Buemi and Schumacher are top overtakers – Mercedes

2011 F1 season

Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Buddh International Circuit

Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Buddh International Circuit

Sebastien Buemi and Michael Schumacher top the list of most prolific overtakers in 2011.

According to data produced by Mercedes, Buemi has made 112 overtaking moves and Schumacher 111 over the 18 races of the year to date.

Kamui Kobayashi has made 95, Jaime Alguersuari 90 and Sergio Perez 89.

Ignoring overtaking moves made on the first lap, Perez and Buemi have the most with 82. The next highest are Jenson Button (77), Mark Webber (76), Alguersuari (74) and Schumacher (71).

The Turkish Grand Prix saw the most overtaking moves with 85, followed by Canada (79) and China (67). The least passing was seen at Monaco (16), Australia (17) and India (18).

Mercedes also analysed the effect the Drag Reduction System has had on overtaking this year. Out of 804 “clean overtakes”, DRS accounted for 363 (45.1%). This excludes passes on the first lap, passes due to damage, and overtakes on the Virgin, HRT and Lotus cars.

The highest proportion of DRS-assisted passes was seen at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where 89% of passes were achieved with DRS. The next highest were the European (81%), Indian (78%), Turkish (59%) and Spanish (57%) Grands Prix. DRS passes outnumbered ordinary passes in eight of the 18 races so far.

The least DRS passes was seen (sometimes due to wet conditions) in the Monaco (13%), Hungarian (20%), Canadian (22%), Japanese (26%) and British (27%) Grands Prix.

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99 comments on Buemi and Schumacher are top overtakers – Mercedes

  1. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 22nd November 2011, 10:38

    how much of these overtaking are due ton the DRS?

  2. ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 22nd November 2011, 10:39

    Interesting stats there!

    There’s no doubt that DRS has certainly heavily contributed towards passing. But, it would be interesting to see how many overtakes there’d be without the DRS.

    It’s not just a case of NOT having the DRS moveable wing, it’d be changes to the gear ratios, it’d be potential modifications to strategies.

    • TheBrav3 said on 22nd November 2011, 16:48

      Impossible to tell my short theory on this is 804 – the drs passes =441+first lap overtakes=at least 550 probably more but lets say 550 then i would suspect – quite a few real overtakes because the teams would be running the same gear ratios and aero levels. The teams would also not pit their cars bringing them out right behind traffic knowing it can be easily made up which has happened alot this year.

      So my answer is something like 550 if we just take out the drs passes but less than 550 if we actually take it out of the rules.

  3. BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd November 2011, 10:41

    Thank you Mercedes, for giving us this data, its proven quite a task to discern what consitutes an overtake!

    Its a nice show of how the amount of overtakes does not have make or break a race. Turkey was not that great with the most passes, and Monaco wasn’t that bad even with very little passing. But having too big a proportion of DRS passes will help a lot to make it less well regarded.

    • I think the DRS is a good thing, but needs to be used a bit less. For instance, pile it on in Monaco and Abba Dabby because we need every bit that we can get to allow passing.

      However, at tracks like Turkey and Canada, which are good for passing anyway we really don’t need it on the typical straights, or indeed, if at all.

  4. ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 22nd November 2011, 10:49

    Monaco simply had more opportunities of a pass than we’ve ever seen, which is great. It worked a treat there. We were robbed of one of the best finishes at Monaco (second behind Prost/Senna/Bellof).

    Turkey, they just simply got it all wrong. The zone was absolutely massive, but that was part of the process, I guess. I’m a little surprised they couldn’t have figured it out a little better via simulation, though.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd November 2011, 11:04


      We were robbed of one of the best finishes at Monaco (second behind Prost/Senna/Bellof).

      Actually I’d say it was a repeat of 1984, in that the battle was called off as it was getting interesting!

      And if we’re talking best finishes at Monaco, surely we can’t forget 1961, 1970 and 1992?

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 22nd November 2011, 15:33

      I think the DRS worked the best in Monaco and Melbourne. A lot of tracks shouldn’t have even been given a DRS zone. Turkey was just plain ridiculous.

  5. Carl Craven said on 22nd November 2011, 10:51

    I think the stats are a little out of perspective.

    It says overtaking moves. But many of them are not places made up from the grid start to the final place. In the case of Schumacher an incident during the race would put him at the back and we’d see him race through the pack and see him finish in his original starting place or a few places ahead.

