2010 in stats part two: Vettel and other champions

2010 F1 season review

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Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, 2010
Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, 2010

Was Sebastian Vettel’s victory win on a par with the 60 previous championship wins? The new points system makes it hard to tell.

The second part of F1 Fanatic’s look at 2010 in statistics compares Vettel’s victory with those of Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna and other champions.

You can also review the 2010 data in detail with the new-look interactive charts.

Drivers’ championship points

By any measure this was a remarkable season in the drivers’ championship, with four drivers still in the hunt at the final race.

The chart below shows how the race for the drivers’ title unfolded:


BahrainAustraliaMalaysiaChinaSpainMonacoTurkeyCanadaEuropeBritainGermanyHungaryBelgiumItalySingaporeJapanKoreaBrazilAbu Dhabi
Sebastian Vettel1212374560787890115121136151151163181206206231256
Fernando Alonso25373749677579949898123141141166191206231246252
Mark Webber462428537893103103128136161179187202220220238242
Lewis Hamilton15233149495984109127145157157182182182192210222240
Jenson Button6313560707088106121133143147147165177189189199214
Felipe Massa183339414961676767678597109124128128143143144
Nico Rosberg102035505056667475909494102112122122122130142
Robert Kubica01830404459677383838989104108114114124126136
Michael Schumacher89910222234343436383844464654667272
Rubens Barrichello155577771929293030313941474747
Adrian Sutil001010162022233135353545454747474747
Kamui Kobayashi00000011715151721212127313232
Vitaly Petrov000666666671719191919191927
Nico Hulkenberg001111111221010161717182222
Vitantonio Liuzzi288881010121212121213131313212121
Sebastien Buemi0000011577777778888
Pedro de la Rosa0000000000066666666
Nick Heidfeld0000000000000004666
Jaime Alguersuari0022333333333333335

The close championship was not necessarily a product of the new points system. Had last year’s points system been used the same four drivers would have gone into the final round like this:

1. Fernando Alonso – 99
2. Mark Webber – 96
3. Sebastian Vettel – 94
4. Lewis Hamilton – 92

And the final score would have been:

1. Sebastian Vettel – 104
2. Fernando Alonso – 101
3. Lewis Hamilton – 100
4. Mark Webber – 97

The most significant difference would have been Lewis Hamilton finishing third instead of Mark Webber.

The latest change of points system makes it harder to compare this season with others.

For example, Vettel scored more points than any other driver ever – but with a win worth 2.5 times what it was last year, that was almost inevitably going to happen.

Had the current points system been used in every world championship since 1950, 14 previous champions would have out-scored Vettel:

2002Michael Schumacher380
2004Michael Schumacher367
2001Michael Schumacher327
2005Fernando Alonso322
2006Fernando Alonso321
2000Michael Schumacher286
1992Nigel Mansell279
1988Ayrton Senna275
1991Ayrton Senna274.5
2007Kimi Raikkonen272
1993Alain Prost271
1998Mika Hakkinen271
1995Michael Schumacher268
1996Damon Hill258
2010Sebastian Vettel256

*under 2010 system

This does not include any drivers who might have out-scored him without winning the championship.

Of course there were many more races this year than there were in previous seasons. So to get the full picture we need to take into account how many points each driver scored per race.

Here is that data, also adjusted to use the 2010 points system:

F1 champions' points per race under 2010 points system
F1 champions' points per race under 2010 points system

(Half points races have been taken into account. Points for pole position and fastest lap have not. Where drivers scored points for ‘shared drives’ they have been given the full points score. See here for more information)

Clearly, Vettel scored fewer points per race than average compared to most other champions.

But don’t jump to the conclusion that this automatically makes him a ‘lesser’ champion. After all, he faced far stronger opposition than some other champions did, particularly those at the top end of the chart.

Drivers’ championship position


BahrainAustraliaMalaysiaChinaSpainMonacoTurkeyCanadaEuropeBritainGermanyHungaryBelgiumItalySingaporeJapanKoreaBrazilAbu Dhabi
Sebastian Vettel4725315534333542431
Fernando Alonso1123234455555322112
Mark Webber81088411343312111223
Lewis Hamilton3463663111121234344
Jenson Button7341142222244455555
Felipe Massa2216656888866666666
Nico Rosberg5542588676678777877
Robert Kubica11677866767787888788
Michael Schumacher6810999999999109109999
Rubens Barrichello10111213121212121111111111111111101010
Adrian Sutil1112991010101010101010910910101010
Kamui Kobayashi11121516161715161312121212121212121212
Vitaly Petrov11121512131313131515141213131313141513
Nico Hulkenberg11121415151515161717171515141414151314
Vitantonio Liuzzi991111111111111213131414151515131415
Sebastien Buemi11121516161515141314141616161616161616
Pedro de la Rosa11121516161718181818181717171717171717
Nick Heidfeld11121516161718181818181919191918171717
Jaime Alguersuari11121314141414151616161818181819191919

NB. Rank of points scored, does not include ‘count back’ results in the event of a tie.

