2009 Australian Grand Prix facts and stats

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Jenson Button and Brawn GP made history at Melbourne

A new F1 team wins on its debut, an all-Mercedes podium, and rotten luck for a driver on his 200th start.

Here’s a round-up of the stats and facts from the Australian Grand Prix.

Brawn GP became the first team to win their first race in 32 years. Jody Scheckter gave Wolf a maiden win in the 1977 Argentine Grand Prix at Buenos Aires.

Jenson Button scored his second career win, following his maiden victory at the Hungaroring in 2006. He also set his fourth the position, the last being at the same circuit three years earlier.

Button led every lap of the race. The only other driver to have done this at Melbourne was Michael Schumacher in 2004.

Button scored the first victory for a Mercedes-engined car that wasn’t a McLaren since Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1955 Italian Grand Prix, driving for the works Mercedes team.

Mercedes-powered cars filled the podium for the first time since the 1955 British Grand Prix, when the entire top four were Mercedes cars. Stirling Moss won at Aintree from Fangio, with Karl Kling third and Piero Taruffi fourth.

Thanks to Jarno Trulli’s penalty, Lewis Hamilton continued his run of podiums at Melbourne, finishing third as he did in his first F1 race at the track two years ago. This year he started from 18th, his lowest ever qualifying position, his previous worst being 15th at Monza last year.

This was Hamilton’s 23rd podium finish in 36 starts, giving him a strike rate of 63.9%. That is the fifth best of all time, and three of the drivers ahead of him have just nine starts between them. The closest drivers that bear comparison are Fangio (35 from 51, 68.6%) and Michael Schumacher (154 from 249, 61.8%). But will Hamilton’s hit rate still look as good after a year in the uncompetitive MP4-24?

Trulli’s 200th Grand Prix start was not a happy one, as he picked up another penalty in qualifying, relegating him to the back of the grid. It was his 203rd appearance at a race, but has non-started three times (San Marino 1997, Malaysia 1999 and United States 2005).

Sebastien Buemi became the 69th driver to score on his debut, finishing seventh. He is the seventh ex-GP2 driver to score a point in F1. More here: Sebastien Buemi scores on debut

The race finished behind the safety car for the first time since the 1999 Canadian Grand Prix.

Nico Rosberg set the second fastest lap of his career – his first was in his maiden race at Bahrain in 2006.

Spotted any more interesting stats from the Australian Grand Prix? Post them in the comments…

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Keith Collantine
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65 comments on “2009 Australian Grand Prix facts and stats”

  1. Sush Meerkat
    30th March 2009, 9:00

    He also set his fourth the position,

    he set his fourth pole position

    It was Sebastian Vettel second time he’s taken out the second place runner, and both times its been a “colleague” he’s done it too.

    1. How is Kubica a colleague?

    2. sayonaraman
      31st March 2009, 6:41

      Vettel was a third/test driver for BMW Sauber in 2007. He took over from Kubica in GP USA after Pole’s crash in Montreal and thanks to the 8th place has become the youngest driver to score points in F1. Guess you might say they’re colleagues.

  2. The saftey car was bought in, so the instant each car passed the line simultaniously the driver was under green flag conditions and the race was finished. So strictly speaking they didn’t finish under the saftey car.

    Did you notice that both Brundle and Legard got a bit over excited and didn’t realise that the green flag conditions didn’t apply til after they passed the line?

    1. The race did finish under safety car conditions. The green flag didn’t apply until after the start/finish line was crossed, which, on lap 58 in Melbourne signals the end of the race. Strictly speaking, the green flag never eventuated.

    2. Didn’t know that word: ‘eventuated’

    3. eventuated = came to pass / happened / took place

    4. Didn’t = contraction of did not / lack of prior experience or knowledge / implied since resolved

    5. lol! Awesome.

  3. We’re not sure the MP4-24 will be uncompetitive for the whole year. James Allen has said he expects McLaren to pick up a full second over the next few races.

  4. What is James Allen basing his prediction on? Seems to me, no one, including McLaren, know how much progress will be made in the coming weeks. Not to mention that other teams will be bringing improvements too.

