Abu Dhabi Grand Prix facts and stats

Alonso equalled his worst result for Renault in his last race for the team

Alonso equalled his worst result for Renault in his last race for the team

Red Bull completed their strong end to the season with a third consecutive win at Abu Dhabi.

But for the likes of Fernando Alonso and Kazuki Nakajima their final races with their teams didn’t go according to plan. Read on for the facts and stats from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton set pole position for the 17th time in his career, matching Jackie Stewart’s tally. The only active driver with more is Alonso, who’s on 18.

But Hamilton wasn’t able to follow it up with another win. In fact, for the first time in his 52-race F1 career, Hamilton was forced to retire with a mechanical problem.

Sebastian Vettel scored his fifth career win and his first victory not taken from pole position – he started second. Vettel also took his third fastest lap and Red Bull’s sixth.

Vettel’s team mate Mark Webber achieved his tenth career podium. His second place gave Red Bull their fourth one-two of the year, matching Brawn’s tally.

Kamui Kobayashi scored the first points of his career for sixth place in only his second start for Toyota. He is the 20th Japanese driver to start a Grand Prix and the seventh to score a point, joining Ukyo Katayama, Shinji Nakano, Aguri Suzuki, Takuma Sato and father-and-son Satoru and Kazuki Nakajima.

The younger Nakajima, however, became the only driver to start every race in 2009 without scoring a point. Team mate Nico Rosberg amassed 34.5.

The final race for BMW saw their cars finish fifth (Nick Heidfeld) and tenth (Robert Kubica).

Fernando Alonso finished his final race for Renault with his worst result for the team – 14th, which is also where he finished at Silverstone this year.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the first race at which both the drivers’ and constructors’ championship had already been decided since the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Unusually, this new addition to the calendar was not named after the country the race was held in (the United Arab Emirates) but its capital, Abu Dhabi. The UAE is the 28th different country in which a round of the world championship has been held, but the only one not to have given its name to the race.

The opposite is true of Luxembourg and San Marino, both of which have given their names to Grands Prix but never held a world championship round within their borders. Switzerland also did this in 1982, with a race at Dijon in France, but it held world champinoship races of its own from 1950 to 1954, after which motor racing was banned in the country following the Le Mans disaster of 1955.

Spotted any more interesting facts and stats? Post them in the comments.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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121 comments on Abu Dhabi Grand Prix facts and stats

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  1. Ned Flanders said on 3rd November 2009, 12:09

    I wondered why it was called the Abu Dhabi rather than the UAE GP. You don’t get the English GP or the Indiana GP or the Victoria GP, why should Abu Dhabi be any different? But then I suppose the race was just a really expensive 2 hour advert put on by the Abu Dhabi tourist board…

    • Stealthman said on 3rd November 2009, 12:16

      Abu Dhabi rolls off the tongue better. Think of it: “You are watching the United Arab Emirates Grand Prix”… Try saying that fast ten times. :P ;)

      • GeeMac said on 3rd November 2009, 12:20

        If it was the UAE GP this could happen next year:

        “USGPE wins the UAEGP.”

      • Ned Flanders said on 3rd November 2009, 12:26

        Well the emirates can’t be all that united if one part of the country wants to hog all the publicity!

        • NomadIndian said on 3rd November 2009, 12:37

          maybe they are so united that if one of them has a big event all to itself, the others dont want to butt in…

      • Personally I have been calling it Abu Dhabi Doo in the style of Scooby Dooby Doo.

        • Bullfrog said on 3rd November 2009, 13:33

          and Jonathan Legard has been calling it “Aberdabi” as if it’s somewhere in Wales

          • True. But in Arabic the “Dh” sound is pronounced closer to a “Z” rather than the hard “d” you usually hear. So none of us really have the right to complain about mispronunciation.

    • ajokay said on 3rd November 2009, 12:58

      I think it is due to the reason that, as the name suggests, the United Arab Emirates is made up of several Emirates, one of which is ‘Abu Dhabi’ The city of Abu Dhabi happens to be the capital of both the Abu Dhabi Emirate, and the UAE as a whole.

