Rosberg becomes F1’s third second-generation race winner

2012 Chinese Grand Prix stats and facts

Keke Rosberg, Williams, Adelaide, 1985Nico Rosberg scored his first Formula 1 race victory at his 111th attempt in the Chinese Grand Prix.

Rosberg is the third son of a former world championship race winner to win a race himself: the others being Damon Hill (son of Graham Hill) and Jacques Villeneuve (son of Gilles Villeneuve).

However Keke Rosberg is the first Grand Prix winner to see his son win a race – Graham Hill and Gilles Villeneuve died before their sons followed in their footsteps.

Of the three father-and-son teams, the Hills have three world championships and 36 race wins between them, the Villeneuves one world championship and 17 race wins, and the Rosbergs one world championship and six race wins – so far.

Only four drivers took longer to achieve their first wins than Nico Rosberg did:

Driver First win Starts
Mark Webber 2009 German Grand Prix 130
Rubens Barrichello 2000 German Grand Prix 124
Jarno Trulli 2004 Monaco Grand Prix 117
Jenson Button 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix 113
Nico Rosberg 2012 Chinese Grand Prix 111

One other driver took more than 100 starts to score his first win: Giancarlo Fisichella (110).

Rosberg’s father was also a comparatively late bloomer, scoring his first F1 win at his 63rd attempt in his fifth season. He scored his last F1 win in the 1985 Australian Grand Prix (pictured) when Nico was four months old.

The younger Rosberg became the 103rd driver to win a race. The last new winner was Mark Webber in the 2009 German Grand Prix.

Rosberg also became the 95th driver to start a race from pole position. His last win and pole position in any discipline came in his final GP2 appearance at Bahrain in 2005, when he won the championship.

Mercedes scored their first win since their return to the sport as a full constructor two years ago.

Juan Manuel Fangio, Piero Taruffi, Mercedes, Monza, 1955Their last race win and pole position came in their final appearance in their previous incarnation, when Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1955 Italian Grand Prix from pole position (pictured). They now have ten Grand Prix wins, giving them as many as Alfa Romeo.

The Chinese Grand Prix continues to produce different winners. In nine races he have seen eighth different victors: Rubens Barrichello, Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton – the latter driver the only one to have won more than once.

In a weekend of firsts, Kamui Kobayashi set the fastest lap of the race, becoming the 120th driver to do so. This was also the first fastest lap for Sauber as an independent constructor (they scored two as BMW-Sauber).

Third on the grid was Kobayashi’s best qualifying position to date. Michael Schumacher started second, his highest starting position since his comeback, and the 116th front row start for the driver who has made more than anyone else.

The first three races of the season have all seen Lewis Hamilton finish third and Webber finish fourth.

Sixth for Romain Grosjean gave him the first points of his F1 career, and Pastor Maldonado got his first points of the year with eighth.

That means Felipe Massa is the only driver outside of the ‘small three’ teams who is yet to score this year.

Williams had both cars in the points for the first time since the 2010 Korean Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo has been more than half-a-second quicker than team mate Jean-Eric Vergne in qualifying this year. But Vergne has spent 142 out of 170 laps ahead of his team mate.

As last year, the race had 23 finishers. Only one race has seen more finishers – last year’s European Grand Prix, where all 24 runners were classified. The only other race with 23 finishers was also last year, in Japan.

The high number of finishers is a worry for Caterham, who need at least a 14th and 15th place to move ahead of Marussia into the lucrative top ten in the constructors’ championship.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

Spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Chinese Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.

2012 Chinese Grand Prix

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88 comments on Rosberg becomes F1’s third second-generation race winner

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  1. Kyle (@hammerheadgb) said on 16th April 2012, 15:22

    “Only three drivers took longer to achieve their first wins than Nico Rosberg did:”

    Presumably a typo, Keith? Given that you then go on to list the four drivers with more starts before 1st win than Nico.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th April 2012, 15:28

      @hammerheadgb Fixed, thanks.

      • FlyingLobster27 said on 16th April 2012, 16:40

        Speaking of that stat, could we have a number of seasons before the first victory?
        As you say, Keke was a late winner aswell, but 81 GPs in the late 70s-early 80s seems comparable, in terms of actual time, to his sons 111. That makes the parallel quite interesting.

        • Enigma (@enigma) said on 16th April 2012, 17:01

          Also, with more and more races every year, it’s ever easier to win a race. Rosberg has 20 opportunities a year, Moss (who also got his first win with Mercedes) only had 8 or 10 a year.

