Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2013

F1 faster than last year for first time this season

2014 United States Grand Prix stats and factsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit of the Americas, 2014Lewis Hamilton’s 32nd grand prix victory makes him Britain’s most successful F1 driver in terms of race wins.

It moves him ahead of Nigel Mansell on the all-time winners list. Hamilton is now level with Fernando Alonso, who had already taken 15 wins when Hamilton made his grand prix debut as Alonso’s team mate in 2007.

Hamilton became only the seventh driver in F1 history to win five races in a row. The others to have done so are Sebastian Vettel, Alberto Ascari, Michael Schumacher, Jack Brabham, Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell.

It was also his tenth win this year, and Mercedes’ tenth one-two this season. That equals the record set by McLaren in 1988, though that was during a 16-race season. Mercedes have two events left in this 19-race championship to improve on that record. Their 27th victory also puts them level with Benetton.

While Hamilton has won ten times this year, Rosberg has the same number of second places. He’s leading on pole positions, however – this was his ninth this season, guaranteeing Hamilton will not end the year with more. It was the 13th of Rosberg’s career, putting him level with Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, Jacky Ickx, Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya and Mark Webber.

Vettel took the fastest lap – the 24th of his career, putting him level with Niki Lauda. That ended a ten-race streak in which every fastest lap had been set by a Mercedes-engined car.

Going into this weekend Vettel had set pole position on both F1’s previous two visits to the Circuit of the Americas. But his power unit penalty ended that run, forcing him to start from the pits. He made a perfunctory run in Q1 and was eliminated – the first time he had gone out that early since the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Adrian Sutil gave Sauber their best qualifying position of the year so far, taking ninth on the grid after penalties. Unfortunately he retired in a collision on the first lap of the race – just as he did on his only other start at this track 12 months ago.

For the fifth time in the last six races, McLaren were the fastest team in the pits.

Double points creates unprecedented situation

Daniel Ricciardo went into this race as the only driver able to keep the Mercedes drivers from winning the title. Although he joined them on the podium, and extended his run of consecutive points finishes to 15, he is now out of championship contention.

Rosberg’s 24-point deficit means he can no longer rely on just beating Hamilton to take the title. If he wins the two remaining races, second places in both will assure Hamilton of the championship.

However the controversial double points final round has created an unprecedented situation in this year’s championship. Although the title remains undecided, it cannot be settled in the penultimate round in Brazil this weekend – something which has never happened before.

F1 cars beat the 2013 pace

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2013For the first time this year the pole position time was quicker than it had been the previous year in a case where both sessions ran in dry conditions. Rosberg’s 1’36.067 was 0.271s faster than Vettel’s 2013 pole position time, and just four tenths of a second off the track record set in 2012.

The new cars began the year 3.4 seconds off the 2013 pace. Some, like Jenson Button, suspected they would regain all of that deficit by the end of the year.

Have teams regained the performance they lost with the change in engine and aerodynamic regulations? That’s probably only a small part of the explanation. Improved grip levels at the circuit and a softer tyre allocation supplied by Pirelli – who brought their soft tyres to the Circuit of the Americas for the first time – likely played a greater role.

Maldonado racks up penalties

The stewards were kept busy during the race, notably by Pastor Maldonado, who picked up two during the race taking him to a total of ten for the season. As in 2011 and 2012, he is on course to end the year with the most penalties of any driver. But it wasn’t all bad news for the Lotus driver, as he picked up his first points of the season.

Esteban Gutierrez became the tenth different driver to collect a penalty point. Maldonado has the most with five, as does Marcus Ericsson, who was absent due to Caterham not being able to make the race.

The absence of Caterham and Marussia left F1 with its smallest entry since the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix. On that occasional the usual 20-car grid was depleted because BAR had been banned for two races due to a technical infringement.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

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

2014 United States Grand Prix

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Images © Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Red Bull/Getty

63 comments on “F1 faster than last year for first time this season”

  1. I think the article says it correctly and i agree, the only main reason is the improved grip level and softer tyres, offcourse as we approach the end of season Aero departments in big teams do a good work to much up also.

    1. The tyres are nominally softer compounds, but this year’s compounds are harder in general than last years, so in reality this race was probably more equal to last year on tyres than the others where the same name of compound is used.

    2. Aren’t the tyres a step harder this year? So basically they were the same as last year and only “softer” in labeling?

      1. That’s what I thought @tmekt

      2. @tmekt a little bit harder, not a whole step.