  5. Scott Joslin
    30th March 2009, 9:47

    I am not sure I fully go with the hype about Brawn GP being a new team. they are in name, but not in personnel and car & drivers.

    Technically they are just Honda renamed. When / If Virgin buys the team and renames it Virgin for example. If they win the next race will that be classified as a new team? probably not, so I cannot really see much difference.

    If Brawn had started from scratch then I would buy in to this first new team to win since Wolf. but in reality Honda developed the car throughout 2008 and the team retained all the key personnel throughout the winter.

    But don’t get me wrong it is still an amazing story for Brawn, but not a new team in the purest sense of the word.

    1. But in that spirit you could say more than half the grid are just rebadged old teams. I’d say Brawn qualify as new more than some of the others did.
      The entire drivetrain and engine package is brand new. Honda’s influence was clearly thrown out with the baby when Ross Brawn came in and saw what poor package they had built.
      So the car is a Brawn creation with power and drive coming from a non-Honda source.
      Sounds new enough to me.

    2. Scott Joslin
      30th March 2009, 14:14

      But if Honda had not had changed name, would we be calling it a new team despite those elements you described? Don’t forget Honda are still paying most of that teams wages.

      In which case pSynrg you could argue Force India are a new team, they have a new drive train, new technical engineer and team personnel – just the name is the has not changed.

      I don’t want to be a killjoy surrounding all this positive Brawn hype but, if the USGPE team arrive at Melbourne next year and win out of the box then that would account as a new team for me as they started from scratch.

  6. keepF1technical
    30th March 2009, 10:01

    “James Allen has said he expects McLaren to pick up a full second over the next few races.”

    just remember whose engine the brawn diffuser is bolted to. some teams (red bull) dont even have the option of the ‘new’ diffuser type because of their car design.

    hows this for a technology exchange… brawn diffuser for a maclaren gearbox / kers… then we might see james allens comment of a full second come true.

    1. A small OT:
      Which teams don’t have a chance to add the diffuser to their cars and why exactly can’t they do that? Thanks.

  7. All in all, this was probably the best result to diffuse the diffuser debate. It would have been very different if the three teams in question had dominated.

  8. The rece did not finish under the safety car. The safety car came in on the last lap. I don’t know if the green flag was waved before the race, but the safety car did not cross the finish line. Maybe the race finished under yellow flag.

    1. It’s still safety car conditions until they ‘cross the line’ and when they cross the line, it is the end of the race… (they never start lap 59). So yes, it did finish under the safety car.

      I love this trivial debating!

  9. Who had the fastest race lap?

    1. Nico Rosberg :O

  10. He also set his fourth the position

  11. Brawn GP was also the first team since Mercedes in 1955 French Grand Prix to score a 1.2 in his maiden race…

    i think…

  12. Fernando Alonso has scored points in Australia every year since returning to a race driver role in 2003….whereas it is only the second time in Kimi Raikkonen’s career (beginning in 2001) that he hasn’t scored points in Oz, the other being 2004 (engine failure).

    F1.com doesn’t have qualifying and practice results for 2007 and 2008 for some strange reason, but I think (and my memory would certainly not be called elephantine) that this was the third Australian GP in a row that Nico Rosberg started from 5th on the grid.

    Have a look at the official Constructor’s standings (don’t if you’re a Ferrari fan). Makes for an interesting read….and possibly a strange statistic in itself. When was the last time Ferrari were last?

  13. If Mclaren pick up the pace over the next couple races, how much of it would have Lewis contributed to?

    1. You simply need to multiply the factor of increase in performance with the ratio of love/hate for Lewis Hamilton to get the result.

  14. 2 years in a row Car 22 has won the first race of the season.

    1. You’d never have seen that happening 15 years ago, no matter how much I was rooting for Forti Ford

  15. The last time Ferrari didn’t score a single point in the season opener was 1992. In fact the last four time that Ferrari didn’t score a point in season opener, Ferrari also had a double retirement.

