Korea’s first Grand Prix was the longest for 50 years (Korean GP facts and stats)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Start, Korea, 2010

Korea’s first ever Grand Prix was always going to have a place in the history books.

But taking near three hours to complete, it also became the longest world championship race since 1960. Read on for more stats and facts from the Korean Grand Prix.

Alonso’s Korean Grand Prix win has the hallmarks of a tipping point. He’s now won more races than any other driver this year – five – and he set his fifth fastest lap of the year too, which is two more than anyone else.

Considering his win rate this year, it’s interesting to note three drivers have led more laps than Alonso in 2010:

Driver Laps led
Mark Webber 315
Sebastian Vettel 273
Jenson Button 130
Fernando Alonso 126
Lewis Hamilton 100
Felipe Massa 42
Nico Rosberg 16
Sebastien Buemi 1

But he has completed more laps than any one else this year: 994 out of a possible 1,003 so far. Next highest is Michael Schumacher with 952.

This was his 26th win, putting him alone in sixth place on the all-time wins list. Has 18th fastest lap matches David Coulthard’s career total.

Some of his career stats match up with his Ferrari predecessor Kimi R??ikk??nen at the moment: 155 starts from 157 appearances resulting in 62 podium finishes.

For Sebastian Vettel it’s another tale of pole position but no win – the seventh time that’s happened to him this year having taken nine pole positions over the course of the season.

He’s now had 14 pole positions, giving him as many as Rubens Barrichello, along with Alberto Ascari, James Hunt and Ronnie Peterson.

He retired from the lead with a mechanical failure for the second time this year – the same thing happened to him at Melbourne.

The drivers who’ve been let down by their cars the most so far this year are Bruno Senna and Jarno Trulli, each with seven non-finishes caused by car problems (Trulli crashed at Monaco but was still classified).

Vitantonio Liuzzi finished sixth, equalling his best ever career finish. He was sixth at Shanghai for Toro Rosso in 2007. Schumacher matched his best finish of the year with fourth place.

Twelfth place is the lowest position Jenson Button has finished in since his Honda days – he was 13th at Interlagos in 2008.

There were no points for Red Bull for the first time since last year’s European Grand Prix. That leaves McLaren as the only team to have scored in every race this year.

Nick Heidfeld has now scored as many points in the last three races as Pedro de la Rosa did in the first 14 – albeit with a rather more reliable car.

Mercedes marked their 300th appearance at an F1 weekend as an engine supplier, of which they started 299 races (excluding Indianapolis 2005).

Longest race since 1960

Because of the long stoppage, this was one of the longest races of recent times. Races rarely approach the two-hour limit (introduced in 1989, the 200-mile limit coming 18 years earlier), although they got close in Singapore this year.

The suspension at Korea meant the rule allowing the race duration to be extended was activated, and the race took two hours, 48 minutes, 20.810 seconds to complete.

The wet Monaco Grand Prix two years ago hit the two-hour limit and the year before that a downpour at the Nurburgring saw a race suspension and a total race time of two hours and six minutes.

You have to go back 50 years to find a championship round that took longer to complete. The Indianapolis 500 counted towards the title then, and Jim Rathman won that year’s race a time of 3:36’11.36.

To find a race run to F1 rules that took longer you have to go back one race further, to that year’s Monaco Grand Prix. Stirling Moss won that race, completing 100 laps in 2:53’45.5.

Find the updated 2010 season statistics here.

Spotted any more interesting stats and facts from the Korean Grand Prix weekend? Share them in the comments.

2010 Korean Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 Korean Grand Prix articles

119 comments on “Korea’s first Grand Prix was the longest for 50 years (Korean GP facts and stats)”

  1. yep, the same one after each race, the championship leader still hasn’t won a race. not looking good for fernando in brazil!

    1. and therefore, the championship leader hasn’t won a race since jensen in turkey last year…

      1. The fact that that statistic keeps holding is what’s kept this championship so competitive all year. Hopefully it continues in Brazil and we have an epic 4 or 5 way fight at Abu Dhabi.

