Four teams win first four races for first time in 29 years

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix stats and facts

John Watson, McLaren, Detroit, 1983Sebastian Vettel started from pole position for the first time this year – and the 31st time in his 84-race career.

On Sunday he scored his 22nd race win, giving him as many as Damon Hill, putting him 11th on the list of all-time winners.

Several times last year he was warned not to set fastest lap at the end of the race to preserve his car. That seemed to be less of a concern as he was chased home by Kimi Raikkonen, and Vettel posted the tenth fastest lap of his career.

He now has as many as Graham Hill, John Surtees and Mario Andretti.

Pole position, fastest lap and victory gave Vettel his fourth hat-trick – his others coming at Britain in 2009, and Valencia and India last year. Only ten drivers have achieved more, including Michael Schumacher (22) and Fernando Alonso (5).

Vettel has become the fourth different leader of the world championship in as many races this year, following Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

Four different teams win first four races

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Imola, 2003He is also the fourth different driver to win in as many races this year. The last time that happened was in 2003, when David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen, Giancarlo Fisichella and Michael Schumacher won the first four races.

Red Bull became the fourth different team to win in the opening four rounds, which hasn’t happened since 1983. On that occasion the winners were Brabham (Nelson Piquet), McLaren (John Watson), Renault (Alain Prost) and Ferrari (Patrick Tambay). There was a fifth different winner in the next race – Keke Rosberg for Williams.

This was Red Bull’s 28th win and 39th pole position – the latter putting then level with Brabham. Only five teams have set more pole positions than Red Bull.

Two Lotuses on podium for first time since 1979

Kimi Raikkonen made his return to the F1 podium for the first time in three years – he last stood there when he finished third for Ferrari at Monza in 2009.

Team mate Romain Grosjean joined him for his first podium appearance. He is the first Frenchman to stand on the podium since the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix, when Jean Alesi came third for Sauber.

This also meant we had two Lotuses on the podium. To find when that last happened you have to go back 33 years and two iterations of Lotus to the 1979 Spanish Grand Prix, when Carlous Reutemann and Mario Andretti finished second and third.

Interestingly, the pair were driving different cars: Reutemann a Lotus 79, which had won the championship the year before, Andretti the new Lotus 80, which proved uncompetitive and made just that single visit to the podium.

The last single-car podium finish for a Lotus was Nelson Piquet’s third place in the 1988 Australian Grand Prix.

Today’s Lotus are, of course, a continuation of the Toleman/Benetton/Renault outfit. Their last two-car podium finish came in the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix, won by Fernando Alonso with Giancarlo Fisichella in third.

Webber four times fourth

Mark Webber finished in fourth place for the fourth race in a row. This many consecutive finishes in the same position other than first place is quite unusual: it’s only happened on four previous occasions:

Driver Position Races
Nelson Piquet 2nd 1987 Monaco – British Grands Prix
Michele Alboreto 7th 1992 Monaco – British Grands Prix
Heinz-Harald Frentzen 3rd 1997 Belgian – Luxembourg Grands Prix
Mark Webber 3rd 2011 Canadian – German Grands Prix
Mark Webber 4th 2012 Australian – Bahrain Grands Prix

No-one has ever finished in the same position (other than first place) for five consecutive races, so this decidedly random record is Webber’s to win in Spain.

More Bahrain Grand Prix stats and facts

Four Renault-engined cars filled the top four places. This last happened in the 1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix, won by Jacques Villeneuve (Williams-Renault) followed by Jean Alesi (Benetton-Renault) and their team mates Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Gerhard Berger.

Two drivers led races for the first time in their careers: Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean.

This was the first time Lotus had led a race since Ayrton Senna in the 1987 Japanese Grand Prix.

For Force India, it was only the second time they’d ever led a race, the first being at Spa-Francorchamps in 2009, courtesy of Giancarlo Fisichella. Sixth place for di Resta equalled his best result in F1.

Eight different drivers have led laps in 2012 which is as many as we saw in the whole of last year.

And eight different drivers have finished on the podium, one more than last year.

For his 15th F1 start Daniel Ricciardo lined up a personal best sixth on the grid for Toro Rosso. But just as when Jaime Alguersuari started sixth for them in Spa last year, it all went wrong at the start – Ricciardo damaged his front wing and was shuffled back in the back.

Ricciardo is 4-0 up against Jean-Eric Vergne in qualifying this year, but Vergne has been ahead of him on the track for 194 out of 226 laps.

Felipe Massa scored his first points of the year, leaving the Caterham, HRT and Marussia drivers the only ones left on zero.

Sauber failed to score points for the first time this year.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

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

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix

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70 comments on Four teams win first four races for first time in 29 years

  1. Nara (@narazdache) said on 23rd April 2012, 11:15

    It’s going to be 5 out of 5 with Kimi leading the charge!

