John Watson, McLaren, Detroit, 1983

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

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix stats and factsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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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Image ?? Ford

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

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

    1. Lets hope so ;)

    2. That would be a treat!

    3. That would be epic. Looking forward to Barcelona :)

      1. Now we just need RAI, HAM, WEB, and MSC to all get a win, and this season will be off the charts! :) haha

        1. Funny thing is, as it looks now, this is so possible :)

  2. PJ (@pjtierney)
    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 :)

    1. 1987 was the last season 4 different drivers from 4 different teams set the fastest lap in the first 4 races. They were Nelson Piquet (Williams), Teo Fabi (Benetton), Alain Prost (McLaren) and Ayrton Senna (Lotus).

      1. Teo Fabi! There’s a forgotten name.

        1. I have never heard of him.

          1. Captain Sorbet
            23rd April 2012, 18:34

            He was a triple world champion who died in 1994. In fact, I think they made a movie about him last year.

          2. No, that’s the other guy, da Silva something.

  4. 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. Its exhausting just looking at the facts & stats alone

  6. Some great additions so far, guys! Keep ’em coming…

  7. 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.

    1. MY bet is on Vettel

      1. I would have agreed with this if the next race were a week or two away, but as we have the Mugello Test in between, who knows what crazy addition a team may put on their car…
        Especially since this is the prime opportunity to develop Mercedes’ DDRS, who knows who will get it right.

        If McLaren get theirs right, we could well see a Button double win… Though an Alonso double win would be pushing it, I think :P

        1. With everyone getting exited about new upgrades for Spain. Button not going to be there to test it, in addition he still have plenty of work to figure out whats wrong with current car. Doubt he will be even with in a podium range.

      2. Unfortunately I have to agree.

    2. di Resta & Perez…. good chance if they get decent updates for spain.

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

  9. 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. 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.

    1. Wow, very interesting!

    2. @tommyb89 Well spotted!

    3. I think in the Ford DFV era there were probably lots of times when 1 and 2 had the same engine but a different chassis?

      1. Possibly. But this run of results has had a different engine featured in each result. In the DFV era there may have been different chassis but it would have been the same engine each time.

  11. 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!

    1. It’s great. Everyone wanted a season of 2011 races with a 2010 championship and so far that’s exactly what we’ve got. Here’s hoping it continues!

      1. @tommyb89
        Exactly! I never really thought that it would happen.
        2010, great championship, boring races, 2011 vice versa, and 2012 it seems so far that we are going to get the best of both!
        It is shaping up nicely!

      2. Exactly. And a bit of 2009 mixed results, surprises and randomness. Awesome!

    2. Yes, I was happy to see di Resta as the leading Brit yesterday… Hopefully we’ll see him up there once or twice more this year, just to keep the Championship race (albeit in the midfield for di Resta) very interesting ^_^

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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. 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.

    1. I got McLaren on 42 consecutive points-scoring race weekends so far.

  14. 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. 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.

      1. That is one crazy stat! haha

  16. This is why i said this season is going to be epic. I won’t be surprised to see 4o 5 drivers in the hunt for the championship at the last race. Great races ahead!

  17. Keith do you keep track of all of these stats yourself? I know there is the virtual stat-man who Peter Windsor has on TFL quite often, but thats like his specialty. When I read these posts im amazed by how much you keep track of.

  18. I’m curious to find who will be the 1st one to win from the come-back Drivers…
    and Grosjean if counted?

    1. Either Schumacher or Raikkonen.

    2. Raikkonnen has the best chance. Schumacher has the best opportunity, but I doubt he will deliver.

    3. Does PDLS count as Pedro De la Rosa ? Cause if you expect De la Rosa to win……

  19. Bobby Balboa
    23rd April 2012, 18:08

    “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.”

    Does that mean that 2012 is already a better year for F1 fans than 2011?

    I certainly think so

  20. Alex (@smallvizier)
    23rd April 2012, 19:09

    Here’s a stat which really illustrates how volatile the results have been this season: Webber is now just 5 points off the lead without a single podium.

    I wonder – has a driver *ever* been within 10% of the championship lead without finishing in the top three?

    Because a different team has the fastest car every week, you can’t take podiums for granted – every team has had weekends when they’ve been made to look ordinary. Because of this, if you want to stay in the championship, you need to supplement your best races with 5ths, 6ths and 7ths. If your car isn’t good enough for a victory then you need to nurse it around; scrap; pull off an overtake which should never have existed.

    Vettel has risen to the challenge. Recall his overtake of Rosberg in the very first race, or his gallant effort in China with an inferior car to his team-mate.

    I’ve got to say, it’s a great time to be a spectator. Who’ll be next?

    1. It is quite impressive. 12 points a race is 240 a year. Vettel has 53 points in the lead – if he kept it up, he’d have 265 at the end of the year. Meaning that, if the season stays as crazy results-wise, it’s possible that 240 points is enough for the title – imagine Webber being the champion without a podium!

      And I don’t think you can say Vettel was at a disadvantage in China – he chose the slightly slower version because he felt more comfortable in it. Having trust and confidence in the car is worth more than a tenth of lap time is.

      1. I’m not sure about this one, you learn pretty early in sport that comfortable drive is something you must not get comfortable as it often not the fastest way to get around.

        All of those drivers are so good they will adapt to anything, but 1 tenth is 1 tenth. With that 1 tenth Vettel would have been 4th in China and 3rd ahead of Lewis before he had his crash with Narain.

      2. Wasn’t that just for China? Anyway, I’m saying you can get more out of a car you’re comfortable with. You can push it more and you can save the tyres more. If the difference in maximum speeds is a tenth and you can get much closer to the maximum in the comfortable car you’ll be faster.

    2. Yep, Consistency is going to be key this year which it looks like Mark is doing at the moment, heres hoping it can continue and improve for him, I really do want him to win the championship this year.

    3. Remember Raikkonen at one stage looked like winning the championship without winning a race when he was with McLaren, can’t remember which year that was.

      This year could be the a real chance of that happening. I am picking Hamilton or Webber as possible contenders here.

      1. In 2003, Kimi won his first Grand Prix and the only one in that season.

        In that season he had 1 engine failure and 2 crashes as his only no points finishes.

        He lost championship to Schumacher by 2 points :)

        1. This is also not a good statistic for Nico Rosberg who just got his first Grand Prix win.

          It took Kimi Raikkonen 27 Grand Prix to get his second win :)

      2. Raikkonen came close to winning the WDC in 2003 with only 1 win, but he won the second race of the year in Malaysia…

    4. @smallvizier, and this in a points system that Bernie modified to favour race winners over consistent scorers, where would Webber be under the old system?

      1. Alex (@smallvizier)
        24th April 2012, 17:14

        @hohum – that was never Bernie’s intention. He had two main aims in changing the points system:

        1. Make it harder for a dominant team to settle the championship early. It did this by making wins worth less (relatively speaking).

        2. Give the smaller teams more to race for – adding spice to the midfield battles – by awarding points to lower positions. This had the side effect of making P7-P10 worth more.

        As you can see, both of these changes actually award consistency, and regularly finishing in the lower positions, instead of race wins.

        Under the ‘classic’ system of 1991 to 2002, Webber would actually be joint 3rd (alongside Rosberg, Alonso and Hamilton – a side effect of the old system was to make ties more likely) – but with only 67% of the leader’s score, instead of 91%.

        1. Interesting, thanks.

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