  2. Typo Keith, Rosberg’s 24 points lead.

  3. jelle van der Meer
    3rd November 2014, 13:14

    These are my stats (some are already looking ahead to season end):
    • First race since I can recall that all drivers have scored points previously.
    • Ricardio has overtaken Grossjean as leading point scoring active driver with less than 100 races.
    • First time this season the podium reflects driver championship as per start of the race.
    • Hamilton 10th win puts him now 3rd with # of wins in a season, MSC and Vettel are joined first with 13.
    • Mercedes 14th win puts the team 3rd with # of wins in a season, Ferrari and Mclaren are joined first with 15. With 2 races left it is certainly possible Mercedes will be first with 16 wins in a season.
    • With 2 races left we are still on track for only 2 teams winning this season, Mercedes and Red Bull. Since start of constructer championship that has only happened 4 times, last time was 2007 (Ferrari 9, Mclaren 8). This time it would be the first time Ferrari would not be 1 of those 2 teams.
    • With current Ferrari form it is very likely Ferrari’s 20 season winning streak will end. The streak started in 1994 and counted 118 wins (out of Ferrari total 221), 5 of those 20 seasons had only 1 win. The only other double digit streaks are Mclaren’s 13 season streak from 1981-1993 and Lotus 11 season streak from 1960-1970.

    1. • First race since I can recall that all drivers have scored points previously.

      2009 German Grand Prix

      1. jelle van der Meer
        3rd November 2014, 15:03

        You are correct – missed that one

    2. • First race since I can recall that all drivers have scored points previously.

      I am sorry, I am not sure what this means. Could yo pls explain?

      1. @1abe
        All of the drivers who were in the race this Sunday have had scored points previously in their career.

    3. I’m guessing that those 5 X single Ferrari wins all happened at Monza ?

      1. @hohum, actually none are!
        2011: Alonso, British GP
        2009: Raikkonen, Belgian GP
        2005: Schumacher, US GP
        1995: Alesi, Canadian GP
        1994: Berger, German GP

        Weirdly, they are all achieved at different circuits!

        1. Surprising, thanks.

          1. @hohum, @rbalonso

            No surprise about 2005, winning the US Grand Prix had nothing to do with relative car strengths or home support and everything to do with the absence of any competitors!

          2. @jerseyf1, actually I think Ferrari + Schumacher + Bridgestone, only winning the 1 race that their main rivals didn’t run in is a huge surprise.

  4. Here are the stats I found after the Austin GP:

    – Mercedes have scored 28 podiums so far this year, they need two more podiums to beat the 29 podiums from Ferrari in 2004. Mercedes also scored 608 points so far this year. Red Bull holds the record with 650 in 2011.

    – After Maldonado’s 9th place in Austin, he has scored 49 points in his F1 career. That means that the 25 points from his victory in Spain 2012, still is more than half of his total amount of points scored.

    – 17 drivers have scored points so far this year. That is the least amount since 2000 when only 16 drivers scored points. In 1989 a record of 29 drivers scored points

    – With Lewis Hamilton’s 10th win of the season, this is the 3rd year out of the last 4 seasons that a driver scored 10 or more wins in a year. Prior to that, only Michael Schumacher scored at least 10 wins in a season (2002, 11 wins, 2004, 13 wins)

    – Before this season, Kimi Raikkonen finished only 5 races outside of the top 10 in his whole career. In this season alone he has finished 5 races outside of the top 10

    1. The second stat is incredible. Is there anything remotely similar in the history of F1?

      1. There are a few

        Peter Gethin won the 1971 Italian GP (the closest finish ever) for which he got 9 points and only scored another 2 points in his career

        Ludivico Scarfiotti won the 1966 Italian GP (9 points) and only scored a total of 17 points in his career

        And finally Giancarlo Baghetti, he won his first ever GP and after that he only scored 5 points

        1. @jlracing All at Monza, something in common there… Gethin’s being in the BRM that was brilliantly suited for high-speed racing/slipstreaming, the other two in powerful Ferraris. 1966 Monza would surely have gone to John Surtees too if he stayed at Ferrari.

    2. Stat no. 3 is interesting as 10 drivers get points these days.
      in 2000 only the first six got points for finishing the race.

  5. UnitedKingdomRacing
    3rd November 2014, 13:45

    Due to the end of DST this might be the latest starting time of a GP for the European viewers ever, by beeing 9 pm for central europe and the latest finishing time since the famous 6 hours of Montreal back in 2011 which also ended after 10 pm for central europe (But of course in summer time) if I remember correctly.

    1. I’m guessing the Caesars Palace GP or the Long Beach GP might have had a later start time, but couldn’t find any info on this. Then again, the television audience was a bit smaller in the early 1980s compared to today.