  2. TimG (@timg) said on 16th April 2012, 15:22

    First podium sweep by an engine supplier since Renault in Monaco in 2010, despite there only being four engine suppliers.

    First podium sweep by Mercedes since the 2010 Chinese GP – where the top three were the same as yesterday.

  3. Enigma (@enigma) said on 16th April 2012, 15:27

    Some stats&facts I noticed:
    – The podium is the same as it was here two years ago, albeit in a different order
    – Charles Pic is now the only current driver without a point in F1
    – Since Barrichello’s win in Monza 2009, all race victories were shared between 5 drivers – Alonso, Hamilton, Webber, Button and Vettel. Until yesterday, that is.
    – The last 6 races have had different winners
    – This is the first time Vettel failed to make Q3 since late 2009 (not 100% sure which race)

    And one a bit off topic: 5 teams have drivers that have both been on the podium – the big 4 and one that’s yet to score points.

  4. JCost (@jcost) said on 16th April 2012, 15:27

    Let’s hope Mercedes is there to stay. Good on Saturdays and good on Sundays. Let’s hope expected high temperatures in Bahrain don’t burn their tyres.

  5. Hydro (@hydrouk) said on 16th April 2012, 15:28

    The now have ten Grand Prix wins, giving them as many as Alfa Romeo.

    I’m assuming “The” is meant to be “They”.

  6. BasCB (@bascb) said on 16th April 2012, 15:28

    Adam Cooper (on twitter @adamcooperf1) noted

    Chinese GP trivia – eight different drivers held second place at some point in yesterday’s race!

  7. Bleu (@bleu) said on 16th April 2012, 15:31

    Three most recent GP winners (Vettel, Webber, Rosberg) won the race after taking their first pole position a day earlier. In the middle though, Nico Hülkenberg didn’t convert his first pole (which was a huge surprise) to victory.

  8. Meander (@meander) said on 16th April 2012, 15:34

    Is there a list somewhere stating all the new winners in chronological order? Three years seems like a pretty long time between occasions, but I bet there’s been longer. Wasn’t it something like ’86 (Berger) to ’92, all races won by the same 5 or 6 drivers (combo broken by Schumacher) ? I might be wildly mistaken though.

    • Meander (@meander) said on 16th April 2012, 15:40

      Nevermind, I found out you can sort the table at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Formula_One_Grand_Prix_winners by first win!

    • TimG (@timg) said on 16th April 2012, 15:43

      You’re mistaken, but not wildly – between Berger’s first in ’86 and Schumacher’s first in 1992 the wins were shared between eight drivers: Senna, Prost, Berger, Mansell, Piquet, Patrese, Boutsen and Nannini.

      • Meander (@meander) said on 16th April 2012, 15:46

        Thanks, yes, I realized I missed Boutsen and Nannini’s wins. The stretch from late ’82 to Boutsen’s first win in ’89 is impressive in that sense as well.

    • Ilanin said on 16th April 2012, 15:45

      I posted this on another site, but to answers your question:

      It is 1007 days since Mark Webber won the German Grand Prix in 2009. This is the second longest interval between maiden race wins in F1; the only person whose first victory ended a longer drought is actually Rosberg’s team-mate. Michael Schumacher’s victory in the 1992 Belgian Grand Prix was the first maiden victory since Alessandro Nannini’s win in the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix, 1095 days previously.

      Conversely, there were no seasons between 1957 and 1983 which didn’t contain somebody’s first grand prix victory. In 1982 five drivers (Patrese, Tambay, Alboreto, Keke Rosberg, and de Angelis) won their first races, and Tambay, de Angelis, and daddy Rosberg made up F1’s only ever three races in a row won by drivers who had not won a Grand Prix before. This might explain why there were no new winners in ’83.

      The mean length of time between first Grand Prix wins is 248 days and the standard deviation is 246 days. This makes it look suspiciously like drivers achieving their maiden Grand Prix victory follows a Poisson distribution, but I am not writing for Aaron Schatz any more, so I won’t go further and make an article about it.

      • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 16th April 2012, 16:32

        In both 2003 and 2008 I believe three drivers won their first race:

        2003: Raikkonen, Fisichella, Alonso
        2008: Kubica, Kovalainen, Vettel

        And in 2006 there were consecutive debut wins for Button and Massa in Hungary and Turkey. This also happened in 2003 with Raikkonen and Fischella, but I can´t think of any other instances of this happening off the top of my head

        • Ilanin said on 16th April 2012, 16:48

          Overall new winners have become much less frequent since the resolution of the FISA-FOCA war finally came to an end during the 1982 season. From 1950 to 1982, there were only two seasons which didn’t have new race winners – 1954 and 1957 (dominated by Moss and Fangio). Since then, races have only been won by drivers who had already won races in 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2005, 2010 and 2011.

