton has finished more than half of them – 26 – on the podium, and has scored exactly 250 points – an average of five points per race, equal to a fourth place finish.

Kovalainen, meanwhile, saw his six-race streak of points finishes come to an end.

With two races to go every team has scored at least five points. The last time every team’s minimum score was higher was in 2005, when last-placed Minardi had seven points, all scored in the farcical United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis.

The Japanese Grand Prix returned to Suzuka for the 21st F1 championship race at the track. It is now F1’s 12th most-visited track, moving ahead of Watkins Glen. Adding the four Grands Prix at Fuji, this was F1’s 25th championship event in Japan.

As ever, if you’ve spotted a cool fact or stat from yesterday’s race, please post it in the comments.

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72 comments on Japanese Grand Prix facts and stats

  1. He came very close to achieving the perfect Grand Prix result of a win from pole, leading every lap and setting fastest lap.

    Three-thousands of a second is what separates Sebastian of a “perfect driving”. Impossible measuring in the Renaissance!


  2. does webber now hold the record for the most pit stops in a race?

  3. SaloolaS said on 5th October 2009, 7:55

    Toyota was also 2nd in Hungary last year

    • Ned Flanders said on 6th October 2009, 12:35

      I think Toyota have finished second 5 times now- they obviously don’t quite have what it takes to win, a bit like Nick Heidfeld

  4. Bleu said on 5th October 2009, 7:59

    * Trulli’s 2nd place was first podium for Japanese manufacturer in Japanese GP. However, Honda engines have got seven podiums between 1987 and 2004, including two wins: 1988 and 1991.

    * Last-placed finisher getting fastest lap must be quite rare event. Don’t have time to check those events now.

    * This was 57th GP in Asia (Japan 27, Malaysia 11, China 6, Bahrain 6, Turkey 5, Singapore 2), surpassing a total of South America (Brazil 36, Argentina 20). South America will equalize next race but Asia will go ahead again in Abu Dhabi, likely for forever.

    * The race had shortest “sprint race” to the chequered flag following safety car with four laps and about 23,2 kilometres. Montreal 2006 had six or seven, although on a shorter track. Singapore 2008 had also quite a short one (I think it was eight)

  5. Jelle van der Meer said on 5th October 2009, 8:01

    What about the stats on qualifing – most red flags and likely also the most changed starting grid as result of penalties and 1 driver not starting.

    • I can’t remember a qualifying session in recent history (i.e. last 10 – 15 years?) with this much red and yellow flags during qualifying and penalties.

      How about the first time a five place penalty was commuted to a one place penalty (for Barrichello)?

      • James Bolton said on 6th October 2009, 8:04

        Malaysia 2006 had a lot of grid changes due to engine penalties. I was there and we didn’t know the grid until Sunday morning. He’s Wiki’s entry on the subject:

        Qualifying on Saturday saw the new rules put to the test, as David Coulthard, Felipe Massa, Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher were all forced to swap engines from the Bahrain GP and therefore lost 10 places on the starting grid after qualifications (Massa actually changed his engine twice, causing him to lose 20 places).

  6. yelrom said on 5th October 2009, 8:34

    webber gt fast lap bt cam edead last.. has that ecr happened before?

  7. Chris P said on 5th October 2009, 8:54

    Vettel became the most uncool driver by doing a chest bump with a team member after the podium and by persisting to use his index finger and little finger in a ‘rock on’ type way… no doubting his nationality.

  8. Chris P… Why does this make him the most uncool driver? Please explain..

  9. ajokay said on 5th October 2009, 9:33

    I fell asleep 3 times during the race. More than any other this year, or ever.

    • Yorricksfriend said on 5th October 2009, 15:24

      That equals my tally for Singapore

    • Maksutov said on 5th October 2009, 15:24

      were you on drugs? :)

      • Maksutov said on 5th October 2009, 15:31

        To add to that, i dont think the race was as boring as Singapore, at least we saw couple of overtake maneuvers (Sutil Kovi)or attempts. Also a challenge between Hamilton and Trulli , and a safety car which didnt work in favor of anyone (maybe Rosberg) .. and made it little more exciting…

      • ajokay said on 5th October 2009, 16:27

        Drugs? No. It was early in the morning, and there was no at-all noteworthy on-track action to stop my eyelids from drifting together.

        Sutil and Kovy came together… that was, what, 8 seconds of something happening. Same with Kovy blasting out of the pits past Fisi, that was maybe 6 seconds.

