Start, Detroit, 1987

Lotus take 80th Grand Prix win after 25 years

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stats and factsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

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  1. If it was not for the total mess ups of Mclaren this year, for the car they had and for the motivation/momentum of Lewis, He should have been champion by Abudhabi. Poor guy. Last year it was those bizarre incidents with Massa et all. This year he was all set and the team let him down. I mean the team really let him down.

    If Perez does not deliver for Mclaren they will enter a vacuum zone. Jenson is not their long term prospect given his age. They need a young champion winner who can be their poster boy. I truly hope Perez proves Luca wrong otherwise he will just fade out like Heikki kovelinen.

  2. 5 consecutive victories for Renault engines, what’s the last time that happened?

    1. For Renault specifically – probably during the 90s heyday with Williams.

      For all engines Ferarri would have done so quite a few times in 2000-2004

    2. @enigma

      1996 between Canada and Hungary when they were supplying Williams. They also scored five in a row at the beginning between Australia and San Marino.

      1. The five in a row at the beginning was actually the continuation of 11 from the previous season, so that’ll be 16 consecutive wins for Renault engines.

      2. Thanks – it’s been a long time since they’ve had two teams capable of winning!

  3. I heard that Pastor Maldonado avoided becoming the first ever Grand Prix winner in history to win a race and not have another top-five finish to his name in the same season.

    1. I believe Fisichella did this in 2003.

      1. Jean Pierre Jabouille scored one victory and no other points in 1979 and 1980

  4. 3rd time this year that a traditionally rubbish track has produced a good race (after the 2 in Spain).

    Vettel’s climb is the biggest climb since Christian Danner went from 26th to 4th in USA 1989.

    The last 2 Hamilton poles have seen him lead 19 laps before breaking down.

    3 penalties in 1 weekend for Perez (pit lane speeding in practice, reprimand for blocking in qualifying, stop-go in race).

    Red Bull’s first non-mechanical DNF this season – only Caterham and Marussia haven’t had one in 2012.

    Webber’s first non-classified finish since Italy 2011.

    And 2012 really seems to be becoming 2009 in reverse – in 2009 one driver (in this case Button) started the season with 1-1-3-1-1-1-1, then the rest of the season was more evenly matched with no driver scoring back-to-back wins. In 2012 the season was quite closely fought (with no driver scoring back-to-back wins) until the final 7 races, in which it looks as though Vettel will manage 1-1-1-1-3-1-1.

    1. That last stat… if it turns out to be truns my mind will be blown. Although I think Hami will put the spanner in the works for Seb and win the last 2.

    2. That would be something. Several said, myself included, that if Button won 6 of the last 7 races of the seasion it would be one of the greatest title wins in history. Let’s see what happens, but I hope Alonso has something to say about this!

  5. This article shows one of the most convincing arguments of what’s wrong with current F1 cars: look at that Marussia!

    1. @verstappen Yeah I hate the disparity between the front and rear wing widths at the moment, it looks so ugly. They are going to make the front wings a bit narrower but they need to do something about the rear wings too.

  6. Not sure about this one, but is not it the first race of 2012 where every classified driver finished in the lead lap?

    1. @nirupam
      the last time it happened was in Monaco 2010

  7. Hey, we all missed the most important stat of the weekend:

    First time in HRT’s history when their car finished in the same lap with the winner, thanks to de la Rosa (and the Safety Cars).

  8. This was the sweariest podium since James Hunt retired.

    1. Absolutely right!:D

  9. I would be interested to know how many F1 fans actually class the Lotus F1/Team Enstone as Classic Team Lotus and if anyone includes Caterham in with them.

    For me Team Lotus finished in 1994, what has happened in recent years with Caterham and Team Enstone is just a mess all round.

    The current Lotus F1 team seem to identify themselves with Enstone, for example the three stars on the car for the three WDC, rather than with Team Lotus and I think if they could change their name with no penalty they probably would.

  10. I’ve just noticed that even though Kimi has been a strong championship contender in recent races, ironically now he is now out of the race as a contender for the championship on the weekend of his long awaited first win since his comeback.

  11. first time since 2003 we’ve had 8 different drivers winning races.

    2003: coulthard, raikkonen, fisichella, m schumacher, montoya, r schumacher, barrichello, alonso
    2012: button, alonso, rosberg, vettel, maldonado, webber, hamilton, raikkonen

    the record stands at 11 in 1982 and cannot be broken this year since there are only two races left!

  12. the last 8 years were 8 different vice champions that will not happen this year.

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