Lotus take 80th Grand Prix win after 25 years

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stats and facts

Start, Detroit, 1987Kimi Raikkonen became a Grand Prix winner again in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The inaugural race at the track was the scene of his first ‘retirement’ from the sport in 2009.

This was Raikkonen’s 19th career win, which puts him one short of Mika Hakkinen, the most successful F1 driver Finland has produced. It was also his 15th consecutive points finish.

Raikkonen has only started 23 races since his last victory, at Spa-Francorchamps in 2009, but three years and 66 days have passed since then.

This is the 13th-longest interval between consecutive wins for a Grand Prix driver, the longest being Riccardo Patrese’s six-and-a-half years between winning the 1983 South African Grand Prix and 1990 San Marino Grand Prix.

This was the 80th Grand Prix win for Lotus, and the first not scored by the original Lotus team. Their last win was over 25 years ago, when Ayrton Senna won the 1987 Detroit Grand Prix (pictured) in a Lotus-Honda 99T.

The current Lotus team has had several identities, beginning with Toleman and later Benetton. Its last win came in the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji, when it was branded Renault.

Six different teams have now won races in 2012: McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, Williams and Lotus. The last time this happened was in 1983, when Ferrari, McLaren and Williams were also winners, along with Brabham, Renault and Tyrrell.

Vettel’s recovery drive

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2012Sebastian Vettel’s climb from starting in the pits to finishing on the podium was a remarkable feat.

Exactly how many places he gained is open to debate. The FIA’s official grid lists 23 cars with Vettel’s starting from the pit lane, hence 24th. But Pedro de la Rosa was pushed into the pits when the formation lap began after his team failed to get him away in time.

If we consider Vettel’s original starting place of 24th as his official grid position, his third-place finish equals the best anyone has achieved from there. Emerson Fittipaldi started 24th and finished third in the 1980 United States Grand Prix West at Long Beach, thanks in part to 14 of his rivals retiring.

Curiously three years later the same track saw a one-two for McLaren’s drivers, both of which made up 21 places. John Watson won from 22nd ahead of Niki Lauda, who started 23rd.

A gain of 21 positions is among the highest seen in a world championship race. The highest was Jim Rathmann’s second-placed finish in the 1957 Indianapolis 500 from 32nd on the grid, gaining 30 places. Ignoring the Indianapolis 500 (which was never run to F1 rules), the next-highest gain of places was 26.

This was achieved by Roberto Mieres in the 1954 British Grand Prix, climbing from 32nd on the grid to sixth in his Maserati. In the same race Onofre Marimon, also in a Maserati, climbed 25 places to finish third. Mieres’ feat would be impossible to repeat even if F1 grids returned to their current maximum of 26.

Vettel’s damage limitation means he can win his third world championship in his 100th start in the United States Grand Prix next week.

He also chalked up his 14th fastest lap, which gives him as many as Felipe Massa and Mark Webber. He is now certain to end the year with more fastest laps than any other driver.

McLaren milestones

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Yas Marina, 2012Lewis Hamilton claimed the 25th pole position of his F1 career. Only eight drivers in F1 history have managed more.

This was also the 75th pole position McLaren have scored with Mercedes power, accounting for almost half of their 154 poles to date.

McLaren have now led over 50,000km of all laps raced in F1. Unsurprisingly, the only team they are behind is Ferrari, who have logged 70,549km in the lead compared to McLaren’s 50,051km.

However McLaren finally passed Ferrari’s record for finishing in the points for 55 consecutive races. This was their 56th in a row.

McLaren’s current run began at the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix: the first race with their current driver line-up of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, and also the first race at which points were available down to tenth place. Ferrari’s 55-race streak lasted from the 1999 to 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix, and therefore mostly came in races where points were scored down to sixth place.

Prior to this race Button had finished third in every Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He came within four laps of doing so again.

Britain’s 156th F1 driver

Max Chilton, Marussia, Yas Marina, 2012Max Chilton made his debut in an F1 race weekend when he drove for Marussia in the first practice session. By doing so he became the 156th British driver to participate in an event which counted towards the world championship. Only the USA has more, with 157.

