Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2012

Schumacher finishes his F1 career as he started it

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

Sebastian Vettel cemented his place in F1 history by becoming the third driver to win three consecutive world championships.

The two drivers who did so before him, Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher, went on to win four and five titles in a row respectively.

As noted yesterday, Vettel is the youngest driver ever to win three world championships, beating Ayrton Senna’s record by six years.

Like Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton before him, Vettel won the title in Brazil despite not finishing on the podium.

So long to Schumacher

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2012While a new thrice-champion was crowned, another one bowed out. Michael Schumacher returned to retirement after 306 starts, having failed to add to his tally of 91 Grand Prix wins during his three-year comeback.

But he did make a final appearance in the points. The seven-times champion at the wheel of car number seven finished his F1 career in seventh place. Appropriately enough, that’s also where he started it.

Button wins for McLaren

In a similar vein McLaren ended their season the way they began it, with a front row lock-out led by Lewis Hamilton followed by victory for Button.

The pair led their first laps in Brazil but it was Button who clinched his 15th career win. He is now 17th on the list of most prolific F1 winners.

With Hamilton retiring following a collision with Nico Hulkenberg, Button has accumulated more points than his team mate during their three years together, with 672 to Hamilton’s 657. See this article for more information.

McLaren scored points in every race where Hamilton and Button were team mates. Here’s how many points each driver scored in that time:


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58
Lewis Hamilton 15 23 31 49 49 59 84 109 127 145 157 157 182 182 182 192 210 222 240 258 262 287 299 317 325 325 337 349 374 386 386 398 408 418 436 442 467 467 482 497 512 516 520 530 555 555 559 559 584 584 609 609 619 620 632 632 657 657
Jenson Button 6 31 35 60 70 70 88 106 121 133 143 147 147 165 177 189 189 199 214 222 240 252 260 275 290 315 323 323 323 348 363 381 399 424 436 454 469 484 509 509 527 527 529 529 529 533 534 552 560 585 585 603 615 615 625 637 647 672

Hamilton’s last three victories have all been preceded and succeeded by no-scores. However he did set his 26th pole position for McLaren, equalling Mika Hakkinen’s tally.

Hamilton had more pole positions than any other driver this year: seven, which would have been eight but for his penalty at the Circuit de Catalunya. Vettel had the most fastest laps with six and Fernando Alonso the most podiums with 13.

And Hamilton also set fastest lap for the 12th time in his career, giving him as many as Alberto Ascari, Jack Brabham, Rene Arnoux and Juan Pablo Montoya.

McLaren were joined by Ferrari and Lotus in scoring points at every round this year. Constructors’ champions Red Bull had one no-score, at Monza.

Hulkenberg’s first laps in the lead

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Interlagos, 2012Nico Hulkenberg led a race for the first time. This was the third race led by a Force India, the others being this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix (by Paul di Resta) and the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix (Giancarlo Fisichella). Hulkenberg led for 30 laps, boosting Force India’s total to 35.

He became the 13th different driver to lead a lap this year, the same number that did so in 2009. The record is 15, set in 1954, 1956, 1957 and 1960 – all seasons which included the Indianapolis 500 – as well as 1975 and 2008.

Kimi Raikkonen’s mistake in trying to rejoin the track via a closed escape road cost him a lot of time and led to him being lapped. As a result he failed to complete every lap of the 20-race season – he did 1,191 out of 1,192.

However Paul di Resta’s crash promoted Raikkonen to tenth place and extended his string of consecutive points scores to 17.

Raikkonen ended the year third in the drivers’ championship, the best position for a Lotus driver since Ayrton Senna 25 years ago. He was the only driver to finish every race this year.

Pastor Maldonado became the first driver to receive a penalty for collecting too many reprimands. His third reprimand of the year earned him his tenth penalty of 2012, giving him twice as many as any other driver. Three of his penalties were for gearbox changes.

Sergio Perez failed to add to his points tally after being signed by McLaren six races ago.

This was the 500th Grand Prix to feature a Renault-engined car.

Pirelli stats

Pirelli produced some interesting statistics on their second season as F1’s official tyre supplier.

During the season they provided 31,800 tyres – 22,500 slicks and 9,300 for wet conditions – plus a further 6,600 for testing. Pirelli also covered 7,021km of testing themselves using a 2010 Renault R30.

The average lifespan of their dry-weather tyres was 180km. Drivers averaged 1.9 pit stops per race with the most coming in the wet race at Malaysia (76) – Brazil saw 69.