  6. Prior to this season Lewis Hamilton had never achieved more than five wins in a season. He has ten already.

    Just two British drivers on the grid for the first time since the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    First time Kevin Magnussen outraced Jenson Button since Austria.

    The very first time a driver driving car number 13 has scored points in Formula One. Maldonado also scored two different types of points in the same race (penalty points and championship points).

    Nico Hulkenberg’s first retirement due to a technical problem this season. If Sergio Perez’ DNS at Malaysia isn’t counted, it’s Force India’s first retirement due to a technical problem since the Italian Grand Prix last year. (Last DNF was Hungary 2013).

    Remarkably, we have had a Hamilton-Rosberg-Ricciardo podium as frequently as we have had a Hamilton-Rosberg-Vettel podium this season (twice).

    A 1-2 at Brazil will see Mercedes beat Red Bull’s record for the most points scored in a season with a round to spare.

  7. WRT the pole time, aren’t the 2014 tyres “one step down” on 2013 rubber in terms of hardness – soft being last year’s medium – so in fact the compounds are roughly equivalent?

  8. I’m just wondering if there has ever been a season when neither Mclaren or Ferrari win a race?

    1. That last happened in 1980.

    2. the others seasons without Mclaren or Ferrari wins was 1957, 1962, 1965, 1967.

  9. please enlighten me…Mercedes’ 27th victory….how? Does this include the 50’s? because that would mean that there was no constructor’s championship but they still counted them..Which is confusing my tiny little brain….

    1. Where’s the confusion?

    2. Yes, any statistic involving Mercedes includes their earlier successes. It’s also why their Constructors win in Sochi was even bigger news – they’d pulled out of Motorsport by the time the Constructors Championship had been inaugurated.

    3. There was no constructors’ championship during the mid 50s but this stat still counts constructors’ wins

  10. It feels right to me that Hamilton has caught up with Alonso on the number of wins.

    Though I do feel sorry for Fernando – surely his talent and intensity deserve more and it’s not clear where they’re going to come from now, unless Honda and Prodromou can work a miracle.

    1. I feel sad for Alonso, but then the history of this sport is littered by champions who stumbled over the line, and drivers who should’ve taken more titles. Look at all the heartbreak losses by Prost prior to 1984. Then there’s Piquet who lost in 1986, but won in 1987 with fewer wins.

      Bit of a lesson for Hamilton. He will end up with the most wins this year but that’s not guaranteeing him the WDC.

      1. “Bit of a lesson for Hamilton. He will end up with the most wins this year but that’s not guaranteeing him the WDC.” What does that mean? Bit of a lesson — how?

  11. Since the Brazilian GP 1993 a car number scored points for the first time.
    with the first points of car # 13, car number 37 is the lowest without scored points

    Ricciardo is the first driver to overtake the mark of 1,000 laps raced this year

    Alonso’s 6th place was the 100th for Ferrari

    First time since the 1986 Australian GP, car # 9 fails to participate in a round of the world championship.

    Riccardo is now out of championship contention, that means Vettel remains the active world champion with less race starts
    and the last 32 rookies he was the only one who became world champion

    first time since 1996 that the drivers’ championship will be decided in the last round between just two drivers from the same team

    1. jelle van der Meer
      3rd November 2014, 15:13

      I guess if you would say last 33 rookies also Hamilton would be counted and you have 2 champions, Vettel only started 6 races later than Hamilton.

      1. this case are two champions (Vettel, Hamilton) in the last 62 rookies.
        Rosberg can become the third

  12. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    3rd November 2014, 15:03

    The three tenth improvement is perhaps slightly skewed by the fact that the RB9 was on mediums not softs, but the harder nature of the 2014 Pirellis perhaps evens that out. Tyres, track conditions and the mistake ridden nature of Vettel’s 2013 lap aside, to within proximity of 2013 laptimes using 35% less fuel, much less downforce, two cylinders less and 40kgs more is quite astounding.

    1. @william-brierty – So much for the naysayers howling that this formula is in no way worthy.

        1. Indeed, every major rule change is supposed to, and usually does initially, slow the cars down.

          1. And I am happy to see the teams quickly find their way back up on the times through development @hohum.

  13. It would be very interesting to chart the improvement in relative 2013-2014 qualifying time throughout the year!

    PS. I wonder if the 2015 cars will beat the 2013 cars around Melbourne? Not long until we get to 2011 levels again.. but not on rails this time!