  2. PJ (@pjtierney) said on 23rd April 2012, 11:18

    I believe Grosjean is the 200th driver to achieve an F1 podium.

  3. 4 different drivers from 4 different teams have also set the fastest lap in each race.

    Australia. Button – McLaren
    Malaysia. Raikkonen – Lotus
    China. Kobayashi – Sauber
    Bahrain. Vettel – Red Bull

    4 different drivers set fastest lap in the first 4 races of 2009 but two were from the same team (Brawn). No idea when the last time 4 different drivers from 4 different teams set the fastest lap in the first 4 races, I’ll get back to you on that one :)

  4. Bleu (@bleu) said on 23rd April 2012, 11:25

    Previous time we had two new leaders in one race was US GP 2003 with Webber and Button. Before that we have to go back until Spanish GP 1975 with Stommelen and Mass.

  5. Tom (@newdecade) said on 23rd April 2012, 11:28

    Its exhausting just looking at the facts & stats alone

  6. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd April 2012, 11:40

    Some great additions so far, guys! Keep ‘em coming…

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd April 2012, 11:42

    The question I’m wonder is who, if anyone, can score a win before Button, Alonso, Rosberg or Vettel can win again. Schumacher, Hamilton and Raikkonen are all looking very capable of it. And if Red Bull have sorted out their issues, Webber might be able to to it as well. I doubt it will happen, but we could very well see eight winners in eight races.

    I’m also curious as to who the first person to score their second victory of the year will be.

  8. marcusbreese (@marcusbreese) said on 23rd April 2012, 11:44

    Love ‘em – my favourite article of the whole weekend (as always).

  9. MW (@) said on 23rd April 2012, 12:01

    Hamilton, Webber and Alonso are the only drivers to have finished in the points in all 4 races this year..
    (I was hoping there’d be an extra one, just to continue the theme of 4..)

  10. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 23rd April 2012, 12:09

    It’s the second all-engine podium in a row. China (Mercedes) and Bahrain (Renault).

    Possibly even more interesting is that it’s the third race in a row where it’s been a 1-2 finish for drivers running the same engine. This wouldn’t be that strange with team 1-2 finishes but strangely non of them were. Alonso, Perez (Malaysia), Rosberg, Button (China), Vettel, Raikkonen (Bahrain)

    I’d be surprised if that has ever happened before.

  11. Enigma (@enigma) said on 23rd April 2012, 12:35

    This is the first time in Paul di Resta’s career that he’s finished the race as the best Brit.
    Yesterday saw the first all-Renault podium since Monaco 2010.
    And Webber had a similar streak last year, but it ended in the 5th race. He was 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd in the first four races respectively. Then followed a couple of 4ths and four 3rd places.

    And, similar to 2010, we seem to have championship leaders in trouble. Two years ago noone won while leading the championship for many races, and it’s even worse now – Button failed to score in Malaysia, Alonso was 9th in China and Hamilton was 8th yesterday. Don’t expect Vettel to be too successful in Barcelona!

  12. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 23rd April 2012, 12:58

    A Lotus on top in Barcelona isn’t out of the question – aerodynamically, they’re right up there – I remember Webber going on about it in his BBC column about a month ago. They’re also pretty good in the heat.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 23rd April 2012, 13:26

      I hope you’re right, but I have my doubts on whether the track conditions of Bahrain are similar to what we will get in Barcelona.

      Bahrain has had the highest track temperatures out of the 4 races we’ve had so far (31 to 35C), and maybe that just worked in Lotus’ favour. Barcelona would be expected to have a track temp lower by 6-12 degrees.

      I’m sure if both the Lotus drivers can somehow get within the front 3 rows of the grid in quali, they have a strong shot for a win.

      • Kimi4WC said on 24th April 2012, 4:33

        I’m not sure, I think Lotus found the way for their updates to work on Friday, same as RedBull found something in Vettel’s car just before start.

        I mean both Lotuses and Vettel looked like trains (entering and exiting corners like it was 2011) on the track while the rest were struggling with same thing.

  13. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 23rd April 2012, 13:04

    One very small positive for McLaren this weekend: they scored points, continuing their run since Button joined McLaren in 2010, and they could still catch Ferrari’s record of 56 (?) consecutive points-scoring race weekends.

  14. snowman.john (@snowman-john) said on 23rd April 2012, 13:21

    Last season I was so pleased with tyres, this year 60% of a car’s pace seems to be about tyre temperature. Having tyres with such a limited operating window seems to be just creating a pace lottery. For me, thats not what F1 is about.

  15. DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 23rd April 2012, 14:01

    Correct me if I’m wrong with this one or is this the first podium since Germany 2010 where there hasn’t been a Union Jack on the podium curtsey of either Hamilton, Button or Webber.

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