The highest track temperature recorded during the year was 55C during the second practice session in Brazil on Friday. Valencia saw the highest ambient temperature, 37C. At the other end of the scale track temperatures dipped to 11C in America and 0C during testing at Jerez.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

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

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix articles

Images ?? Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Sahara Force India F1 Team

125 comments on “Schumacher finishes his F1 career as he started it”

  1. I’d love to know what Kimi’s lap time was on the lap he created his own version of Interlagos.

    1. He was just going back to the 70s :)

      Would be actually nice to see them using the older configuration for the “last” turn, the last few kinks on the front straight would be safer in the wet.

  2. See ya Michael, wish things would of gone different.

  3. I think I’m right in saying Vettel becomes the first driver to win a championship without winning a European round. A sign of the times I guess!

    1. @dan-thorn I seem to remember there have been others – which I read somewhere. I don’t think that’s correct, sorry :P

      1. Nope, just double checked. A couple have only won 1 European race but Vettel is the first to do it without winning any.

    2. This was brought up earlier I believe! Yes it is the first time a championship has been won with no European victories; the lowest was one. I know Keke Rosberg’s done that but I’m not sure if there are any others.

      1. Mike Hawthorn did in 58 as well, both him and Rosberg won only one race in their title season.

  4. The average lifespan of their dry-weather tyres was 180km. Drivers averaged 1.9 pit stops per race…

    These facts are pretty misleading. In race conditions, few tyres have actually done as much as 180km (certainly not before Spa), but I suppose the average is extended if you count free practice sessions with lots of in- and outlaps. Also, the 1.9 stop-average is for all drivers, I suppose, not for drivers that actually completed the race distance.

    1. Right. 300 kilometers divided by 1.9 + 1 is slightly over 100 kilometers per tyre on average in the race.

    2. Yes, I think that in the article with the numbers from Pirelli they are broken down to more detail.

  5. In the both of Schumacher’s last races before his retirements, the podium featured Alonso, Massa and Button.

    1. @sigman1998
      That is actually remarkable.
      Nice stat!

    2. And on both occasions the two Williams drivers both crashed out within the first 2 laps.

  6. Just to connect to the Schumacher retirement, here’s an awesome stat.

    Schumacher first retired in 2006. The results at his last race (which was held at Brazil) were Massa (1st), Alonso (2nd), and Button (3rd).

    Schumacher again retired in 2012. The results at his last race (which was held at Brazil) were Massa (3rd), Alonso (2nd), and Button (1st).

    1. @journeyer That’s awesome.

  7. This is the third time Alonso has been within 5 points of winning the Drivers’ Championship.

    The podium for the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix (Schumacher’s first retirement) was the same as yesterday’s; Alonso, Button, Massa. Massa’s the only driver to be with the same team.

    1. This is the third time Alonso has been within 5 points of winning the Drivers’ Championship.

      Poor guy should be oing bananas at this point, so close so many times and yet so far…

      1. He could have been a 5-time world champion by now…

  8. If I’ve done my calculations right, this is the first season with only one 1-2 finish for a team (Red Bull in Korea) since 1997 (McLaren in Jerez). One year which came close was 2005, with one for McLaren in Brazil and the farcical one for Ferrari at Indianapolis. I didn’t go further back in time to find one with no such races, but even in 1983 there were two.

    1. In 1975 and 1977 there was none. Both were Lauda’s champoinship years with Ferrari.

    2. @zantex – that just goes to show how competitive the grid has been this year (and also highlights McLaren’s uncanny ability to screw up to an extent)!

  9. Jenson Button has now won twice a race where someone else clinches championship. There are a total of five such drivers, Button being the only one who has seen same driver winning the title twice.

    Stirling Moss won in 1956 Italy and 1958 Morocco.
    Nigel Mansell won in 1985 Europe and 1994 Australia.
    Gerhard Berger won in 1987 and 1991 Japan.
    Felipe Massa won in 2006 and 2008 Brazil.

    Berger’s first one is a bit debatable though, since the championship was actually decided a day before the race, with Mansell withdrawing due to his crash.

    Of the 63 titles, 30 has been clinched by winning the race.

    1. Mansell didn’t withdrew the previous day. He retired in the race after 5 laps.

  10. The top 5 in the drivers championship are all champions themselves; Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Button.