    1. 2014 was quicker in quali than 2013.
      but race pace shows that 2014 is a few secs a lap slower than 2013

      1. We never seemed to be so fixated on ultimate lap times in the early 2000s when many laps were faster than later years, due to smaller engine capacities and rule restrictions.

    2. @fastiesty I will run the data at the end of the season as usual. However it has been spoiled a bit by the relatively high number of wet qualifying sessions this year,

      1. @keithcollantine Nice.. I wonder if we could even see an improvement in wet qualifying? Although that one would be hard to suss out, probably requiring a ‘wet-o-meter’, and we can’t distinguish by tyre as the wet one is rarely used.

    3. @fastiesty: I made a quick comparison of Q and FLAPs: http://i.imgur.com/5mHw9YW.png
      The data is 2014 relative to 2013 – e.g. 2014 qualifying in Australia was nearly 20% slower while in Canada it was more than 10% faster.

      However as @keithcollantine points out, there have been quite a few wet qualifying sessions this year, and generally Pirelli’s harder compounds of this year are skewing the comparison somewhat as well.
      All in all, they seem to be getting there.

      1. @mattds Interesting.. I would say that without the outliers, it seems like you can almost see two clear ‘improvement’ periods, namely, when the upgrade packages are likely to make an impact, i.e. for Spain, first European race back, and around mid-season, near Germany or from the Summer break, before things start moving towards the next year’s car and anything that improves both simultaneously.

        1. ..with possibly Singapore/Japan/last flyaway as the final upgrades.

    4. Weren’t they allowed to run DRS anywhere they could in 2011? They might reach the pace but might be difficult to do so in qualifying

  14. Michael Brown
    3rd November 2014, 16:29

    This is the first season since 1989 that there have been only 3 different race winners (the least) and two of them are from the Constructors’ Championship’s team.

    1. I think you mean 1988.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        4th November 2014, 2:21

        Yes, my mistake

  15. Are all of Maldonado’s penalties from racing incidents or also include engine and gearbox changes?

  16. Vettel has scored exactly 1600 points.

    The drivers currently in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in the standings have yet to finish races in 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st respectively this year but have each finished in every other top 4 position.

    Under the 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system, Hamilton would be 3 points ahead of Rosberg. Vettel and Alonso would be tied on points in this system as well.

  17. I just remember when i was a child and watching a f1 race i stayed stuck watching tv and really impressed about the cars and the sound of the engine . it was just like f1 was someth special and not for ordinary people you could see from on board camera how difficult was to keep the car on tre track and the driver was forced to use the steering wheel very often to change the direction of the car not as now thatthe only felling you have is everyone could be able to drive those cars . the real f1 in my opinion ended up after the golden age in which schumacher and hakkinen tried their best to win every race . now is just a tv show not a sport anymore

    1. interesting but have you looked at your own car how much easier it is to drive now compared to yesteryear,
      ever thought were most of that technology come from?
      don’t think for one minute you could drive a F1 car at 200mph using 8 gears and breaks which nearly snap your head off your shoulders complete with G Forces which are comparable to a Jet Fighter plus still manage 20plus setting on your steering wheel, and all the while trying to keep the car on the edge to gain the best time…

  18. Talking about statistics: Should no other drivers than Hamilton, Rosberg or Ricciardo win a race in the final 2 rounds, then we will have the fewest amounts of winners since 1988, which funnily enough was the last season featuring turbo cars!

  19. Some from magnetimarelli.com:

    First team to manage 6 consecutive front-row lockouts since Williams managed 8 in 1993.

    6th time Mercedes engines have locked out the front row this year – most in 1 season since Ford Cosworth managed 11 in 1973.

    17th consecutive pole for a Mercedes-engined car – longest since Renault managed 24 in 1992-93.

    First time Vettel was knocked out in Q1 since Brazil 2009. First time in a dry qualifying session since Monaco 2008.

    4th time in the last 5 races that Hulkenberg has started 13th.

    Maldonado’s best starting position since this race 2 years ago.

    Vergne has started all 3 of his US GPs from 14th.

    Second time in the last 3 years that Hamilton has won the US GP by overtaking for the lead on the back straight.

    Hamilton’s 68th podium – equals Barrichello (who would have made a surprise comeback if Caterham hadn’t gone into administration).

    Mercedes drivers have managed 28 podiums between them this year – only 1 shy of Ferrari in 2004 (18 races).

    Vettel has managed fastest lap in all 3 Austin races but only won 1 of them.

    Hulkenberg is the only driver to have scored points for either Force India or Sauber in Austin (he has scored for both teams).

    Toro Rosso’s first US GP points.

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