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?

      • ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 22nd November 2011, 11:13

        Fair point – I just think ’84 will always be held in high regard because it was the coming of Senna.

        I’d completely forgot ’92! Brilliant stuff.

      • 91jb12 (@91jb12) said on 22nd November 2011, 11:41

        Its a pity the race ended like that at monaco. Had it lasted it would’ve been one of the great defensive drives but now its regarded as the luckiest win since the sport began.
        The battle had been interesting for 30 laps already and had it gone to a conclusion would’ve easily outdone the 1992 thriller.

    • 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.

    • 91jb12 (@91jb12) said on 22nd November 2011, 11:42

      Like for Vettel. I make it about 24 overtakes this year but he’s probably only had to overtake 25-30 cars all season

    • magon4 (@magon4) said on 22nd November 2011, 12:17

      They did subtract passing the three slower cars (Formula 1b)

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd November 2011, 12:18

      Well that’s no different to any kind of statistics in that they make most sense viewed in context.

    • mike-e (@mike-e) said on 22nd November 2011, 23:05

      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.

      So if he dropped from 10th to 24th and got back up to 10th, He would overtake 14 cars….. but in the statistics, 14 cars would also overtake 1 car, so you would end up with this one scenario resulting in 28 overtakes.

      Gotta love stats…

  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.

  16. Overtaking doesn’t really mean anything anymore, DRS has devalued it.

    It used to be that seeing an overtaking move was exciting, Now it isn’t.

    I’d rather see 1 exciting overtaking moves than 10 unexciting, dull & totally boring DRS passes.

    • Don’t be so dramatic.

      • Dizzy said on 23rd November 2011, 0:34

        Not been dramatic, Its just what I think.

        In the past we saw less overtaking yet every single one of the overtakes we did see were exciting & meant more because you knew it was hard fought for.

        This year we have seen a great deal of passing yet not a great deal of real exciting overtaking. DRS has provided dull & unexciting passes & to an extent some of the tyre created passing has been a bit dull.

        If you see too much of something then it eventually gets devalued .
        For instance we all remember Villeneuve/Arnoux because it isn’t the norm, If it was something that happened every race after the 1st 2-3 occasions it would no longer be memorable or exciting, It would just become the accepted norm.

        2011 may have seen record levels of passing, But for me very little of it was actually exciting & DRS in particular ruined my enjoyment of the season.

        I said when DRS was announced that I’d wait & see how it worked before casting judgement & having seen it in action I hate it.
        I was not someone that decided they disliked DRS pre-season & simply refused to give it a chance. I gave it the benefit of the doubt, Saw how it worked & didn’t like what I saw.

        I stand by the final line of my above comment, I’d rather 1 real overtake than 10 DRS passes.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 23rd November 2011, 8:50

          I absolutely agree with your assessment, and the final line of your first comment.

          People seem to place too much emphasis on overtaking as being exciting or good, rather than thinking of the battle as being exciting.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 23rd November 2011, 14:40

            Right, and to go along with this discussion, I think it has always been a priority in F1 to have passing not be so mundane and so frequent that it is ‘dime a dozen’ type stuff, none of it memorable, ala Villeneuve/Arnoux.

            That is why to me it is so frustrating to see them incorporate a gadget to promote passing and to see said passing make the driver being passed look helpless and amateur.

            Get rid of the DRS, keep them on sticky tires, restrict their usage of wings for downforce, and that will put the passing back into the ‘rare but seat of the pants’ category, imho.

            I’ll echo once again JV’s sentiments back when they introduced grooved tires and JV called them a joke and got hauled up on the carpet for it. ‘Give us back slicks, but not just slicks, give us the big fat ones they had in the 70’s which created so much drag on the straights that in order to achieve any kind of respectable top speeds you had to run less wing’. Thus killing two birds with one stone. Mechanical grip with a limit to how much wing you wanted to run, equals seat of the pants racing with the trailing car being far less disturbed by dirty air due to it’s lesser dependancy on wing.

  17. SennaPart2 said on 22nd November 2011, 13:41

    Sorry, i meant ‘thats the car’

  18. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd November 2011, 14:00

    Some people have suggested – not unreasonably – that maybe the top overtakers are just poor qualifiers who’ve had more opportunity to overtake. Here’s some data from the stats pages:

    Qualifying scores

    Buemi 13 – 5 Alguersuari
    Schumacher 2 – 14 Rosberg

    Average starting positions

    Rosberg 7.61
    Schumacher 10.33
    Alguersuari 14.39
    Buemi 14.61

    • BUEMI #1!!!!!!!!!!

      Haha thanks for these stats keith. I know Buemi usually outqualifies ALG. Its a shame probably both are getting dumped for JEV and RIC

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 22nd November 2011, 14:55

      Having looked at the info from the races since the summer, it does seem that Alguesuari and Buemi have a net loss in Lap one position changes, but I’m not certain.

      Would it be a lot of work to put that data for each race, per driver, in a graph @keithcollantine?

      I don’t have the data, or I’d try it myself, but maybe I’ll compile if from your graphs tonight/tomorrow and see what it shows.

      I was thinking about something like an aggregate lap-chart, but with stages Quali,grid (to take care of grid-penalties),first lap,finishing position to show progress through the race weekend. It’s not new information, you basically provide it all during the race review (per driver/team in the team-reviews), but a different way of visualising it.

  19. Alain (@paganbasque) said on 22nd November 2011, 14:22

    When you have a poor qualification you are supposed to overtake more cars, so this can explain Michael and Buemis numbers. But you have to do it, and even being Schumacher its not en easy task so in my opinion the ability to overtake of Michael and Buemi is out of any question.

  20. smifaye (@smifaye) said on 22nd November 2011, 15:13

    I’m guessing all Mark Webber’s came at China?!

    Very interesting here from Mercedes. I’m glad to see that DRS isn’t hogging the results. I think the data does show that the drivers who are found out of position in qualifying have the highest number of overtakes and this is to be expected really. I’d like to see some data where you can see start position against how many overtakes per race.

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