      So it’s kind of the same as calling the last few US Grand Prix the ‘Indianan Grand Prix’, or how one of the Spanish rounds of the Moto GP is known as the ‘Catalan Grand Prix’. It’s named for the state or region, rather than the country.

    • Anthony said on 3rd November 2009, 16:18

      Brahain has its grand prix and its in UAE too… so maybe its why, because then we will have to call 2 different races the “UAE Grand Prix”

      • SaloolaS said on 3rd November 2009, 16:34

        In Germany they solved the exact problem with German GP and European GP. Same in Spain.

      • Ned Flanders said on 3rd November 2009, 17:16

        Nope… Bahrain is it’s own country, it’s not part of the UAE

        Apparently Abu Dhabi and Dubai are don’t much like each other, but then that just leads me back to the question: why name your country the United Arab Emirates if all the states hate each other???

      • Zahir said on 3rd November 2009, 19:01

        Bahrain isnt in the UAE… its just in the middle east.

      • a1varo said on 3rd November 2009, 20:00

        anthony, sorry to correct you but Bahréin is not a UAE but is also located in the persian golf

      • lokiparan said on 4th November 2009, 6:50

        Fernando Alonso finished his final race for Renault with his worst result for the team – 14th, which is also where he finished at Silverstone this year.

        Alonso’s worst finishing result in six seasons with Renault is only 14th and a quick check of Wikipedia suggests his next worst finishing result with Renault was 11th on three occasions. I think that is an absolutely astounding fact, very consistent results! So apart from retirements and one non-start, Alonso has placed in the top ten in every race (bar those five) since the beginning of 2003.

    • The Emirates that make up the UAE are all separate principalities. Abu Dhabi (yes, pronounced more like abadabi) aggressively competes with Dubai on bragging rights. They are ‘united’ mostly in defense, customs and foreign policy, and ‘loose association of emirates’ doesn’t have the same ring to it (there are 5 other Emirates and Emirs, but not as prominent).

      most important reason for the naming, Dubai will have its own Grand Prix ..

  2. GeeMac said on 3rd November 2009, 12:18

    Jenson’s final points tally of 95 is the second lowest collectd by a WDC since the 10,8,6,5,4,3,2,1 points system was introduced in 2003.

    Only Mike Shoe’s tally of 93 in 2003 is lower.

    • Oh this again. Did you take into account the half-points from Malaysia’s rain out? At full points he would have been at 100 so what’s your point? Also note the Canadian GP didn’t run, so correct me if I’m wrong but I thought the season was a bit shorter than previous. Think of total points possible and you’ll find his percentage better than Kimi’s or Lewis’. Did you object to their titles as well?

  3. First time (I think) a team member asked his girl friend to marry him using a pit board meanwhile she was at home in Spain. (She answered Yes, btw)


    • TommyB said on 3rd November 2009, 12:34

      Did anyone else read the press conference about Vettel and Webber teasing Button about how he hasn’t proposed to his girlfriend yet when he said he would when he won the championship

      • Did anyone else read the press conference about Vettel and Webber teasing Button about how he hasn’t proposed to his girlfriend yet when he said he would when he won the championship

        Yes and I love this chat:

        SV: I hear you are getting married.

        JB: Are you proposing?


        • Chalky said on 3rd November 2009, 17:23

          My favourite part was this bit….

          Q: (Anne Giuntini – L’Equipe) To all three of you: considering there is a long break before February, I suppose you won’t be on holiday all the time. What is your working programme?
          SV: Jenson’s getting married, we heard. So he’s busy.
          MW: And we’re all invited as well.
          SV: Yeah, everyone.
          JB: Next question.
          MW: But Japan’s a long way.

          • Brian said on 3rd November 2009, 19:49

            does anyone have a video of the press conference? I wanna watch it, not just read about it over and over.

  4. Ned Flanders said on 3rd November 2009, 12:33

    Adrian Sutil’s qualifying positions in the last 5 races of the season were 2nd, 16th, 4th, 3rd, 18th.