        Then HHhamie speared the tyre barrier with the horns of his Toro. That was exciting, but it was cancelled out by the following 10 minutes of safety car.

  10. yes please chris p why would a chest bump make him uncool??? get your facts right.

    @ keith great job as usual. you could be an f1 historian…

    • Chris P said on 5th October 2009, 10:31

      Matter of personal choice I guess. Geeks do chest bumps thinking they are cool. Maybe he did it in an ironic way which would be very british like humour… making him cool.

      • Phil T said on 5th October 2009, 20:00

        Maybe when people are living the dream and loving the moment they dont give a s**t about cool

      • Scribe said on 5th October 2009, 20:07

        Welcome to F1Fanatic a site entirely devoid of geeks.

        Vettle a funny guy, clear as. Guy probably chest bumped coz its quite funny. It a laugh when ya do it.

  11. RedBullRacer said on 5th October 2009, 9:50

    I believe this is the second time this year that the same team has had one driver win and the other come last out of those who finish (Ferrari had this result with Kimi and Badoer at Spa). When was the last time that happened twice in one season, particularly with two separate teams?

    Another unusual situation about this race: Mark Webber participated in practice and the race but completely missed qualifying, whereas Timo Glock took part in Saturday practice and qualifying but missed Friday practice and the race itself.

    And now we head to Brazil, with a Brazilian and a Brit battling for the championship (and the possibility of a German driver making a big difference)….that sounds familiar, somehow.

  12. To expand one Hamilton’s stat, apart from George Amick who scored 6 points in the Indy 500 and never raced again in an event that counted towards the F1 WDC, Hamilton’s average is only beaten by Schumacher’s and Fangio’s.

    • Harv's said on 6th October 2009, 0:25

      not sure abour fangio? They used a different pionts scoring system back in the day, so they didnt score 10pts for a win

    • I’m with Harv’s… pick one point system eg Fangio’s, and apply it across all of Schumacher’s & Hamilton’s results, then see what the result is

  13. With his fourth victory, Vettel has taken the sole third place in the “Best German Driver” ranking (in regards of victories), which he shared with Heinz-Harald Frentzen before. He still needs to get past both Schumachers, Ralf with 6 wins and obviously Michael with 91.

  14. sato113 said on 5th October 2009, 12:06

    1st season ever having two races where teammates finish 1st and last? kimi + Badoer, Spa, and Vettel + Webber Japan.

  15. Nick Heidfeld has now finished one (1) race in a row, closing in on his previous record.

  16. Nitpicker said on 5th October 2009, 13:36

    Second race in a row where Sutil blames someone else after he causes a collision.

  17. most km raced in races:
    Bari: 695454
    Schumi: 69177- beaten

    Best qualy (penaltys ignore) to Alguesuari, even he chashed

    Average age of pilots this race was 27y-7m-29d. Season’s record. Hungary had 27-8-30, but the oldest was Belgium(with Badoer) 28-3-25

    Button has scored 85 points, like in 2004, then he had 10 podiums, now 8, then he was third, now first :)

    Rosberg comes into top5: most grandprix with 0 wins

    Qualy sector1 best to Heidfeld, but s2 and s3 to Button, but none of them was on Top5:)

    Sutil’s 50th gp

    Bari crosses 600 points in career. He has most points without champ.

    Brawn has scored 156 points, Honda’s in seven years did only 154

    Second time this seasons Q1,Q2,Q3,race wins one man. Another time it is Vettel. 1st he did in turkey

    When last time all retired drivers was from one team (1 driver retired not counted)?

  18. Ok guys, when was the last time a team got first and last place (not dnf)? (Vettel and Webber)

  19. graham228221 said on 5th October 2009, 15:03

    Most obvious product placement in an F1 broadcast? Franz Tost’s “oh, my driver has crashed. nothing like can of red bull to drown my sorrows” moment was a classic, even better when he had to turn the label around.

  20. keepf1technical said on 5th October 2009, 18:07

    was the time between singapore and japan GP the quickest turnaround of GP ever? being LESS THAN 7 days by several hours

    • I don’t remember that any two successive GPs with a gap of week would have been in two different continents. OK, this time it was in the same but with Singapore being night race, the gap between the races was similar like we would have had races in Montreal and somewhere in Europe (CET timezone).

      But: when Indianapolis 500 was a World Championship event, it was held always on specific day (IIRC May 30th) and sometimes it was in the middle of the week. So there we have had two races with shorter gap between, although there were completely different drivers.

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