    1. … which is the first time in history. The 1967 season came closest with Hulme, Brabham, Clark and Surtees in the top four. If you also count drivers that would later become champions, then it would be the 1966 season with seven champions in the top 7 (Brabham, Surtees, Rindt, Hulme, G. Hill, Clark and Stewart).

    2. And sorted in order of # of titles and seniority by year won.

  11. No driver on the 2012 grid is able to break Vettel’s record of youngest triple champion unless Vergne somehow wins 2013 and 2014 and then takes 2015 title at Monza.

    1. That’s a little bit difficult. Just a little.
      Awesome stat anyway.

    2. Well, how old is Esteban Gutierrez (2013 driver)? On TV he looks like 15!!! if somehow he becomes an ace, can he become the youngest ever river? Or what about the ones coming to F1 like Bottas or Frijns?

      1. @omarr-pepper I’m not sure F1 racers can become rivers… I’m quite sure that’s more a geographical feature than a profession :P

        1. Hahahahaha :D that’s brilliant

        2. @raymondu999 hahaha you got me dude, now you owe me an apologize like Hamilton asked Hulk :P
          PS: I meant to say youngest ever champion

      2. @omarr-pepper – To answer your question, Gutierrez is 21. Given that his birthday is 5 August, he’s already older than the youngest race winner; Vettel was 21 years and 73 days old when he won at Monza in 2008.

  12. A totally different but interesting fact, this has been the first season with no drivers replaced. The only driver swap was forced by a penalty (D’Ambrosio for Grosjean @ Monza) The only other year in which that happened was 2008, excluding Super Aguri’s withdrawal @ Spain, but as long as they made the start, they had the same drivers.

    1. 2000 also only had one driver replacement – Luciano Burti replacing Eddie Irvine for one race due to injury.

    2. @carlitox I noticed that we were heading towards that a good few races ago. I’d like to think that’s a good sign of stability but things ain’t looking good for HRT.

  13. Great bonus stats so far, guys. Keep ’em coming!

  14. This is what I noticed:

    – Jenson Button has won two races this year: the first and the last. The last time a driver only managed to win those two races was Alan Jones in 1981.

    – It was the first time that both Ferrari drivers finished on the podium since the 2010 Korean GP. In the meantime, the Ferrari drivers picked up 24 podiums individually, of which 23 by Alonso. (ouch…)

    – Kimi Raikkonen completed every single lap of the 2012 season, bar one: today’s final lap. But because he did finish the race, he now holds the record for most race finished in one year (taking over the record from Tiago Monteiro 2005). He also took over the record for most kms raced in one year (6083 km) from Fernando Alonso 2010 (5735 km ) and most laps raced (1191 laps) from Tiago Monteiro 2005 (1125 laps)

    – 11th by Vitaly Petrov was the best position for any of the ‘new teams’ since they entered F1 in 2010.

    – Michael Schumacher has scored 49 points this season: his lowest amount of points in a full season (though he had 44 in 1999 and 4 in 1991). Also, with an age of 43 years old, Michael Schumacher was the oldest driver to compete in a Grand Prix since Graham Hill at the 1975 Brazil GP (McLaren’s 100th GP, for those interested).

    – This was Renault’s 500th Grand Prix. But unfortunately no Renault-powered car finished in the top three, just like Ford-Cosworth’s 500th GP (Australia 2001) and Ferrari’s 500th GP (Britain 1992).

    – Lewis Hamilton was the 12th driver to set fastest lap this year, which brings the record we already had for this season even higher.

    – With Hamilton moving to Mercedes next year, Mercedes will maintain their record of starting every race with a World Champion in their line-up.

    – The championship was mathematically decided when the driver in sixth place (Vettel himself) crossed the finish line. That is the highest position in which the championship was decided, at least since 1991 (maybe someone can pick up on this?).

    1. May be your wording, but fact 1 is misleading as Button has won 3 races this year, Australia, Belgium (where i went :) ) and Brazil…

      1. $^%*^# I had totally forgotten about Belgium !!!
        So… simply ignore that stat then :)

    2. @andae23 Renault engine’s 500th race, or Team Enstone?

      1. @raymondu999 I don’t know what the count is for ‘Team Enstone’ (Toleman/Benetton/Renault 2002-2011/Lotus 2012), but as it noted in the article it was the 500th for Renault engines.

    3. Nice stats but you made a couple of mistakes. Raikkoknen completed this year’s final lap. Also did you count the distance Kimi made off track yesterday?

