Clay Regazzoni, Williams, Buenos Aires, 1979

Williams make worst season start for over 30 years

2011 Chinese GP stats and factsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Clay Regazzoni, Williams, Buenos Aires, 1979
Clay Regazzoni, Williams, Buenos Aires, 1979

Williams have made their worst start to a season since 1979 having failed to score in any of the first three races.

Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado posted their first finishes of the year in China with 13th and 18th respectively.

The highest position Maldonado has occupied in a race so far is 15th – for just one lap.

The last time they failed to score in the first three races was in 1979, at which time they had never won a race before. However they did have two ninths and a tenth place, which are worth points today, so arguably this is their worst ever start to a season.

But there’s some cause for optimism. After replacing the FW06 with the FW07 they won five of the last seven races in 1979.

Hamilton’s 15th win

Lewis Hamilton brought Sebastian Vettel’s four-race streak of victories to an end with his 15th career win.

That puts Hamilton 15th in the all-time list of race winners. It continues his run of winning a race in every season he’s started – now five in a row. This was McLaren’s 170th win.

Having been in the points in all of last year’s races, McLaren are continuing the streak this year and have now scored points in 22 consecutive races.

Hamilton also became the first driver to win the Chinese Grand Prix twice. All the other previous winners were on the grid with one exception – Kimi R??ikk??nen.

Vettel added to his tally of pole positions with his 18th, giving him as many as Hamilton, as well as Mario Andretti and Rene Arnoux.

Fastest lap went to Mark Webber for the second race in a row. Coincidentally, he’s now matched Hamilton’s tally of fastest laps – eight – a feat also shared by Gilles Villeneuve, James Hunt and Ralf Schumacher.

However Webber is yet to lead a lap this year – despite his team mate being in front for 127 of the 170 laps so far.

Webber has also made the most pit stops of any driver so far this year, racking up ten in just three races.

Most finishes ever

The 2011 Chinese Grand Prix set a new record for most finishers in an F1 race. Just one retirement meant 23 drivers saw the chequered flag, beating a record which has stood for almost 60 years. The only driver not to finish was Jaime Alguersuari after a wheel came off his Toro Rosso following a pit stop.

The previous record was set at Silverstone in 1952 when there were 22 finishers. This in was the days before drivers had to finish 90% of the race distance to be classified. The record was equalled five races ago at Interlagos:

Race Finishers
2011 Chinese Grand Prix 23
1952 British Grand Prix 22
2010 Brazilian Grand Prix 22
2010 European Grand Prix 21
1976 Canadian Grand Prix 20
2005 Italian Grand Prix 20
2007 Turkish Grand Prix 20
2007 Italian Grand Prix 20
2010 British Grand Prix 20
2010 Belgian Grand Prix 20
2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 20

The two drivers on row four started from their highest-ever grid positions: Alguersuari (seventh) and Paul di Resta (eighth).

Di Resta is one of six drivers who’ve out-qualified their team mates in all three races so far and the only rookie to have done so.

Spotted any more stats and facts from the Chinese Grand Prix? Post them in the comments.

Review the year in statistics so far here:

2011 Chinese Grand Prix

Browse all 2011 Chinese Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Williams/LAT