        • Ilanin said on 16th April 2012, 17:00

          As my other comment suggests, this sort of thing used to be a lot more common. There were three new race winners in 1959, 1961, 1962, 1971, four in 1974 and 1975, three again in 1977, 1980, and 1995, and consecutive new race winners in 1950 (obviously), 1951, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1968, 1973, 1974 (twice!), 1977, 1980, 1982’s 3-in-a-row, and the two you mentioned.

          My guess is that the change in the frequency of new winners that seems to have happened abruptly in the early 1980s was caused in part by the influence of turbocharged engines limited race-winning opportunities to just a few teams and in part by the greater influx of money into F1 beginning around that point making team management more conservative. Similarly, the mid-1970s were a much more wide-open era due to the wide availability of the Cosworth DFV and the poor understanding of aerodynamics which was just beginning to have a major effect.

          • Tango (@tango) said on 16th April 2012, 17:50

            There’s also higher Reliability leaving little space for slower cars to perform. As alpha dog drivers tend to be in a better cars, young aspiring cubs could build on fast car failure by emerging from the pack.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 16th April 2012, 19:18

            Maybe another part of the reason why this changed is the fact that nowadays (top-)drivers last much longer, as they do not tend to die that often anymore (fortunately safety was hugely improved).

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 17th April 2012, 0:20

        I think you actually meant that there were no years without new race winners between ’54 and ’83, not ’57 and ’83. There were first time race winners in ’55, ’56, & ’57, but not in ’54. At least according to that Wikipedia table…

  9. sumedh said on 16th April 2012, 16:31

    The last three guys to record their maiden wins have all done it from pole – Vettel in Monza 2008, Webber in Nurburgring 2009 and Rosberg in Shanghai 2012.

    The last time Red Bull or Mclaren didn’t win two consecutive races was in 2010 Monza and 2010 Singapore. And before that it was 2009 Spa and 2009 Monza.

    This is the first time since the third race of the 2010 season – Malaysian GP – that the championship is led by a driver who is yet to win a race. Felipe led the standings then and Lewis leads the standings now.

    Red Bull have now not featured on podium in two races this season. This phenomenon occurred only once in 2011 – at the Abu Dhabi GP. Before that, it happened in 2010 – at the Korean GP.

    This is only the second time in Schumi’s career that his team-mate has a won a race before him in the season. This happened in 1999 last.

    • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 16th April 2012, 16:40

      The last three guys to record their maiden wins have all done it from pole – Vettel in Monza 2008, Webber in Nurburgring 2009 and Rosberg in Shanghai 2012.

      The three maiden race winners maiden to that all started from the front row to, if my memory serves me right:

      Heikki Kovalainen, 2nd Hungary 2008
      Robert Kubica, 2nd Canada 2008
      Felipe Massa, 1st Turkey 2006

      The last new winner to start anywhere other than the front row was Jenson Button at the 2006 Hungarian GP, who started just a tad further back in 14th!

      • sumedh said on 16th April 2012, 17:00

        Taking the pole to win stat further – we have now had 5 consecutive races where the pole sitter hasn’t won the race. The last time this streak was 5 or more races was in 2009-2010 (2009 Brazil – 2010 China, 6 races) when the pole sitter didn’t win the race. And before that it was way back in 2002 the Austrian GP to the 2002 French GP, 6 races. The 2009-10 sequence happened mainly due to freak weather and the Red Bull’s unreliability. The 2002 streak happened partly because Williams and Montoya produced a qualifying car and partly because of what happened at 2002 Austrian GP.

  10. CNSZU said on 16th April 2012, 17:00

    F1 is being devalued by having sons racing. How can you call F1 the pinnacle of motorsport when it’s a father and son business?

    • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 16th April 2012, 17:10

      Who cares who’s in Formula One? As long as they are the best drivers in the world. Having sons or relatives from older drivers has absolutely no effect and should be ignored. Certainly we don’t refer to Nico as “Keke’s son” anymore, do we? Nico has build his own reputation.

    • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 16th April 2012, 18:12

      Racing and F1 have long been a family affair. This is nothing new. I don’t think it brings the sport into disrepute at all.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 16th April 2012, 18:32

      I wouldn’t be surprised if more sons of famous race car drivers have failed at it than have succeeded. Just because a guy is the son of a driver doesn’t mean he is going to love it and go on to succeed at it like his dad did. A person has to start off by loving it first and foremost in order to get that good at it. So sure, it helps when as a kid you have an ‘in’…but that by no means is a guarantee of anything. If it was, NR wouldn’t have needed this long for his first win. Nor DH, and JV wouldn’t have needed to ‘pay his dues’ in CART before going to F1.

      • I don’t like to use the word ‘failed’ in this context – partly because some never really tried to make it in F1, and some are still young, but looking down the list of race winners we have sons and daughters who have raced in professional motorsport but haven’t won a GP:
        Greg/Leo Mansell, Paul Stewart, Matias Lauda, Piquet Jr, Geoff/Gary Brabham, Michael/Jeff Andretti, Christian Jones, Tomas/Toby Scheckter, Vanina Ickx, Alex Gurney, Derek Hill and sadly of course Henry Surtees (RIP)
        Henry Surtees

    • James (@jamesf1) said on 16th April 2012, 19:48

      It’s hardly that. Name sakes havent really given new drivers a yellow brick road to get into motorsport, it’s because motorsport is in their blood. The kid sees his dad do it, he/she wants to do it. Blame learnt behaviour rather than a right of passage.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 17th April 2012, 14:55

        Exactly, Having a dad in the business does make it easier for sure, however it’s not a free ride. Look at Hamilton’s brother for instance, he can easily get into racing cars. But his chance on making it anywhere near F1 is purely down to talent, experience and results.

    • Nothing new under the sun about that. Sport, TV, movies, music… all must be at least 25% made up of people who’s parents were big successes in the same business (Hill, Villeneuve, Rosberg). And another percentage who’s parents were amateur enthusiasts willing to support their sons (Button), and then the ones who’s parents had the means to pay their kids way to get a start in that business (Senna). Sure, it’s ‘unfair’ but that’s the way it is. Doesn’t guarantee success later on… otherwise all the Beatles kids would’ve had pretty amazing music careers by now.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 17th April 2012, 13:38

      Considering two out of the three have gone on to win world championships I think you can class them as all being there on merit.

      Formula 1 won’t do you any favours based on your relatives. They’re more interested in your sponsorship money.

  11. Robbie (@robbie) said on 16th April 2012, 17:01

    I am much more intimate with JV’s career than I am with NR’s and DH’s. I know in JV’s case, once he started racing in his teens, while some would criticise him and the likes of famous drivers’ sons for ‘only being there because of their name’ and not their talent, JV was also expected to win. His career was immediately under the microscope much moreso than his peers at the time. So that added a huge amount of pressure that many don’t experience early on, but JV turned it into a positive. It made him able to handle pressure when it is at it’s greatest. There was an element that made him want to prove to himself and the world that he was not just there because he was connected. And after all, it wasn’t his fault that he was connected or that he had the Villeneuve name. That’s just the way it was. I hope NR too has learned to handle pressure when it is at it’s greatest and that he too goes on to be a WDC.

  12. Enigma (@enigma) said on 16th April 2012, 17:05

    As last year, the race had 23 finishers.

    And, same as last year, the only retirement was someone whose tyre wasn’t fitted properly at a pit stop.

  13. Dougy_D (@dougy_d) said on 16th April 2012, 17:33

    That means Felipe Massa is the only driver outside of the ‘small three’ teams who is yet to score this year.

    Says everything you need to about Felipe this year. I’m sorry Ferrari / Massa fans but Felipe of 2008 is no longer. Time to move aside and let someone else step in.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 16th April 2012, 19:47

      I am in no way a Massa fan- he’s one of the few drivers I actually dislike- but this weekend I don’t think he did too bad. He wasn’t that far from Alonso, but because the midfield is so tight he actually finished several places back.

      • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 18th April 2012, 7:58

        @matt90 Why do you dislike him? I’ve always found him to be one of the nicest people on the grid.

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 18th April 2012, 10:29

          I find him often whiney and unwlling to take responsibility when he’s made a mistake, yet is very critical of other drivers who have been racing fair. Also, his complete lack of pace for the majority of the last 2 years is frustrating as I think he’s taking up a seat which could be put to better use.

  14. michael said on 16th April 2012, 17:50

    further back into grand prix history, there was the father/son winning combo of Antonio and Alberto Ascari

  15. Mike the bike Schumacher (@mike-the-bike-schumacher) said on 16th April 2012, 17:55

    Was Kobayashi’s 3rd on the grid the highest sauber have qualified as just sauber?

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