      1. Raikkonen didn’t complete the final lap, because he was a lap down. He only completed 70 of 71 laps.

        1. @ilanin @keithcollantine
          Nice, making a small mistake in F1Fanatic’s stats and facts results in three almost instant corrections.

      2. @sigman1998

        Raikkonen completed this year’s final lap

        No he only did 70 of the 71, as mentioned in the article.

      3. @sigman19998
        Räikkönen was lapped so he only completed 70 laps out of 71 in Brazil.

      4. No, I did not include Kimi’s attempt of changing the circuit’s lay-out :P

        1. Haha, it must add up to nearly half a lap – he had at least two other adventures across the new tarmac run-off areas.

    4. Presumably your statement about the position of the driver whose finish causes the title to be mathematically decided is upside down and you actually mean that sixth is the lowest position in which the championship was decided, since, for example, in 2010 the championship was decided when Rosberg finished fourth at Abu Dhabi.

      That being the case, since positions lower than sixth never scored world championship points in any season prior to 1991 (and you say you’ve covered up to 1991 yourself), sixth place is the lowest position that a finish in has decided the title.

      1. Massa has had two podiums this year. The first was Japan (I think?) and the second obviously in Brazil. Yesterday’s podium was certainly more meaningful.

        1. Wondered the same thing, though maybe the meaning was 24 times that the drivers appeared on the podium alone (Massa once, Alonso 23 times).

      2. There has been few cases where championship has been decided before the race ends. Last such event happened in 1998 when Schumacher retired at the Japanese GP.

      3. @ Ilanin I hear this quite often: as ‘six’ is a higher number than ‘four’, I regard sixth place as a higher place finish than fourth. For the second part of your comment: I expressed myself cautiously, because I didn’t know if there has ever been another season in which the championship was decided with sixth place.

    5. MS was stripped of his points in 97, so I think that he in fact did score zero in one full season. Or at least he was stripped of his second place standing that year. Have heard it worded both ways. Either way it was a slap on the wrist, as he got to keep his quali’s and his wins in the record books.

  15. first time the opening and closing race is won by the same driver who is not the champion or runner-up.

    Maldonado ended the year fifteenth in the drivers’ championship, worst position of a rider who won a race at all times.

  16. Lewis Hamilton was the only driver to make Q3 in every race this season.

    Last season this was achieved by Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso and Massa.

  17. Button may be trashing Hamilton in terms of points since they became teammates, but Hamilton rules the trophies cabinet in terms of wins at 10-8 (stands to be corrected)

    1. …and Ron Dennis has them ALL!

    2. Be interesting if you could work out who has achieved the most podiums in that time span also…

      1. I worked it out yesterday…I think it stands at 25 to Button, and 22 to Hamilton. Mainly because Button got so many last year, Hamilton got more in ’10 and ’12.

  18. Wow, only 15 points between JB and LH! Gosh, Barcelona, Abu Dhabi, Singapore have sure taken their toll

    1. I find it deeply, deeply depressing, especially this year as performance-wise lewis thrashed jenson, but had almost no points difference to show for it. The worst part is this will be taken for years to come as “evidence” that Jenson is better than lewis by fans on certain forums…

      1. Well I think that JB did outperform LH last year, so maybe the ‘evidence’ is not that far off. JB continues to get big accolades for making and succeeding at his own decisions during races that have variable conditions such as yesterday’s. JB is a WDC and is no slouch and I think it’s going to be exciting to see him next year with Perez as his teammate and LH no longer on ‘his’ team.

      2. I don’t take this as evidence that Jenson is better than Lewis, even though I prefer Jenson. What I do take it as is vindication of Mclaren’s signing of Button and proof that he isn’t in an altogether inferior category of driver and is fully deserving of his place in history as a world drivers champion.

        It’s easy to pick out particular races which affected Lewis this year, but one of the most notable features of that chart is Button’s slump in form during the year (although this was no-one else’s fault but his). Other than that the lines are pretty much on a similar trajectory most of the time and when you measure over 58 grand prix with both drivers in identical cars it is safe to say that most elements of luck are likely to be averaged out.

        The conclusion which can be safely drawn is that there is no significant difference in ability between the drivers – for me I’d put Hamilton a touch ahead.