    Starting 10th or 11th, dropping to the back of the pack and working his way back to 10th would see him overtake around 14 cars.

    His form, ie starting spot and final place did improve toward the end of the season, but that was his initial form.

  6. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 22nd November 2011, 11:05

    Fascinating. Great stats, great article. Seems we’d still have plenty of overtaking without DRS this year. What a performance from Buemi!

    It’d also be interesting to imagine how many DRS overtakes could have been done on their own and without the button…

    • We would, but tracks like Valencia or Abu Dhabi would suffer greatly.

      • TheBrav3 said on 22nd November 2011, 16:59

        valencia needs even more drs. At least with abudhabi you can look at the hotel changing colour. Valencia and god save us bahrain are like a 200mph glass of warm milk and cookies whilst having your back kneaded by 3 kittens.

        • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 23rd November 2011, 12:59

          Bahrain isn’t all that bad I don’t think. I think the available layouts and possibilities are head over heels better than Abu Dhabi and certainly Valencia.

          It’s a desert, yes, but not quite as soulless as Turkey. It’s pretty epic. Although Turkey’s a better track.

  7. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 22nd November 2011, 11:10

    So the highest proportion of DRS-assisted passes were seen at Abu Dhabi (Tilkedrome), Valencia (Tilkedrome), India (Tilkedrome), Turkey (Tilkedrome) and Spain (final sector reworked by Tilke).

    Not knocking the dude (I acknowledge that his hands are tied when it comes to designing new tracks), it is just an observation.

  8. Interesting reading, but I’m not sure what it actually tells us, certainly not who’s best at overtaking. As Seb is probably bottom of this list I suspect the main thing that these stats show is who underperforms most in qualifying, and who has most often had a different race strategy. It would be interesting to see the reverse statistics, who has been over taken most!

    • John H (@john-h) said on 22nd November 2011, 11:55

      I’m not sure what it actually tells us, certainly not who’s best at overtaking

      Both probably!

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 22nd November 2011, 14:37

      @jimn, it would also include people who regularly have bad starts, which is part of the reason for the two STR cars to be high on the list, them having lost quite a few places in first laps, not to mention Webbeer. Button’s Canada fight from the back, that sort of thing.

      In the end, as @keithcollantine says in a post higher up on the pace: statistics need to be seen in context.

      Your idea for a most-overtaken statistic is indeed interesting. It is unfortunate that getting such data might be even harder than obtaining accurate passing/overtaking statistics!

  9. I think Shumi really started to drive a lot better from Brazil 06, maybe because of no pressure, one can only speculate, he always seemed very, very conservative, overtaking wise.

  10. Cornflakes (@cornflakes) said on 22nd November 2011, 11:41

    Goes to show how good Shumachers starts are! 40 first lap overtakes in 18 race starts. That’s an average rise of over 2 cars every race. What does that suggest? – that his race craft is excellent or that his qualifying is poor?

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 22nd November 2011, 12:02

      A bit of both – he was a good, but not spectacular overtaker in his previous career. But I reckon it’s more of the poor qualifying affecting him.

      • AgentChocolateOrange said on 22nd November 2011, 17:22

        Not at all does it suggest both. At the majority of races msc has qualifyed 1 to 3 places behind rosberg more often than not on the dirty side whilst rosberg has been on the clean side. He is lacking in qualy but he has had several car issues during qualy as well it’s not all been his problem.

        Regardless if you come from 1 to 3 places behind your team m8 on the dirty side of the grid and overtake him at the start when he’s on the clean side. That’s a good start he’s done a better job than his team m8 who’s started ahead on the grippyer side in the same car.

        If you believe schumachers done well because of his qualy position do you also believe this?

        “Rosberg has ended up behind schumacher after many first laps because he qualifyed ahead.”

        since when is that a disadvantage?

    • Schumacher is a poor qualifier thats why he overtakes so much in the first round…actually is the only way to overtake if your name is Schumacher and you drive a Mercedes Benz.

    • Both. Rosberg has qualified better, and with the same car has made less passes.

      • Cornflakes (@cornflakes) said on 22nd November 2011, 19:39

        Hmm, arguably because Rosberg hasn’t needed to make as many passes.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 23rd November 2011, 13:40

          Except for MS, all the other top passers are in cars that are at least a distant 5th in the constructors. MS’s car belongs behind the top 3 along with NR who actually did put the car where it belonged on most Saturday’s. ie. MS has started most races with a car capable of passing the cars around him, cars he should have put behind him on Saturday, while NR’s higher starting spots has seen him playing with the top 3 teams, a much much more difficult and understandably nearly impossible task in terms of passing them with that car.

