2008 Japanese GP stats and facts

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Fernando Alonso is the first person to win both at Fuji and Suzuka

Fernando Alonso became the first driver to win the Japanese Grand Prix at two different venues.

Sebastien Bourdais led a race for the first time, and his penalty allowed Mark Webber to reach his points century. Here’s the statistics round-up from the Japanese Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso scored the 21st win of his career. That puts him on his own in 11th on the all-time most wins list, with one fewer than Damon Hill. Alonso has also participated in 121 Grands Prix to date, which is also one fewer than Hil.

It was his second win in the Japanese Grand Prix. The only driver to win the Japanese Grand Prix more than twice is Michael Schumacher, with six wins. But Alonso is the first driver to win it at different circuits: Suzuka and Fuji. Schumacher was leading the race at Suzuka that Alonso won in 2006, until his Ferrari engine failed, which all-but handed the title to Alonso.

Felipe Massa set the tenth fastest lap of his career, his second this year.

Massa has only finished on the podium this year at tracks where he also finished on the podium last year: Bahrain, Circuit de Catalunya, Istanbul, Monte-Carlo, Magny-Cours and Spa. The other circuits where he finished on the podium this year (Hockenheimring and Valencia) weren’t on the calendar last year. He also finished on the podium at Indianapolis and Nurburgring last year (not on the calendar this year) and Shanghai and Interlagos (still to come).

Lewis Hamilton scored his 12th career pole position, giving him as many as David Coulthard and Gerhard Berger. For the second year in a row, he will go into the Chinese Grand Prix able to win the title.

This year Hamilton has set pole position at each of the venues where he won last year – Montreal, Hungaroring and Fuji – but failed to win the races. He also set pole position at Indianapolis, which is off the calendar this year.

Mark Webber’s promotion to eighth meant he scored the 100th point of his F1 career.

Sebastien Bourdais led a Grand Prix for the first time.

Kimi Raikkonen scored the 30th front row start of his career. He failed to set his 11th fastest lap this season and make a new record, but he still has two races left to do it. More importantly, he ended his four-race point-less streak.

But whatever happens now, Raikkonen cannot retain his championship crown, and a first-time champion will be crowned this year.

Finally, someone on the live blog asked when was the last time neither McLaren scored during a Grand Prix. It actually wasn’t that long ago – this year’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Most consistent finishers in 2008

2008 F1 driver participations and finishes (click to enalrge)

Nick Heidfeld maintained his 100% finishing rate in 2008, while Lewis Hamilton posted his only DNF so far in Canada. Out of the drivers who’ve started every race Adrian Sutil has the worst finishing record – he had his fifth mechanical DNF of the year at Fuji.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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11 comments on “2008 Japanese GP stats and facts”

  1. look at Nelson’s finish rate – with a car that’s far more reliable than the force india.

  2. Lewis I think has finished on podium only 7 times this year; and Massa 8 times; Kubika 7 times.

    Is this year’s championship winner also setting the record for the “least number of podium finishes” or “least number of points earned” ? ?( since the new 10-8-6 system)

  3. Sumedh: Probably. And it speaks loud and clear that this is not the best championship of the last decade, from a master driving point of view. And talking about suspense, it would be tremendous to have a better ending that last year final races.

  4. If you think that the rate of finishes on the podium of the top runners is not great this year you should take a look at the statistics of the 80’s (not to mention the decades before that). Not that I think it is a bad thing – after the boredom of the 2000-2004 years (you could perhaps throw 2005 in there too), these last three years have been a breath of fresh air. And the driver’s mistakes and the relative lack of reliability of some of the top teams add to the entertainment in my opinion. I only hope that Mclaren get its fair share of mechanical grenmlins till the end of the season…. but I understand that a lot of people will not share my hopes.

  5. I was never fan of Schumacher era which coincided with strategy over racing approach to win races and score points. But looking at number of errors the championship contenders are committing this year, I have started to appreciate “Mechanical – No Silly Mistakes, Just Metronomic Lap times supported by accurate pit stops” approach in Schumacher-Todt-Brawn Era.
    Alonso’s win Yesterday was a page from Schumacher Master Class… While The competitors where busy in crash fest FA and RK put down their head and drove perfect race. With all the distractions of incidents , RK-vs-KR duel was not properly appreciated by the Fans

  6. Sumedh, Schumacher won on 2003 with 93 points and only 8 podiums (6 wins and 2 thirds), but that was the last season with only 16 races. Still there’s a good shot that this will be the first time with the new point system and more than 16 races that WDC didn’t make 100 points. Actually everyone is praising Massa for his best season but even if he win both final races he will only make 5 more more points than his distant 4th from last season.

    Antifia, it’s not fair to compare the amount of podium finishes pre mid-90’s to the current era given that current cars almost never have mechanical DNFs.

  7. Keith, you do a fantastic job on this blog. It’s become my favorite site to preview and review GPs. Thanks for all your hard work, along with everyone that contributes comments and news.


  8. I have seen the standings of season in which Keke Rosberg won..
    He won with only 42 points it seems ! ! Thats a record that will never be broken it seems

  9. This is the first time in a lot of time (2006) that a team other than Ferrari and McLaren wins two races (and also in a row). By the way: when was the last time a non-championship contender team (defined this year as not-Ferrari, not-McLaren, maybe not-BMW) wins more than one race in the year?

  10. Terry Fabulous
    13th October 2008, 22:45

    @ Sumedh

    1982 was a crazy year mate. If you get a chance, read up on it… or watch it! https://www.racefans.net/2005/01/01/the-official-end-of-season-review-1982/

  11. Here’s an interesting one… when was the last time 3 races were won in a row by constructors outside the top 3 at the time/from that season?

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