A large number of those only made starts in the Indianapolis 500 during the years when it counted towards the world championship. One exception was John Fitch, who raced in the 1953 and 1955 Italian Grands Prix, and passed away earlier this week at the age of 95.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

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

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix articles

Images ?? Williams/Sutton, Red Bull/Getty images, McLaren/Hoch Zwei, Yas Marina/LAT

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134 comments on Lotus take 80th Grand Prix win after 25 years

  1. Lustigson (@lustigson) said on 5th November 2012, 12:53

    Six different teams have now won races in 2012: McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, Williams and Lotus. The last time this happened was in 1983, when Ferrari, McLaren and Williams were also winners, along with Brabham, Renault and Tyrrell.

    One could argue that the 2012 Grand Prix winner Mercedes was the 1983 winner Tyrrell, in a way. ;)

    Oh, and Wikipedia has the 1958-1994 Team Lotus wins as a seperate entry on the all-time winning constructors’ list — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Formula_One_Grand_Prix_winners_(constructors) — which doesn’t correspond with the way they handled Sauber/BMW Sauber’s single win, though.

  2. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 5th November 2012, 13:02

    I find it ironic that McLaren beats Ferrari’s record of consecutive finishes – a record of consistency – in a race where they retire from the lead. It would be a fitting end to the Hamilton – Button partnership if they managed to extend that streak with exactly two more races.

  3. Nirupam (@nirupam) said on 5th November 2012, 13:07

    Teammate Rivalry: With 2 races remaining this season, Button is leading Hamilton by 5 points, 637 to 632 in the three years they spent as team mates. Hamilton has 3 wins each season, while Button has done 2 less (2-3-2).

    • Canberra said on 5th November 2012, 14:17

      Hamilton should be miles ahead like Vettel is with Webber (who i think is better then button). but hamilton has proved to not have consitency like Vettel. mechanical retirements aside this year, he has not made the best of a fast car in the way Vettel has, and each year goes throught a patch of driver errors. In the past few years, Hamilton has often been the first on the radio saying “tyres are gone”, he is not anywhere near as fast as Vettel over a race distance – i think a lot down to his non understanding of how to make tyres last, hence why button, a “slower” driver is equal to hamilton in points scored. Hamilton is the next Villeneuve when he moves to Mercedes, especially with their record of tyre wear… he will fit right in!

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th November 2012, 14:37

        Well, you say “mechanical failures aside”, but they do account for a lot of points. Hamilton has suffered more with these than Button, especially this year and in 2010, which has skewed the point stats against him. I also don’t think he’s made many errors himself this season, though over the last 2 years, I’m not sure he’s consistently maximised his car as much as Alonso or Vettel.

        Finally, Hamilton is too good to be the next Jacques Villeneuve. I’m sure he’ll make it work and preserve his image as a top racer, even if the car isn’t up to scratch.

      • @Canberra – Your comment is a load of nonsense. It is not an exaggeration to say that this season Hamilton has lost at a conservative estimate at least 100 points through no fault of his own.

        • Abnash (@abnash) said on 6th November 2012, 0:35

          Retirement Count Since 2010:
          Hamilton-2010 Spain, 2010 Italy, 2010 Singapore, 2011 Canada,
          2011 Belgium, 2011 Brazil, 2012 Germany, 2012 Belgium, 2012 Singapore,
          2012 Abu Dhabi = 10 retirements
          Button-2010 Monaco, 2010 Belgium, 2011 Britain, 2011 Germany,
          2012 Bahrain, 2012 Italy, 2012 Korea = 7 retirements

          • bigdon128 (@bigdon128) said on 7th November 2012, 16:40

            Yes, but not a single one of Button’s retirements was his fault. You could argue Hamilton’s retirements in Spain 2010, Italy 2010, Singapore 2010, Canada 2011 and Belgium 2011 were due to driver error, which means means Hamilton has had less overall forced retirements, but more this year.

  4. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 5th November 2012, 13:07

    This is again going to raise the ridulousness of Lotus vs Lotus through no fault of Keith’s. As I understand it now, the team currently called Lotus are now branding themselves as “Team Enstone”, and their website says as much in the history section. Keith correctly points this out in the second last paragraph of the frist section as well.

    But this still doesn’t help the fact that the use of the Lotus name still confuses a lot of people who think that the current team is claiming two sets of heritage (Team Lotus 1958 – 1994 and Toleman/Benetton/Renault/Lotus Renault GP 1981-2011).

    • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 5th November 2012, 13:14

      I’ve probably been among the most vocal about this, but actually Keith’s article above is quite balanced (headline aside) in pointing out that the win is not by the original Lotus team, and that if you trace the lineage of the Enstone team back, then their last win was in 2008 as Renault.

      I tend to go with the Enstone history, as it makes more sense to me and that appears to be how the team identify themselves, but there’s not really a right or wrong answer, and no matter how you choose to interpret it, someone is going to disagree with you.

      What it does highlight is that team names shouldn’t just be badges you can buy up and slap on your car. It makes a mockery of the history of the sport.

      • beneboy (@beneboy) said on 5th November 2012, 13:44

        I agree and I’d much rather teams came up with their own names and tried to create their own history, although I appreciate that buying or adopting the name of a former team does make an awful lot of sense from a marketing perspective as many casual fans just see the name and don’t know about the history.

        I’d bet that few people (other than F1fanatics) would know who or what HRT was or would think it was a reference to hormone replacement therapy rather than an F1 team.

      • Claire Turner said on 5th November 2012, 14:35

        The chassis of the E20 car is LOTUS. So I say well done to Kimi xx and to Lotus!

      • Mark (@marlarkey) said on 5th November 2012, 23:10

        Agreed…. Keith has phrased it in a very helpful way that highlights the issue but reflects the different ways of looking at it.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th November 2012, 13:15


      the team currently called Lotus are now branding themselves as “Team Enstone”, and their website says as much in the history section

      Indeed, but where it counts they’re still using the name ‘Lotus':


      • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 5th November 2012, 13:59

        Ah yes, but “Lotus F1 Team” and Chapman’s “Team Lotus” are very different as has been discussed ad nauseam! ;)

        They have handled this issue much better this year, probably because they don’t have another Lotus at the back of the grid. They seem to be very proudle Team Enstone and I hope the madness of Lotus v Lotus will eventually be forgotten.

        • jonchuckle (@jonchuckle) said on 5th November 2012, 14:04

          Yes they are, but they are both constructors called Lotus. The modern Mercedes (née BAR) are a very different team to the original Silver Arrows, but they didn’t win for the first time in 2012.

          • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 5th November 2012, 14:08

            Oh dear, this is the sort of debate I really didn’t want to start! It’s all so tedious!

          • George (@george) said on 5th November 2012, 20:03

            Mercedes have a manufacturer link from the old team to the new though, current Lotus has nothing to do with old Lotus, they’re not even involved with the company any more.

          • Mark (@marlarkey) said on 5th November 2012, 23:12

            There is a direct line between the current Mercedes team and the original silver arrows. They are both works teams for the same motor company…. in that case the link is the direct lineage of the teams ownership.

            That doesn’t apply to the team currently called Lotus.

          • ..and how about Lotus motor company? Lol

  5. Thabiso (@blograider) said on 5th November 2012, 13:10

    Still no Alo-Ham-Vet podium….Should be on for the Americas though….

  6. Calum (@calum) said on 5th November 2012, 13:15

    Kimi Raikkonen joins quite an exclusive club consisting of Mansell, Prost, Lauda, Andretti and Fangio, as drivers to win a race in Formula 1 before and after a sabbatical.

    Kimi Raikkonen:
    2001-2009, 18 wins;
    2012-presant, 1 win.

    Nigel Mansell:
    1980-1992, 30 wins;
    1994-1995, 1 win.

    Alain Prost:
    1980-1991; 44 wins;
    1993; 7 wins.

    Niki Lauda:
    1971-1979, 17 wins;
    1982-1985, 8 wins.

    Mario Andretti:
    1968-1972, 1 win;
    1974-1982, 11 wins.

    Juan Manuel Fangio:
    1950-1951, 6 wins;
    1953-1958, 18 wins.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th November 2012, 13:16

      @Calum Nice one.