  16. I think the advantage of Brawn, if they will not be signed as irregular, is not to be neglected in the next months…remebmber that this year you cannot test during the season, and improvements will be slower.
    For the same reason I don’t expect that great recover from McLaren, even if they’re a team of great potential and Lewis is fantastic (see yesterday race).
    Ferrari car is not that bad, don’t forget they were still on the race for the podium close to the end of the race, with hard tyres on! But strategy decisions and Raikkonen shape doesn’t seem to me good enough to pursue the victory now.
    I think Button, Vettel and Kubica are favourite at Malaysia, also.

  17. Kubica has never finished Australian GP. It was a 3rd consecutive DNF.

    1. Yes, Gearbox in 2007, Nakajima in 2008, Vettel in 2009 :)

      Someone said somewhere that Massa did the same in Australia but im too lazy to check this out.

    2. kubica was classified, so he has finished the 2009 Australian GP.


      nick heidfeld continued his run of most consecutive race finishes – 29th.

    3. oooh i’m glad Heidfeld kept that run going, even if the finish wasnt a good one – is an impressive record – not just for him but BMW also!

    4. Oh you know what I meant Dennis:) He’s never driven through the finish line…

    5. I don’t think I saw a single camera shot of Heidfeld for the entire Sunday.

  18. “If Mclaren pick up the pace over the next couple races, how much of it would have Lewis contributed to?”

    F*** all mate!!!

    1. ‘If Mclaren pick up the pace over the next couple races, how much of it would have Lewis contributed to?’

      ‘You simply need to multiply the factor of increase in performance with the ratio of love/hate for Lewis Hamilton to get the result.’

      haha, you did help to prove that one right, if nothing else. Also, although luck helped he still had a good drive, overtaking a lot of people in a relatively uncompetitive car.

  19. Sorry for the language (above) but he aint that flash without the good car of last year. things do seem to fall in the right place for him though lucky p3 yesterday!!. They were saying in Melbourne there’s a good chance Red Bull could be running a new diffuser set up in malaysia.
    Would not be surprised if a few teams have it and the protest is certainly going to be thrown out.

    1. He was so lucky to finsh the race 15 places ahead of where he started wasn’t he? No overtaking moves in there at all. Are you sure he wasn’t just consistent?

      To what you say i have to say a big b*ll*cks! There is no luck in it at all. He overtook people and kept his nose clean. Other peoples mistakes are not Lewis’s luck, he drove better than them and thats why he finished above them. Are the two cars that got promoted into 7th and 8th places due to Kubicas and Vettels accident lucky as well? The way to score points is to finish the race as far up the field as possible, and all these cars did this! Subsequent penalties are a bonus to the people who finished the race and did things right.

      I really get wound up by unbalanced opinions!

    2. the same could be said for massa, its not like he was shy of ‘luck’ last year.
      but of course that rational means nothing, seeing as hamilton garners such dislike. it’s a pity, because he is in fact a very good race driver, like it or not.

    3. I think it was a combination of the two – i think he drove well, but there was an element of ‘luck’ involved – that Mclaren clearly isnt the next best car after the Brawn. Keeping your nose clean is clearly important, but at the same time, that third place didnt come about purely because of overtaking – sure it contributed, but it didnt make up all fifteen of those positions. No, other peoples mistakes arent Lewis’s luck, but they are a helping hand.

      And yes, I do deem the cars to be in that 7th and 8th place after the Vettel/Kubica incident lucky to some extent, as I do Bourdais for being promoted into the points after Trulli’s penalty – those are points that would not have been scored but for the very late on misfortune of others. Yes they were in the right place to pick up the points once the others went out – but are you telling me Bourdais was the eighth best driver out there?

    4. Haha…the things..nobody cares if Bourdais finished 8th, let alone know how to spell his name.

      Nobody’s taking anything away from Lewis, points don’t lie. Alonso finished 5th, he clearly didn’t deserve it, but he got it. You gotta take what you can get. I mean if somebody offered you 50 quid, for waking down the street, would you take it?

    5. He obviously must have had a better race than his qualifying performance. I must agree with you though, there are much more deserving drivers than bourdais and they really should give somebody else a chance!

