Relationship between pole position and fastest lap

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    I’ve found the stats of the top drivers very fascinating when it comes to looking at their pole positions and fastest laps. I would expect the car that was on pole usually to also score the fastest lap (not necessarily in that grand prix) and generally to be some symmetry between the 2. Same with wins. And indeed there is such a symmetry for most drivers.

    For instance, it would be surprising to see a driver with 50 pole positions and 0 fastest laps.

    Here are the stats for the drivers:

    Driver, Fastest Laps, Poles, Ratio of Fastest Laps to Poles
    Senna 19 65 29%
    Hamilton 13 31 42%
    Vettel 21 43 49%
    Fangio 23 29 79%
    Clark 28 33 85%
    Ascari 12 14 86%
    Stewart 15 17 88%
    JBrabham12 13 92%
    Mansell 30 32 94%
    Damon Hill 19 20 95%
    Alonso 21 22 95%
    Piquet 23 24 96%
    Hakkinen 25 26 96%
    Lauda 24 24 100%
    Shumi 77 68 113%
    Prost 41 33 124%
    Mark Webber 18 13 138%
    Raikkonen 39 16 244%

    As you can see the norm is about the same number between poles and fastest laps (a 1 to 0.9 ratio).

    The outliers are Senna, Hamilton and oddly Vettel. Raikonnen is the only outlier on the other side of the spectrum.

    Raikonnen has the fastest lap more often than he puts the car on pole but his weakness in qualifying has been talked about a lot.

    Senna and Hamilton both can take pole but can’t get the fastest lap. Senna’s and Hamilton’s ratios are probably identical if we factor today’s differences in qualifying and the poles Hamilton has lost which is quite a few.

    Then there’s Vettel, a fantastic qualifier in what is easily the fastest car of the last 5 years between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.

    What sets these drivers apart from the rest in that regard?



    There are a number of problems with both the relationship and the analysis.

    As for the problem with the relationship:
    Any fastest lap in either a non-fueling era, or a ‘parc ferme’ era, comes down not to car speed but to circumstance. In a non-fueling era, the car with the best chance of the fastest lap is any fast car that stopped later than others, thus has the freshest tires on a low fuel load. In a ‘parc ferme’ era, because the car set-up can not be optimized for both qualifying and race, there is a big difference between the two. Cars fast in qualifying are not perse fast in the race.

    As for the problem with the analysis:
    You’re simply taking the absolute numbers, from which one would read ‘in races where Senna was fastest in qualifying, he was often not fastest in the race” or “in races where Raïkkönen was fastest in the race, he was often not fastest in qualifying”.

    Take Mark Webber for instance. Of his 18 fastest laps, only 3 were set in a race in which he qualified on pole position. So 10 races in which he qualified on pole position, he did not set the fastest lap. To draw any conclusions, you would have to look on a race-by-race level and research “how did the driver who got pole in this race, do in terms of the fastest lap in this race”.

    Kuddo’s for trying, but between 1983 and 1994, and from 2009 until now, there really is not much of a relationship you can explore between the two.



    Fun. Any number crunchers up to tallying the actual relationship of pole times to fastest lap times? And as a related trivia question – when has pole time been beaten in-race?



    On your last question o would expect this to be quite often as it would happen whenever qualiwas wet and the race dryt

    However would be interesting to see any where race and quali were both in same weather conditions and the fastest race lap was faster than pole position



    @mnmracer – there definitely seems to be a relationship for these drivers as you can see. Most of these guys were WDCs which means they were usually the fastest drivers (or one of the fastest) and it stands to logic that they had the fastest and more reliable car to become the WDCs.

    In general the relationship seems to be that for every pole, a driver would score 0.9 fastest laps.

    There also seems to be a temporal relationship – the percentages are lower for Fangio, Ascari and Stewar and progressively increase until we hit the modern era. In fact, they are almost in chronological order.

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