        1. I seriously doubt that Jenson will still have a chance after Brazil. However, a 4-way fight is still quite possible and would be awesome

          1. I want to say Button is out of battle, but i still remember 2007…

          2. José Baudaier
            26th October 2010, 7:12

            2007 was different. It only needed one driver to crash twice for Haikonnen to win. Now it would need probably four double crashes, much harder.

  2. Thanks for making me feel old Keith :P

    But it’s an excellent point. I’ve had thousands of tweets since the race and no one else seems to have spotted it. Good job!

  3. Considering his win rate this year, it’s interesting to note three drivers have led more laps than Alonso in 2010:

    But Pet has driven a greater distance… mainly in circles ;)

    1. One of these days I’ll get a post right :p

  4. I thought the 2 hour time clock kept running even after they red flagged the race, isn’t that what happened in Malaysia last year?
    Or because they’d only done 3 laps was it stopped or something?

    1. The Malaysia race was never re-started, so race time ended when the suspension began, less than an hour after the start of the race.

    2. No, it was the light conditions in Malaysia that forced the race to be abandoned rather than the time limit. If you look at the section of the Sporting Regulations concerning the end of a race, it clearly states that the maximum duration for a race is two hours, plus the length of any suspensions.

      The BBC commentators got this wrong last year, which caused a lot of confusion about it. Brundle even admitted he’d made that mistake when discussing Malaysia ’09 yesterday.

      1. further to that, does anyone have any images to show what the light level was actually like at the end of the race? the tv footage was really misleading, but from what i could see the grandstands were virtually empty.

        1. Being there at the grandstand I have to say that I was a bit surprised they let it run for so long as final 5 laps were really really dark – I’m sure the drivers were struggling a lot in those conditions

      2. That clears it up, I was going off what they said from Malaysia 09.

      3. Malaysia ’09. Remember the furore (rightly deserved, in my opinion) over the start time? Bernie and his twilight races to suit European audiences.

        Australia ’09 saw alot of complaints from drivers about light conditions – another twilight race.

        Now we have the Korean GP finishing in near darkness – with a start time of 3pm, same as Brazil ’09.

        When will the FIA step in and stop Bernie starting these races so late? Some rain forcing a race suspension, a heavy shunt in an awkward place, overcast skies etc. and it becomes downright dangerous. What else are the FIA there for if not driver safety? grr

        1. * I meant Brazil ’08, sorry.

        2. I completely agree, and getting up early for a race only adds to the excitement!

  5. Fernando has never won in Brazil, but if he does:

    Webber must be not be on the podium for Alonso to clinch it :( (helped of course by Germany)

    1. Not quite:

      If Alonso wins Brazil, Webber can stay in the fight with a 4th place finish, regardless of what anyone else does.

      1. In winning the Korean Grand Prix Alonso has now taken victories on 14 of the current calendar’s 19 venues (74%) – matching Schumacher. A win in either of the remaining events will see him move clear.

        Current ‘calendar domination’ standings for current drivers:

        Schumacher – 14 (74%)
        Alonso – 14 (74%)
        Hamilton – 10 (53%)
        Button – 8 (42%)
        Barrichello – 7 (37%)
        Vettel – 7 (37%)
        Massa – 6 (32%)
        Webber – 5 (26%)
        Trulli – 1 (5%)
        Kubica – 1 (5%)
        Kovalainen – 1 (5%)

        As a sidenote, the circuit that has provided victories for the highest number of current drivers is the Hungaroring with seven. Silverstone, Shanghai and Monaco are next with six.

        All utterly pointless stats of course, but interesting nonetheless!

        1. I think before Hamilton won there a second time in 2009, the Hungaroring had seen a different driver win there every year going back to the early part of the decade. It’s also the case that no one has won at Shanghai twice (Barrichello, Alonso, Schumacher, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Vettel and Button won there from 2004-2010).

  6. AGAIN, whenever Vettel is on course to lead the championship, disaster strikes.

    1. Kinda true fact actually

  7. keith i think it’s time to bring that point predictor program back to the top thread

    1. I was playing with that a minute ago.

      If Alonso wins in Brazil and Webber is fifth or below, it’s all over (2nd places isn’t enough for Vettel).

      But if Webber wins the last two, Alonso’s lead is not enough, even if he comes second twice.