    • plushpile (@plushpile) said on 5th November 2012, 13:32

      Happy to be corrected here, but I thought Fangio in 1952 was injury rather than a sabbatical.
      Much of a muchness probably…

      • Calum (@calum) said on 5th November 2012, 13:44

        Yes, he crashed and rolled a race car and suffered a broken neck.
        These guys all missed a season or two for various reasons, Fangio with that injury, Prost waiting on the Williams seat, ect – sabbatical just seemed the best word to use though to cover all the reasons! :)

    • topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 5th November 2012, 13:50

      Ah, Mansell winning in Adelaide… the definition of an open goal :)

    • sumedh said on 5th November 2012, 14:17

      Sorry to be pedantic. But how do you define a ‘sabbatical’? Kimi, Nigel, Alain, Niki were fairly straight-forward as they were absent from the entire season and not contracted to any team during their ‘sabbatical’ period.

      But Mario Andretti was racing in few races here and there till 1972. Do we consider every missed race as a sabbatical?
      And Fangio raced non-championship races in 1952 as well.

    • Bob (@bobthevulcan) said on 5th November 2012, 15:15

      Just realised that Lauda and Raikkonen both raced for 9 years of a decade (Kimi raced through the 2000s, Lauda through the 1970s) before taking a sabbatical, and returning 2 years later. If their careers continue to mirror each other, I see a comeback championship in the cards for Kimi… (wishful thinking is a wonderful thing)

  7. Hotbottoms (@hotbottoms) said on 5th November 2012, 13:19

    Here are some statistics about Räikkönen’s victory:

    – Räikkönen has now won with three different teams (McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus). Of the current drivers, only Alonso (Renault, McLaren, Ferrari) and Button (Honda, Brawn, McLaren) have managed to do the same (even though Honda and Brawn were basically the same team). Before them, the last driver with the same achievement was Gerhard Berger, who last raced in 1997.

    – Räikkönen has now won on 7 different seasons. Of the current drivers, only Schumacher (15) and Alonso (8) have won on more seasons.

    – Räikkönen’s last victory was in Spa in 2009, 61 Grands Prix ago (however, he only started 23 of those). Last driver to have as many races between their two victories, was Rubens Barrichello between China 2004 and Europe 2009. There were 85 Grands Prix between those victories and he started every of them.

    – Räikkönen has now 19 victories and he’s only one victory away of reaching Mika Häkkinen (20) and becoming the Finn with most victories. It took Häkkinen 165 races to reach 20 victories, whereas Räikkönen has already attended 175 Grands Prix.

    – Räikkönen is the 6th Grand Prix winner to take a sabbatical (one or more seasons) and come back to win a Grand Prix. The others are Prost, Lauda, Fangio, Andretti and Mansell, of whom only Niki Lauda had two or more seasons long sabbatical.

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 5th November 2012, 16:43

      I personally wouldn’t count Button in this for the reason you have given.

      I also notice that Berger’s wins came with Benetton, Ferrari and McLaren which are essentially the same three teams as both Räikkönen and Alonso. Schumacher won with Benetton and Ferrari so clearly should have been negotiating a seat at McLaren for 2010 which would likely have given him the same statistic.

    • This is actually a fairly rare occurence, I can only think of Prost (Renault, Mclaren, Ferrari, Williams), Piquet (Brabham, Williams, Benetton) and Lauda (Ferrari, Brabham, Mclaren) in the last 25 or so years to have done this apart from the ones you mentioned. Going back a bit further Fangio won with 4 teams, and Moss is the driver with the most wins for different teams I can think of with 5 (Mercedes, Maserati, Vanwall, Cooper and Lotus)

      • Ilanin (@ilanin) said on 6th November 2012, 10:50

        Moss never drove for either the works Cooper or Lotus teams. He won races for the five different constructors you list (except he didn’t, because the constructors’ championship didn’t exist until 1958 so strictly he only really won races for Vanwall, Cooper and Lotus), but only for four different teams – Mercedes, Maserati, Vanwall and Rob Walker Racing.

  8. It’s a shame that those Indianapolis 500 events from the 1950’s blight the record books when really they were pretty much nothing to do with F1.

  9. GeoCucc (@geocucc) said on 5th November 2012, 13:55

    It was the 18th win ever achieved by car No. 9. Räikkönen scored the last 8 of them, since in 2005 he also drove the No. 9 car at McLaren.

    It’s the first time Alonso scored two 2nd places in a row since the 2006 Brazilian and the 2007 Australian GP.

    With 1 hour 45 minutes and 58.677 seconds, it was the longest race Raikkonen has ever won. It was 43 seconds longer than the Monaco GP in 2005, also won by the finn.