  20. As much as I liked the duo Brawn win yesterday I still rate Scheckter Wolf’s win at 1977 a greater event.

    It was a team from scratch! They had Peter Warr and Harvey Postlewaite – both already with success in Lotus and Tyrrell but a really new team.

    And it was also the incredible surprise news – Jody qualify 15th on the grid – as Brawn was expected to do a good job already 3 weeks ago.

    1. I agree to some extent. But is it fair to say it would have been easier to build a (winning) F1 car in 1977 than it is these days. Or is it relatively still the same?

  21. When BBC lost the tv rights at the end of 1996, Damon Hill (GBR) became world champion. In the last race of the season, Martin Brundle (a brit), beat Heinz Harald Frentzen (a german) to 5th place. The following year, the first race of the season was won by a brit.

    When ITV lost the tv rights at the end of 2008, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) became world champion. In the last race of the season, Lewis Hamilton (a brit), beat Timo Glock (a german) to 5th place. The following year, the first race of the season was won by a brit.

    I have way to much time on my hands. lol

    1. Now that’s some facts and stats!

  22. Like I said before, Barrichello scored a podium finish with the fifth different team: Jordan (1994 Pacific Grand Prix, 1995 Canadian Grand Prix), Stewart (1997 Monaco Grand Prix, 1999 French Grand Prix, 1999 European Grand Prix), Ferrari (dozens of times), Honda (2008 British Grand Prix) and Brawn (2009 Australian Grand Prix).

    The only other driver, that I recall, to do the same was Riccardo Patrese: Arrows, Brabham, Alfa Romeo, Williams and Benneton.

    Barrichelo was, for the second time, part of a 1-2 finish, behind an english team-mate, that marked a team’s maiden win: 1999 European Grand Prix, Johnny Herbert with a Stewart, 2009 Australian Grand Prix, Jenson Button with a Brawn.

    About Brawn’s new team status, I think the main difference comes from the Mercedes engine, that, after all, had to be placed in the car after the project was done, and, in a lucky strike, worked perfectly with their chassis, perhaps much better than the Honda engine would do…

    1. Barrichello was not 2nd in the 1999 European Grand Prix – Jarno Trulli was. Barrichello finished 3rd.

  23. Doesn’t anyone find it interesting that they only deployed the saftey car after button had completed his pit stop ??????

    1. Yeah that was bizarre. Button didn’t even need to hurry to the pits. They simply waited for him to come in in his own due time.

    2. I heard the driver was having a ‘comfort brake.’

    3. Yes, I found it interesting, and then I thought they did the right thing by not ruining the leader’s race as they did so many times last year.

  24. Point 2 vettle knocked back 10 place in malayisa for taking out Kubisa but Barrichello takes out 3 people and nothing ????

    1. Apparently he was hit behind by Heikki at the start

  25. When was the last race we had two Brits on the podium? Any ideas. It must be something like Ervine and Hill/ Herbet or something in the 90s?

    1. The last one I remember is at Silverstone in 99. David Coulthard and Eddie Irvine were on the podium in first and second while Ralf was third. Damon Hill turned in fifth, Johnny Herbert was also in the race, can’t remember his position

      I can’t remember any others.

  26. Button is the fifth British driver to win in Australia since the Grand Prix moved to Melbourne in 1996 after Hill, Couthard (twice), Irvine and Hamilton.

  27. The 2009 Australian GP was a Mercedes 1-2-3-4!!!!

    Mercedes SL 65 AMG Safety Car
    Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes
    Rubens Barrichelo Brawn-Mercedes
    Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes

    1. More like 0-1-2-3, but good point.

  28. What I was thinking….
    Could it be that Jenson’s period between his first en second victory could be a record? :)

  29. In fact, Tom, he was 3rd, and it takes part of the idea away, but he was still part of a double podium finish that marked a team’s maiden win…

  30. When was the last time that a single engine manufacturer powered everyone on the podium?

    1. I’m gonna take a guess at the 1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix:

      1 – Villeneuve – Williams Renault
      2 – Alesi – Benetton Renault
      3 – Frentzen – Williams Renault

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