  8. There can’t be many races where the safety car has led more laps than the eventual race winner.

    1. Yeah, I can’t believe no team has picked Mayländer up, I mean, Imagine what he could do with a competitive car!

    2. I know its not F1, but as a side note: I was at a race a number of years ago where (due to weather) the safety car spent so long on track it ran out of fuel! It came into pits in the nick of time and the medical car took over as pace car for a couple of laps while they refueled.

      1. I think Ted Kravitz mentioned during the race that this is also the procedure for F1, if the safety car was out for so long it ran out of fuel (although they may actually have a spare safety car rather than using the course car or the medical car). It’s never actually happened yet though.

    3. Brazil 2003 was another such race.

  9. If the WDC leader’s position is jinxed, Alonso will likely break it, since Massa will likely be good at Interlagos, only for him to give up the victory by letting Alonso through for the championship’s sake.

    1. The Bulls both ran fantastically at Interlagos last year though. Vettel drove to 4th from 16th, and Webber won. I don’t think Alonso’s going to break that streak.

    2. Really doubt that Massa will be leading the Brazilian GP. OK, he has a good record there, but he had an even better record of performances in Turkey, and the best he could manage there was 7th position this year.

      1. That was when Ferrari’s performance fell behind that of Mclaren, Red Bull, Mercedes and Renault, though.

        But it is unlikely he’ll take pole or be leading.

    3. The dream scenario for Brazil would be Massa leading home a Ferrari 1-2 with the other title contenders retiring, then Alonso would win the title but Massa the race. Never going to happen though.

      1. You must mean the nightmare scenario. I think you got your words mixed up. ;-)

  10. Alonso has yet to win a race this year by overtaking someone on track. In Bahrain, Germany and Korea the leader suffered a problem (why did Massa’s engine suddenly produce so much less power than Alonso’s ;)), in Monza it was pit strategy after losing the lead from the line and in Singapore (somewhat unfairly for this stat) he led from pole.

    Vettel has only not won from starting first once, his Turn 1 pass in Malaysia.

    Webber has won from not starting first from a better start in Silverstone and strategy in Hungary.

    Button has won twice from strategy, once having fallen down the order to leap them in the pits.

    Hamilton has won once from (re-)overtaking (and misfortune), once from a good start but crucially remains the only driver to win a race this year that overtook a rival (Alonso) on the track itself.

    Not meant as a criticism of any drivers (how can you criticise Alonso’s Singapore victory just because he started on pole?), just an interesting fact.

    1. Alonso has yet to win a race this year by overtaking someone on track.

      OK, but how many drivers this year have won races by overtaking others? Regrettably it doesn’t happen that often.

      1. No, it doesn’t happen enough. In a way, that could have been the point of my post (except it was about Hamilton).

      2. Lewis Hamilton Overtook, Alonso,&Webber in Canada and won the race

    2. There hasn’t been enough overtaking amongst the top 5 drivers this year. As you pointed out other than a Buemi assisted overtake made by Hamilton, there has been no lead change due to an overtake. Its not just Alonso who has to yet overtake and win a race, it is also Webber, Vettel and Button.

      1. Yeh, darn that Buemi, without him Alonso wouldn’t have been overtaken by Button and finished 9 seconds adrift of the winner…

      2. There has been plenty overtaking at the front. It just mostly always results in an accident :P

      3. Completely false. Button overtook Rosberg for the lead in China, Button overtook Hamilton for the lead in Turkey, Hamilton overtook Button for the lead in Turkey, Hamilton overtook Webber for the lead in Canada. The McLaren drivers certainly know how to overtake.

        1. Well, Rosberg went off the road more than anything. I think Button was slightly gaining on him though, I’m not sure.

          1. Button overtook Rosberg for the lead on the track by slipstreaming him down the long back straight. Rosberg had gone off a few corners earlier, which allowed Button to catch up, but he had recovered back on to the strack still several car lenghts ahead of Button. Maybe Rosberg had a bit less momentum than he would have had if he hadn’t made is error, but since so many overtaking moves are triggered by something like this, to say that it wasn’t an overtaking move would be ridiculous. If you don’t believe me you can watch a video of it here: http://www.univision.com/uv/video/F1-China-2010-Button-%FCberholt-Rosberg-SK/id/1531911231

        2. I seem to remember Vettel overtaking Webber for the lead in Turkey :) well, he got past him didn’t he?

        3. Webber on Vettel at Silverstone.

    3. What I would say is that Fernando is a better defender than attacker.
      He fancies himself defending his position rather than attacking it but that is also a skill and not many have that.