          At Spa MS had 9 cars move out of his way at the start. Also, is anybody accounting for the tire advantage one has when one qualifies outside the top 10?

          So I would suggest MS’s passes are much more down to poor quali spots than racecraft…based on the Constructor’s standings his car is simply better than the cars he has passed so it can appear to be racecraft, and some passes were from that, but I would say mostly because of the rankings of the cars.

  11. SupaSix-1 said on 22nd November 2011, 11:46

    To me overtaking stats arent relevant anymore since the artificial aid in the DRS has been introduced.
    -Overtaking for me has become too farcicle in 2011.

    Overtaking only meant something to me when it wasnt as easy as it truely seperated the brave/greats from the ones who werent as brave or as talented enough to take risks when wheel to wheel.

    I do have to say however that schumacher has once again (for the second season) shown what a brilliant race starter he is (which is not DRS related).

    • Cornflakes (@cornflakes) said on 22nd November 2011, 14:16

      See the non-DRS stats then. I am actually suprised that DRS hasn’t influenced a higher percentage of the overtakes. 45%, and not including 1st lap passes. Take that into account and DRS will probably have only accounted for about a third of all passes this year.

      Ok, I have to admit – it was too easy at Abu Dhabi, but other than that an a few exceptions which are mentioned in the article, the system has been a success. I expect with the revised DRS zones next year, we could have some excellently balanced racing; whereby drivers are aided by DRS but in fact have to do the hard work themselves.

    • Ezio Auditore said on 22nd November 2011, 22:24

      Once again it goes to show how little people know about Schumacher. Michael was a terrible race starter till he drove for Ferrari at least until 2003. From then on Ferrari tried and found something to suit his slow reactions, when the red lights went out. Michael had also previously acknowledged that he is slow to react compared to the others. It is bizarre to say the least, that he has been the start king for the past two years.

      On a separate note: What I’m more interested in are the overtakes after lap one. Michael again has 71 which I think are truly indicative of the fact that he still very much has the skill to make clean maneuvers

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 23rd November 2011, 13:45

        So the difference to me is that the Merc is not a top 3 car, it’s a distant 4th, and he has qualified it more like a 5th place car or worse. It is a lot easier to look like a passer with racecraft when you are starting in amongst cars you should have put behind you on Saturday.

        Also, not all of his maneuvers were clean. Far from it.

  12. Flying Lobster 27 said on 22nd November 2011, 11:49

    Meh, Tony Stewart pulled off 118 passes in the final NASCAR race alone, no KERS and no DRS (but lots of tow)… Yes I know, it’s not comparable.

    Seriously, a lot of Schumacher’s passes have to be down to him not qualifying properly (either not making Q3, or not running in Q3).
    Driver stats aren’t very telling in my view, but still very good research, particularly as they exclude lapping the bottom 6.
    Circuit stats are interesting however. How did Valencia not make the bottom 3?!

  13. Is this data freely available Keith? Or did you need to request if from Mercedes? Do you know if they have similar data for previous seasons?

    The reason I’m asking is I’m completing a school research project on how the layout of an F1 circuit influences the amount of overtaking and to do so I need reliable overtaking data.

  14. Can you say how many Vettel has? Wouldn’t be surprised if its less than 15 considering he’s been out on his own lot of the year. Would also be interested to know Hamilton’s?

  15. SennaPart2 said on 22nd November 2011, 13:26

    Most overtaking moves could also mean that its the that is generally far better than its qualifying position. If Schumi qualifies 18th, he will surely overtake many cars to find his right position.

    • AgentChocolateOrange said on 22nd November 2011, 17:36

      Schumachers worst start was 24th when his wheel fell off in qualy at spa the next worst is 14th in china and 13th at silverstone the rest have all been 5th-12th. He has had far more drs/kers and finger issues in qualy than rosberg so stop exaggerating.

      Most qualys in which it has been a clean fight rosberg has ended up ahead of schumacher but then behind him by the end of the first lap or corner in many cases. If you overtake someone in the same car as you at the start it doesn’t matter if you start 1 place behind them or 20 it’s a better start starting behind your team m8 is not an advantage.

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