    What consistency!

  5. TommyB said on 3rd November 2009, 12:39

    Haha! Nice!

    These are Buttons

    5th, 14th, 8th, 11th, 6th

    Everyone has been really close this year all the qualifying positions are crazy!

  6. Ned Flanders said on 3rd November 2009, 12:48

    Red Bull had four 1-2 finishes this season (China, Silverstone, Nurburgring, Abu Dhabi), yet they didn’t win the Constructors title. Presumably this has never happened before.

    2009 has been such a great season and yet such a disaster for Red Bull. It was the one big chance they had to win the title while Ferrari and Mclaren were struggling, but they blew it with there awful run of form in the late summer. Think of how many points they dropped at Spa, Monza, Valencia etc

  7. Jelle van der Meer said on 3rd November 2009, 12:48

    UAE is made up out of 7 individual oil states, Dubai being the most famous one.

    Abu Dhabi is the name of 1 of the 7 oil states – so with above logic it is named after the country.

    Sebastian Vettel 5th win matches Nino Farina, M. Alboreto, John Watson, Tony Brooks and Keke Rosberg.

    Hamilton(21.2%), Alonso(15.0%), Vettel(11.6%) and Raikonnen(11.5%) are the only 4 active drivers in top 50 highest GP win rate.

    Hamilton(51.9%), Raikonnen(39.5%), Alonso(37.9%), Barrichello(23.7%) and Vettel(11.6%) are the only 5 active drivers in top 50 highest podium place rate.

    Heidfeld is the driver with 2nd most GP’s(168), most points(220) and most podiums(12) without a win.

    Kobayashi is ranked 241st on points out of 310 drivers with minimal 0,5 point.

    Based on my points awarding system for 2009 the driver/team winners are: (1st = 20/10points 20th/10th= 1 point)

    Optimal laptime (practice+qualify)
    1st Vettel (303) Red Bull (154)
    2nd Barrichello (272) Brawn GP (139)
    3rd Button (271) Mclaren (103)

    Race position
    1st Button (283) Brawn GP (148)
    2nd Barrichello (265) Red Bull (124)
    3rd Vettel (240) Ferrari (102)

    Fastest lap in race
    1st Button (277) Brawn GP (143)
    2nd Vettel (259) Red Bull (140)
    3rd Webber (256) Toyota (104)

    Surprissing to see Ferrari 3rd on race position and Toyota 3rd on fastest lap. If there was any discussion on Button being a worthly champion let it than now be closed with Button winning easily race position and fastest lap competition.

    Looking at within team driver battle, getting 1 point for beating your teammate on practice time, qualify position, fastest lap and race position:
    Mclaren: Lewis 48 vs Heikki 20
    Ferrari: Raikonnen 45 vs Massa 23 (Fisi&Luca 0)
    BMW: Kubica 36 vs Heidfeld 32
    Renault: Alonso 52 vs Piquet 11 (Grossjean 5)
    Toyota: Trulli 39 vs Glock 26 (Kobayashi 3)
    T. Rosso Buemi 48 vs Bourdais 13 (Jaime 6)
    Red Bull Vettel 44 vs Webber 24
    Williams Rosberg 56 vs Nakajima 12
    F. India Sutil 39 vs Fisichella 22 (Luizzi 7)
    Brawn GP Button 41 vs Barrichello 27

    Alonso and Rosberg were most dominate, Alonso only lost 1 qualifying battle from Piquet in Germany. Buemi and Vettel both have 15-2 as score on qualifying

    • Terry Fabulous said on 3rd November 2009, 21:57

      That is some great analysis there.
      Amazing that Lew wins one race out of every five starts. Amazing.

      And I hope that Poor ol Nick Heidfeld can get himself a win sometime soon!

  8. GeeMac said on 3rd November 2009, 12:54

    “Kobayashi is ranked 241st on points out of 310 drivers with minimal 0,5 point.”

    I’m very confused by this…

    • There’s only been 310 drivers to score 0.5 points or more (you get 0.5 points if the race does not go near enough to full distance), and of them, 3 points is enough for 241st place.