      1. Clearly he’s better at defending than attacking, otherwise you might have expected him to overtake in Germany.

  11. If the next two races finish Vettel, Webber, ALonso then Alonso is WDC.

  12. Would someone be able to display the standings under the old scoring system please?

    Would be interesting to see.

    1. Fernando Alonso (81)
      Mark Webber (75)
      Lewis Hamilton (72)
      Sebastian Vettel (69)
      Jenson Button (59)

      1. So Button would already be out of it. Interesting.

      2. Now that’s interesting. Under last year’s system Button is already out of it…

        1. Thats one of the consequences of extending points down to 10th…

  13. Okay, let me try this…

    If Alonso wins Brazil:
    – Button, Vettel and Hamilton are all eliminated from WDC contention.
    – Webber will be eliminated by finishing 5th or worse.

    Should Webber not be eliminated in Brazil (still assuming Alonso wins Brazil):
    – 4th in Brazil:
    – – ABU: Webber P1 + Alonso P11 or worse = Webber is WDC; else, Alonso WDC
    – 3rd in Brazil:
    – – ABU: Webber P1 + Alonso P9 or worse = Webber is WDC, else Alonso WDC
    – 2nd in Brazil:
    – – ABU: Webber P1 + Alonso P7 or worse = Webber is WDC, else Alonso WDC

    So, realistically, Alonso winning Brazil means Webber must win Abu Dhabi while Alonso DNFs (or has a Korean Button-esque race).

    1. alonso will not win in brazil, he will play it safe and finish 3rd/4th beacuse that is all he needs

      1. I bet he’d like to win in Brazil! Ok, he’ll not be taking crazy risks for the win (as Lewis might, a 2nd place is not good enough for him, especially if Fernando wins), but will try to win nevertheless. It would almost mean the WDC, depending on Mark’s position.

        If I were him and Lewis or Seb were all over my back, I’d let them pass. But I’d defend from Mark. Fernando will probably choose to defend from any of them anyway, if the situation arises.

        I would really like Felipe to win in Brazil. A Felipe-Fernando ticket is highly unlikely, because Ferrari would prefer a switch (unless Mark is off the points). But it could well be a Felipe-Mark-Fernando podium, which would make for an interesting weekend in Yas Marina. Ferrari would never give the victory to Mark so that Fernando could end on top of Felipe, that would be more damaging for the present advantage of Fernando (would be reduced to 4 pts instead of 8).

        1. “(unless Mark is off the points)”

          … And Lewis is nor 3rd, I must add. Alonso 2nd and Lewis 3rd would give Lewis the slimmest chance of a WDC in Yas Marina (needing the win + Fernando off the points).

      2. but if he finishes 4th and webber wins, then webber would retake the lead going to abu dhabi. i don’t think alonso’s one to play it safe, particularly when it’s still so close.

  14. Thought it was interesting that Hamilton started 4th, was overtaken twice, overtook nobody on track and finished 2nd.

    1. Worrying. Though of course one overtake was the guy he didn’t overtake on the track.

      I guess it shows that reliability > not making a mistake > speed. Sometimes.

      1. “reliability > not making a mistake > speed”

        but as Keith pointed out Alonso had so much speed he was 2 seconds faster than everyone in the closing stages. We’ll never know for sure but its arguable he may have gotten past Vettel anyway.

  15. Another Stat for you, for the last 4 years the WDC has been won by the driver who has won the first Grand Prix, Alonso – Bahrain 2006, Raikkonen – Australia 2007, Hamilton – Australia 2008, Button – Australia 2009, Alonso – Bahrain 2010?

    1. Is it the first race of is it the Australian GP? (Alonso won Australia 2006 as well, so it works either way). Button’s closer to the lead than Raikkonen was in 2007, so who’s to say he can’t emulate him?

      1. No he isn’t. With two races to go in 2007, Hamilton needed the equivalent of a fifth place finish (4pts) to eliminate Raikkonen. Alonso needs the equivalent of a sixth place finish (8pts) to eliminate Button.

