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. DT (@dt) said on 23rd April 2012, 14:30

    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!

  2. d3v0 (@d3v0) said on 23rd April 2012, 15:32

    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.

  3. Rahim.RG (@rahim-rg) said on 23rd April 2012, 15:39

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

  4. Bobby Balboa said on 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

  5. Alex (@smallvizier) said on 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?

    • Enigma (@enigma) said on 23rd April 2012, 19:18

      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.

      • Kimi4WC said on 24th April 2012, 4:43

        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.

      • Enigma (@enigma) said on 24th April 2012, 5:15

        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.

    • Jarred Walmsley (@jarred-walmsley) said on 23rd April 2012, 21:20

      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.

    • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 24th April 2012, 1:46

      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.

      • Kimi4WC said on 24th April 2012, 4:51

        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 :)

        • Kimi4WC said on 24th April 2012, 4:53

          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 :)

      • plushpile (@plushpile) said on 24th April 2012, 4:55

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

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 24th April 2012, 9:08

      @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?

      • Alex (@smallvizier) said on 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%.

  6. Andrew81 (@andrew81) said on 23rd April 2012, 19:12

    Just a quick word on four teams winning this year; only twice in the last 25 years have there been more than four teams win races in one season, five each in 2003 and 2008.

    As for 2012 surpassing 2011 for number of different drivers on the podium, that is unsurprisingly when you consider that 7 last year was the joint fewest in a season ever (along with 1992, 2000 and 2002).

    Although we have had great variety in the race and qualifying, only McLaren and Mercedes have topped practice sessions this year so far.

    Over half of the drivers in the field are yet to retire from a race this year and Red Bull, Toro Rosso and HRT have all avoided retiring (although the latter failed to qualify in Australia).

  7. GeoCucc (@geocucc) said on 23rd April 2012, 22:02

    Keith, you missed out Lewis Hamilton from the list, who finished in the 2nd place four races in a row between Malaysia and Monaco 2007!

  8. paulgilb (@paulgilb) said on 23rd April 2012, 23:23

    The start of the 2012 season is somewhat similar to 2003 – on that occasion the first 4 races were won by different drivers with the reigning WC (a German who had dominated the previous season) struggling in the first 3 races before dominating race 4 (and the next couple of races as well).

    The first 3 races of 2003 were all won by drivers who did not win again that season!

  9. David-A (@david-a) said on 24th April 2012, 0:12

    Vettel took his 22nd win in 85 races- the same number as Michael Schumacher after 85 races.

  10. Minardi (@gitanes) said on 24th April 2012, 3:05

    Okay here’s one more silly stat for you. We’ve now had 3 consecutive races with either a first career podium or first career win. That’s an area we’ve been lacking badly for the last 2 years.

    I believe I am correct that the last time this happened was 2006:
    De La Rosa 3rd – Hungary
    Massa 1st – Turkey
    Kubica 3rd – Italy

    If I’m really ambitious, I might see when the last time this streak hit 4……

  11. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 13th May 2012, 19:56

    5 Different winners in 5 races now, with Williams once again taking the fifth race!

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