      • GeeMac said on 3rd November 2009, 13:29

        Oh I see, it was just grammar that was confusing me.

        The way the sentence is written it implies that Kobayashi is in 241st place because he has only scored 0.5 points.

        Sorry for being a grammar Nazi…

        • James G said on 3rd November 2009, 19:57

          Lella Lombardi is the only driver with a career total of 0.5 points, as well as being the only female driver to score.

          Other unusual career totals:

          Onofre Marimon: 8.143
          Umberto Maglioli: 8.33
          Alberto Ascari: 107.64

          • James G said on 3rd November 2009, 19:59

            Oops. Umberto Maglioli actually received 3.33 points in his career.

          • sato113 said on 3rd November 2009, 20:12

            how do you score those kind of points?

          • SaloolaS said on 3rd November 2009, 21:54

            @sato113 – years ago there was one additional point for fastest lap. As they could measure the time only by one second exact (no tenths or hundreths of a second), sometimes two or three drivers had the fastest lap and got 0,50 or 0,33 point each. At one race, 7 drivers had the same fastest lap (within one second). Each got 0,14 – and one of them finished the season with alltogether 0,14 points!

          • sato113 said on 4th November 2009, 2:03

            cheers SaloolaS!

          • pSynrg said on 4th November 2009, 16:51

            Never knew that, thanks!

            They should seriously bring back a point for fastest race lap, time it down to hundredths maybe as there could be some distribution at this resolution.
            If not then thousandths going by the tight 2009 season.
            Tightest spread over a season ever, anyone looked at this? Come on statitfiers!

  9. Andrew White said on 3rd November 2009, 13:14

    - Rubens Barrichello completed the most laps this year, with 977 out of 988.
    – Jenson Button led the most laps this year, with 279, despite not leading a race since Turkey.
    – Button increased his points tally this year by over 3000% compared to last year :P
    – If we were on 10-6-4-3-2-1, Button would have won the championship by 7 points, with 76 to Vettel’s 69. Brawn would have won the constructors’ championship by just 5.5 points, clinching it in the last round
    – If the championship had been based on qualifying results, Vettel would have won the championship by 18 points, with Button third, and Red Bull and Brawn would have been tied on 166 points
    – Barrichello partipicated in the most qualifying sessions, missing just one of the 51 sessions (Q3 in Hungary)
    – Nine races were won from pole this year, and there were winners from every place in the top six on the grid

    • James said on 3rd November 2009, 13:39

      Also, Button would have won under the medals system, with two races to spare.

      So no matter what system would have been used in this year’s season, Button would have won the champion regardless. Undeserving? Well, all the evidence suggests otherwise.

    • Icthyes said on 3rd November 2009, 23:09

      If we used the system previous to that (9-6-4-3-2-1, best 11 from 16), Jenson would have only won by 2.5 points! (had it been 12 from 17, it would have been 4.5 points I believe)

      Had Vettel’s season gone a little differently (any combination involving Australia/Barcelona(stuck behind Massa)/Monaco/Hungary and Valencia mechanical failure), he might have found himself leading the title by 1 point as things stood on Abu Dhabi, which would have made that last-lap duel between Button and Webber even more epic!

  10. UnicornF1 said on 3rd November 2009, 13:17

    is there any other time that a driver went for a pit stop to another’s team garage?
    Jaime could be the first doing this :-D

    • Anonymous said on 3rd November 2009, 14:34

      Being a sister team, he’s welcome! Just kidding.

      Ferrari vs McLaren have 1 point between them.
      Kimi got 48 to Hamilton 49, Massa and Heikki got 22 equal points.

      Only if Massa didn’t had that unfortunate event, it’s highly that Ferrari emerged as third in the Constructor in normal circumstance. Considering the capability of Massa even the car is said to be hard to drive and stoppage of car development, he surely have had collected a good share of points. Ok, “if” is not acceptable in Formula 1. So be it.

    • Frentzen did the same in Jerez 1997 and I recall Irvine doing it in his Jordan days.