        1. Yes he is. Raikkonen was 17 points behind Hamilton. Using the points for a win ratio (25:10) Button is 16.8 points behind Alonso. So there.

          1. That ratio only works for P1, not for any of the other positions. Otherwise eighth place would be worth 2.5 points.

          2. But it’s the big poiints positions that matter in this instance ;)

  16. I think Vettel will better Schumacher’s most pole position record some day. He is 23 years old, and he already has 14 pole positions under his belt.

    1. Maybe but it depends on the car also. I don’t believe that the ridiculous advantage RBR has had in quali sessions all this year will continue indefinitely.

    2. Shame there aren’t points for pole any more, isn’t it… The race is on Sunday, Seb. ;)

  17. Not sure whether it deserves to be posted here, but the Korean Track is the 68th track that has held a Formula 1 championship race since 1950.

    1. Nice one, thanks Wasi!

      It’s also joins the list of tracks to have held just one world championship race. Here’s the rest: The one-off Grand Prix tracks

      1. are you implying something there keith? haha

        1. Ah, no, I reckon they’ll be fine. Hope so too, I must say I wasn’t impressed with my first look at the track but it’s grown on me.

          1. Wanna hope it lasts otherwise it was an entertaining $264 million race!

          2. I’ll like it when either
            a) there’s a cracker of a dry-weather race
            or b) wet weather is an inevitable annual feature, kinda like Fuji.

            I’ll probably have a concrete opinion of the Yeongam circuit next season.

  18. colin grayson
    25th October 2010, 10:48

    nobody notice that the unluckiest driver after vettel was rosberg ? mercedes clearly got the set up just right for the conditions and I reckon that rosberg was heading for at least a podium finish as things worked out ; just look at where schu finished !

    maybe I am wrong but were mercedes adjusting the front suspension settings during the red flag period ? ross strikes again perhaps ?

    1. Nobody noticed? I Tweeted it during the race: http://twitter.com/f1fanatic_co_uk/status/28579011194

      Forget the podium, he was in front of Hamilton – who finished second – and given Alonso’s problem in the pits he could have been in contention for the win.

      1. Yeah, that really was a shame for Rosberg. Would’ve been great to see him score his first win, and if he’d lead Alonso with Hamilton in third we’d have a closer championship heading to Brazil:

        1. That would have been an absolute dream first win for Rosberg, and highly deserved I think.

  19. Keith, for your historical stats..

    With an average speed of 109.997 kph, is this the slowest GP ever?

    I know it’s not the ‘true’ averege speed during the race, but it’s the official average speed posted by FIA, obtained dividing the total time (almost 3 hours) by the total length (300 kilometers).

    1. No, there have been several slower races. The slowest of all was the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix, won by Juan Manuel Fangio at an average of 98.701kph. The next slowest was also at Monaco, 100.776kph by Alain Prost in the famous shortened and very wet race in 1984.

      1. I think that says something about how much faster F1 cars have become…

    2. Oooops sorry, I put it on the wrong order, speed is distance divides by time…

      I think I’ve to go back to the school…

      1. Ohhh my godness!!

        Keith you were faster replying me than I fixing my mistake!!!

        Keep this way Keith, you deserve the WBC…World Blog Championship!!!

        1. Thanks mastakink. Great username by the way!

  20. The WDC has been decided at Brazil every year since 2005.

    1. yep its interesting how even moving an event from end of season some years that the title still somehow decides its self at the same track, for years it was suzuka now brazil.

      in 05 it was 3 from the end. 06,07,08 it was last and 09 & 10 it was one from last.

    2. Brazil is perfect for the title deciding race and I think everyone is with me in hoping the record continues this year :P

      1. Um. No. I think the majority of fans want to see as many drivers in contention as long as possible. It keeps the sport interesting.

      2. Actually I would love it to see 4 drivers still with a good shot at winning it in Abu Dhabi.

        Just imagine having different possibilities during the race and Lewis risking an overtake on Fernando or Vettel barging into Mark to stop him from winning it. Or even Button winning it to enable Hamilton to have a chance to overtake Vettel for the WDC.

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