Hamilton matches Clark’s record of team loyalty

2011 Australian GP stats & facts

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011

Lewis Hamilton reached an historic milestone in the Australian Grand Prix.

It was his 72nd start for McLaren, meaning he now shares the record for the longest F1 career spent driving for a single team with Jim Clark.

But while Clark took nine years to amass 72 starts for Lotus in world championship races, Hamilton has equalled the tally at the start of his fifth season.

Sebastian Vettel scored his first hat-trick of wins, adding his Australian victory to the two he scored at the end of last year. Indeed, he’s won four of the last five races.

It moves his wins total up to 11, giving him as many as Jacques Villeneuve, Felipe Massa and Rubens Barrichello.

The last time the reigning champion won the first race of the year was Fernando Alonso in 2006. That was also the last time a driver successfully defended their title.

Vettel also bagged his 20th podium finish and 16th pole position – the latter matching the totals of Kimi R??ikk??nen and Stirling Moss.

Vettel’s pole position time of 1’23.529 (an average speed of 228.552kph) was the fastest-ever lap of the Albert Park circuit in an F1 race weekend, almost four-tenths faster than the previous best also set by Vettel last year.

However the fastest lap in the race (Felipe Massa, 1’28.947) was almost five seconds slower than the record set by Michael Schumacher in 2004, of 1’24.125. The Drag Reduction System, tyres that degrade more rapidly and the refuelling ban explain much of the difference.

That was Massa’s first fastest lap since Monaco 2009. He’s racked up 13 in his career, as many as Jacky Ickx, Alan Jones and Riccardo Patrese.

Until this weekend Red Bull had never been on the podium at Melbourne. Vettel put that to an end, but Mark Webber once again failed to better his first result in his home race – fifth for Minardi in 2002.

Rubens Barrichello set a new record for starting more seasons than any other driver. He has raced every year since 1993, giving him a record 19 seasons, beating the previous record of 18 set by Graham Hill.

Assuming the FIA’s decision to exclude Sauber from the results is upheld, Paul di Resta became the 70th driver to score a world championship point in his first race.

That mark should have fallen to Sergio Perez. Instead he and team mate Kamui Kobayshi became the first drivers to be disqualified from a race since Lewis Hamilton at the same circuit two years earlier.

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Melbourne, 2011

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Melbourne, 2011

Vitaly Petrov scored his first Formula 1 podium – and the first for a Russian driver – in his 20th start.

The return of Pirelli meant we had our first non-Bridgestone win since Alonso won for Renault on Michelin tyres at Suzuka in 2006. Pirelli made their first appearance in an F1 race since Australia 1991 and won their first race since Canada 1991.

Spotted any other interesting statistics and facts from the Australian Grand Prix weekend? Share them in the comments.

F1 Fanatic’s 2011 season statistics pages will be launched ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix.

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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Image ?? Pirelli, Renault/LAT

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171 comments on Hamilton matches Clark’s record of team loyalty

  1. Oliver said on 28th March 2011, 15:06

    One other statistic. Vettel is the first youngest world champion to thank his race team with a grouchy voice after a win.
    Last year he was the first first winner to do that.
    Now he is leading the stats in both categories

  2. James said on 28th March 2011, 15:31

    how many races did Schumacher drive a Ferrari for?

    • alexf1man said on 28th March 2011, 17:09

      This record is from the start of Hamilton’s career. I’m not sure if you know, but Schumacher was at Jordan Grand Prix for 1 race (Belgium 1991)

  3. goofy (@goofy) said on 28th March 2011, 16:26

    First Double-DNF for a Team fired by Mercedes Engines since 2006 US GP after JPM crashed Kimi and himself out (and a lot of others)?!

    Ok, in 2009 Aussie GP Hamilton finished but was DSQed and Kova wasn’t able to finish a lap in the first two races ;)

  4. alexf1man said on 28th March 2011, 16:57

    Perez finishes 7th, gets disqualified for technical infringement whilst in no. 17 Sauber.

    Kubica (Hungary 2006) finishes 7th, gets DQ for having underweight car, no. 17 Sauber.

    On both occasions Massa moved up to 7th in the points.

    Any coincedence?

    • alexf1man said on 28th March 2011, 17:07

      and a McLaren finished 2nd on both occasions.

      Also Hamilton finished 2nd in European GP 2010 (27th June) and 2011 Australian GP (27th March).

      Luckily there’s no race on the 7th of a month because it’s not Hamilton’s favourite: China (October 2007) tyre problem; Belgium (September 2008) penalty post race; Turkey (June 2009) finishes P13 nearly a lap down.

      The exception to this is Brazil (November 2010) when he finished 4th, 7.8 seconds behind Alonso.

  5. Gordess said on 28th March 2011, 17:53

    What about Michael Schummacher? Didn’t he start in somehing like 180/185 races for Ferrari?

  6. how many drivers have being DSQ in his debut?

  7. Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 29th March 2011, 3:20

    What are the most number of cars to finish the first race of the year? Excluding DSQ.

    Or perhaps what is the least number of cars in the first race fail to finish purely because of a mechanical failure?

    This race had a pretty reliable field for Melbourne, i remember when it was almost garanteed that only half the field would make it to the end.

  8. Robin Evers (@robin-evers) said on 29th March 2011, 13:45

    I have one assumption to make: Maybe this was one of the youngest podiums overall? And the first podium with no driver older than the age of 26 ever?

    If sum up their age, they are 23+26+26 = 75 years old. But I have in mind that there might have been a combination beating it with Rosberg, Hamilton and Alonso in Singapore 2008. How old were they at this stage? Alonso 27, Hamilton and Rosberg both 23 witch would sum up to 73 years. But Alonso was definitly over 26 years old.

    This really felt like a “next-gen”-podium finish when you grown up following Schumacher vs Hill & Mika.

    P.S.: Thanks for giving me the One in the F1 Logo. Never seen it although I repainted it often when I was bored in school!

  9. Joe Nation said on 30th March 2011, 1:13

    This was the first race since Bahrain 2010 when the HRTs turned up with no testing miles under their belts.

    I’d hazard a guess and say they hold the record for fewest testing miles since the in-season testing ban came into effect (if not ever).

  10. james_mc said on 7th April 2011, 22:04

    It was the first race since Singapore 2008 to have 3 British drivers in the top 10, and the first since China 2007 that there were 3 scoring points.

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