  11. Daniel said on 3rd November 2009, 13:28

    About Grand Prix names:

    First of all, the British Grand Prix should be called the United Kingdom Grand Prix if it was to follow strictly the “country name” rule, but it rather follows a “nationality” rule (British, Brazilian, French, Belgian, and so on…)… curiously, the brazilian media calls it “England Grand Prix” (Grande Prêmio da Inglaterra), since we don’t say English, or British or Belgian Grand Prix (that would be Grande Prêmio Belga, Grande Prêmio Britânico), but Belgium Grand Prix (that is Grande Prêmio da Bélgica)…

    Grand Prix have already been named after continents (European), oceans (Pacific), cities (Dallas, Pescara), cities that are also countries (Singapore, Monaco) countries’ regions (USA West) and now after a city that is also an emirate (equivalent to a state in federal republics, but yet more autonomous) (Abu Dhabi).

    • Monaco isn’t a city, Monte Carlo is.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd November 2009, 22:27

      Daniel, is there not a term for ‘British’ in Portuguese? Calling something ‘English’ when it’s ‘British’ will not please the Scots/Welsh/Northern Irish!

      • Daniel said on 3rd November 2009, 22:53

        Yeah, it should be “Grande Prêmio da Grã-Bretanha” (Great Britain Grand Prix) and the equivalent for British is “Britânico”.

        Don’t ask me why they call it English Grand Prix here, but I suspect it is because our sports media is very much soccer-oriented, and therefore the journalists are used to refer England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as separate entities like they are for FIFA(for example, Irvine was always an Irish driver…)

  12. Bullfrog said on 3rd November 2009, 13:31

    The Brawn team took Heikki’s fuel hose out in the last race – does that count?

    I’m sure we’ll have more races within the UAE before long, if Bernie has his way.

  13. Both the 2008 and 2009 constructors champions (Ferrari and Brawn) scored 172 points in their title winning seasons. Red Bull scored 2.5 more points than McLaren did last year.

  14. SaloolaS said on 3rd November 2009, 13:50

    Villeneuve and Hamilton were both 2nd, 1st and 5th in WDC in their first three years.
    In Interlagos 08 and 09 a British driver with number 22 and Mercedes Engine won the championship with being 5th, with his main rival from Brazil having pole position. In both races the previous WDC was 3rd.

    And – in some article Keith wrote that Vettel was doing Doughnuts…it was actually Webber (saw the helmet).

    • Was definitely Webber, and knew that without seeing the helmet. You can take the boy out of country New South Wales, but you can’t take the country New South Wales out of the boy !

    • Daniel said on 4th November 2009, 21:18

      Nice one, but not for Hamilton… if he keeps his “Villeneuve pattern”, he’ll be, in his next seasons, 21st, 7th, 7th, 12th, 16th, 21st, 14th and 15th… He’ll surely be hoping to end these coincidences in 2010 :D

  15. Robert said on 3rd November 2009, 14:10

    I examined the driver’s championships since 1989, and compared the percentages of wins, podiums, and points scoring races for the WDC.

    Wins 6/17 = 35.29%, ranked 17 out of 21
    Podiums 9/17 = 52.94%, ranked 19 out of 21
    Points 16/17 = 94.12%, ranked 2 out of 21

    For the curious:
    Most wins in season: Michael Schumacher, 2002 (11/17 = 64.71%)
    Fewest wins in season: Alain Prost, 1989 (4/16 = 25.00%)
    Most podiums in season: Michael Schumacher, 2002 (17/17 = 100.00%)
    Fewest podiums in season: Jacques Villeneuve, 1997 (8/17 = 47.06%)
    Most points scoring races in season: Michael Schumacher, 2002 (17/17 = 100%)
    Fewest points scoring races in season: Michael Schumacher, 1994 (10/16 = 62.25%)

    For the more curious, Lewis last year:
    Wins 5/18 = 27.78%, ranked 20 out of 21
    Podiums 10/18 = 55.56%, ranked 18 out of 21
    Points 14/18 = 77.78%, ranked 13 out of 21

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