    No podium for McLaren for the 4th race in a row. It’s the longest absence for them since the first part of 2009.

    It was the 6th time Hamilton retired after getting pole. Also this season he has 4 retirements, more than in any of his previous seasons.

  10. andae23 (@andae23) said on 5th November 2012, 14:01

    Got this one from twitter: “Sebastian Vettel is the first person to ever suffer from a lack of fuel in the UAE”

    On the more serious note, it’s quite sad that now the magical number of 79 Lotus victories is erased from the history books :(

  11. Enigma (@enigma) said on 5th November 2012, 14:06

    In three of the four Abu Dhabi Grands Prix the driver starting from pole position retired after a technical issue.

  12. It’s the 3rd time this season where the drivers starting on the front row failed to reach the chequered flag. Interestingly, all three involve Lewis Hamilton.

    Trying to find out the last time that statistic happened ;)

  13. matt90 (@matt90) said on 5th November 2012, 14:17

    RIP John Fitch. I had no idea he’d passed away. I know little of his career unfortunately, but knew of him from his appearance on at least one BBC documentry (I believe it was the one about the 1955 Le Mans disaster).

  14. all triple world championship occurred in years with different ending
    end 1-(1991) Senna
    end 2-(2012) Vettel or Alonso
    end 3 (1973) Stewart
    end 4 (1984) Lauda
    end 5 (1955) Fangio
    end 6 (1966) Brabham
    end 7 (1987) Piquet
    end 8 (2018) ?
    end 9 (1989) Prost

  15. the_sigman (@sigman1998) said on 5th November 2012, 14:41

    Τhe last win for the name ”Lotus” was two weeks before Vettel was born.

    • brny666 said on 5th November 2012, 23:00

      That’s an amazing stat. Clearly the winning spirit in the team left and transferred into young Seb.

  16. Claire Turner said on 5th November 2012, 14:41

    Kimi Raikkonen has finished every single lap of the 2012 season so far. Is he the only driver with this record?

  17. Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 5th November 2012, 14:48

    Since his announcement Hamilton had several mechanical problems. That’s as interesting fact. I’m not saying it was on purpose.
    Whitmarsh must be smilling about the prospect that his boy might end the championship ahead of Lewis.

    • James (@jamesf1) said on 5th November 2012, 23:18

      No way would it be on purpose. Mclaren competed to win. They have a reputation to maintain and roadcars to sell, they wouldnt deliberately sabotage their own driver.

      However, it is a strange run of failures/poor luck. Simiarly, Perez hasnt scored since Singapore.

  18. andrewf1 (@andrewf1) said on 5th November 2012, 14:59

    I really thought Hamilton would’ve been able to achieve a Grand Chelem this weekend. He had pole, he said he was cruising yet still pulling a gap so most likely he wouldn’t have pitted first to lose the lead and i was really looking forward to see his pace on the hard tires, the car was absolutely the fastest on those during friday. Of course there were the safety cars but still I think he would’ve finished ahead by quite some margin and the potential was there for a first (?) Grand Chelem.

  19. Vettel’s already won the DHL fastest lap championship, now can he win the drivers championship? I know which one he’d rather win anyway!

    • brny666 said on 5th November 2012, 23:02

      Clearly the DHL fastest lap championship means much more to him.

    • Mark (@marlarkey) said on 5th November 2012, 23:29

      Vettel is 21st in the all-time fastest lap record list… he’s really not that great at fastest laps.

      He is equal with Webber and Massa, and still has a way to go to overtake the likes of even Coulthard, Barrichello, Damon Hill, Alonso, Raikkonen (who has 37 to Vettel’s 14)…

      Many of them have a higher hit rate than Vettel as well despite him having been in a dominant car.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th November 2012, 23:39

        @malarkey – Even Senna only managed 19.

        • Mark (@marlarkey) said on 6th November 2012, 1:02

          Yep… his fastest lap hit rate was pretty low…

          RAI has a big advantage over ALO and VET in the fastest lap records…. a high hit rate for fastest laps… and he shows every sign of increasing his fastest lap total.

  20. MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 5th November 2012, 16:38

    I don’t know if this is a stat but Vettel finished third as well, the last time Kimi won a race.

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