        1. I think that is a fair comment.

        2. Drop Valencia!
          26th November 2012, 23:19

          Tortoise and Hare, I don’t see why some people still find it hard to understand that the tortoise can win…

      3. I don’t think the history will rememeber that LH beated this year Button by 2 points diff. Do you know how many pilots won WC by 1 point difference. Many, but I don’t remember them, and I don’t care of this. But I’ll rememember that Hamilton beated Button at Mclaren. 2-1, 3-2, …21-20…doesn’t matter. In seassons I’m reffering.

      4. I don’t see it as evidence that Button is better, even as a fan of the guy. I see it as hugely impressive though, silencing the huge majority who, 3 years ago, claimed that JB would get ‘destroyed’ at Mclaren and embarrass himself and so on.

        even if you take into account outright pace, and Hamilton’s misfortune, Button has done well to even come close – I don’t think many of Lewis’ future teammates will! Yes Lewis has been quicker, and deserved more, but it wasn’t the ‘destruction’ that so many predicted and JB should be pleased about that.

        1. I think JB has shown that he is fully capable of taking the fight to anybody. He’s a proven WDC and even if you want to dissect his win as coming down to the double diffuser, is that any different than SV benefitting from the blown diffuser last year? Only SV seemed to have the upper hand on the field including MW for the whole season and JB seemed to have his advantage for half that. Even if one wanted to say JB’s WDC was not as solid as some others’ in the annals of F1, he will have gained much from it nonetheless and is a better racer for it, of that I have no doubt.

          I think it’s a tough year to pick on drivers’ performances, given the lottery that became the tires for at least the first half of the year. They accounted for the variation and unpredictability of that of a record number of different winners and we talked about that ad infinitum. JB had a great year last year, and had some great showings this year, and he also struggled with the car….just as last year and this he and LH both did at times for various reasons. As did many drivers like the Merc guys, and FM, etc etc. They’ve all had highs and lows this year.

          I don’t see JB as any less capable of another WDC as long as the same ingredients come together for him again, like all WDC winners need. Pretty much the best car, and Mac’s was 3rd this year, pretty darn good reliability although SV proved it doesn’t have to be perfect, and if the competitiion is close it might come down to that spin in the first corner, or that blown engine, through no fault of the driver and of the same ilk as the F1 insiders are now bemoaning on their drivers’ behalf in the post-season comments.

          LH is also a proven WDC, but has also proven to run ragged and rattled at times, in amongst some stellar wins. He threw away a few WDC’s that were his to lose, and last year he admitted he was less than fully focused on F1 at times and it hurt him on the track. I personally think that was the beginning of the end for LH at Mac, since JB was also doing very well for them last year anyway. So I think LH HAD to outperform JB this year. I think he put unnecessary added pressure on himself to do that with last year’s off track behaviour. He couldn’t be beat two years running by JB. And he did perform very well but with the car and the team letting him down some times. That’s racing, and one never knows if LH had less reliability whether he would have taken himself into the fight and won, or he or the team thrown away another one.

          LH has only been with one team, the one that ‘birthed’ him, so it’s going to be fascinating to see what he does in such a different environment. But I think it is good and healthy for him and it’s going to be a blast. I want to see how Mac does, and I think they’ll be fine. And I think JB will be strong. I want to see how NR does too.

  19. That stat about Kimi completing all but one lap in the whole season is almost disheartening. One mistake (and the subsequent backtracking) cost him the consistency stat of finishing every lap of every race in the season.

    Out of sheer curiosity, can anyone tell me when the last time someone did complete every lap of every race of a season?

    1. Michael Schumacher back in 2002 is the only person to do that. And he not only drove every lap, but finished on the podium in every race. And his streak went from autumn of 2001 to the spring of 2003 (was it from Monza ’01 to Sepang ’03?).

    2. @cryptowillem – I believe that would be Schumacher in 2002 – when he finished every race on the podium.

      From the 2001 Hungarian GP through to the 2003 Australian GP Schumacher completed every lap: that is a total distance of 6964 km, or about 1/5 of the way around the world!

    3. Thanks @vettel1 and @kaiie ! I appreciate the info!

      1. @cryptowillem – your very welcome :)

  20. Jenson Button won both Jake Humphrey’s first and last races as presenter of the BBC F1 coverage

    1. And both finished behind a safety car!

      1. And there’s another pointless ‘record’…

        Button has won the most races that finished under safety car conditions.
        Australia 2009 and Brazil 2012.

        Häkkinen (Canada 1999), Barrichello (Italy 2009) and Webber (Monaco 2010) are the only others I can think of.

        1. and schumacher at canada 97 (after panis’s accident). that was the first i think.

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