Drivers’ grid positions


BahrainAustraliaMalaysiaChinaSpainMonacoTurkeyCanadaEuropeBritainGermanyHungaryBelgiumItalySingaporeJapanKoreaBrazilAbu Dhabi
Jenson Button84175584471451152457114
Lewis Hamilton411206352134652538442
Michael Schumacher778967513151011142112910988
Nico Rosberg56248661012596147765139
Sebastian Vettel1131233211114621121
Mark Webber6212111722421452235
Felipe Massa2521794865734632412696
Fernando Alonso33193424123432310114353
Rubens Barrichello118711179151198812710671067
Nico Hulkenberg13155161311171281310109817911115
Robert Kubica99687278667839838711
Vitaly Petrov171811141914914101513723201213201010
Adrian Sutil10104101112119131119138111515142213
Vitantonio Liuzzi1213101816101851420211612191617171616
Sebastien Buemi15121313141314151116161516141318162018
Jaime Alguersuari18171412151716161717151711151116151417
Jarno Trulli20201820181919201921172015172119181819
Heikki Kovalainen21191521201820192018181913181920211920
Karun Chandhok24242224242324242323
Bruno Senna232323232122222224202218222323242423
Pedro de la Rosa14141217121513171691492416
Kamui Kobayashi1616915101610181812122317131014121212
Timo Glock19211619222021212219231820241822191721
Lucas di Grassi22222422232123232122242122212021222122
Christian Klien222324
Sakon Yamamoto24222419232423
Nick Heidfeld1411131514

The new interactive charts above and below have been designed by Kareem Shaya (who wrote this excellent guest article last year) and I hope you agree they look very good.

You can select which drivers to view so you can quickly compare team mates and closely-matched rivals. You can also select all or none of the drivers with a single click.

You can compare all the race, starting grid and championship data for all the teams and drivers in the charts above and below.

Drivers’ race results


BahrainAustraliaMalaysiaChinaSpainMonacoTurkeyCanadaEuropeBritainGermanyHungaryBelgiumItalySingaporeJapanKoreaBrazilAbu Dhabi
Jenson Button718152234582441253
Lewis Hamilton36621451122415242
Michael Schumacher610104124111599117913647
Nico Rosberg55331375610386551764
Sebastian Vettel41632417331542111
Mark Webber89281135161263228
Felipe Massa23796471511152443831510
Fernando Alonso14134268381412113137
Rubens Barrichello108121291414451210106971412
Nico Hulkenberg141015161713101361471010816
Robert Kubica11245836757387595
Vitaly Petrov711131517141310591311166
Adrian Sutil1251178910681751591213
Vitantonio Liuzzi971591391611161310126
Sebastien Buemi16111016891212121114101315
Jaime Alguersuari13119131011121213151316121111119
Jarno Trulli1717171521161519131921
Heikki Kovalainen15131416171416181612131817
Karun Chandhok1415171420181819
Bruno Senna161620191715142119
Pedro de la Rosa1211121471114
Kamui Kobayashi1210761198781014
Timo Glock18181918181618171420
Lucas di Grassi14191919171817201518
Sakon Yamamoto201920191615
Christian Klien2220
Nick Heidfeld891711

Constructors’ championship points


BahrainAustraliaMalaysiaChinaSpainMonacoTurkeyCanadaEuropeBritainGermanyHungaryBelgiumItalySingaporeJapanKoreaBrazilAbu Dhabi
Red Bull16186173113156171193218249272312330350383426426469498
Force India281818243032354347474758586060686868
Toro Rosso002234481010101010101011111113

Spotted anything interesting in the 2010 data? Which drivers make for interesting comparisons? Share your findings in the comments.

2010 F1 season review

Browse all 2010 F1 season review articles

Author information

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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45 comments on “2010 in stats part two: Vettel and other champions”

  1. So I think it is true that McLaren had a second quickest car. Too bad they could not convert it to winning for both drivers, and this is where FA won team principals vote.

    1. Funnily enough, the final part of 2010 in stats will be looking at car performance data.

      1. Kieth can you do like an analysis showing the consistency of the drivers. Like standard deviation or something of that nature?

    2. In way was the Mclaren car the second best. It was clearly Ferrari. Mclaren only had the advantage in a few specific circuits like Turkey and Canada.

      1. ConfusedLotusFan
        8th December 2010, 22:14

        well, they didn’t really have the advantage in turkey, they only got a 1-2 cause of vettel and webber’s argument about who gets the top bunk spilling over onto the track

  2. should do points comparison as: points scored per race finished / classified and then maybe attempt for constructors

    1. I wonder if the ‘points per race’ statistic is points per race they participated in or points per all races of the season (oh god what a horrible sentence). I’m wondering because of Jochen Rindt, if he really scored “so little” points or if his stat dropped because .. well .. he died.

      1. All races of the season.

        1. Thats what I thought .. but isn’t it kind of unfair to ‘penalize’ him for .. dying …
          But I see why it was done, since a championship counts all races, not only those someone participates in. Nevertheless, that other statistic would be kind of interesting, as, something like 30 years ago it wasn’t uncommon for drivers to skip races.

          I’l lstop thinking about it now, thanks for the interesting stats :-)

          1. This is exactly why the ‘best races’ rule was used initially. In the early days of the championship it was acknowledged many drivers couldn’t be at every round. Sometimes events might clash, or a driver/team was short cash needed to compete. It was especially difficult for the European drivers to do the Indy 500. So, this stops someone winning the championship just because they had enough money to do every event when their competitor didn’t.

          2. Yeah that was a really interesting statistic, and just shows how much closer the competition was this year than any of the other championships in the last decade, although 2008 and 2009 are both a ways down the list as well.

          3. Sadly I feel like this championship was only this close because of mistakes and not because of “awesomeness”. Lets face it, the RedBull should have blown everyone away, but they failed too many times in the beginning of the year. Vettel crashed twice all by himself. Webber crashed twice. Hamilton crashed once and had some technical problems but also a littlebit of luck (reprinamds, overtaking safetycar). Alonso ruinde his championship by crashing in Monaco and Spa and had some bad luck with Hamilton twice (somehow also his own fault if he gets tricked). Button was sometimes just too slow in qualifying and had bad luck in Monaco and Spa. Massa was just bad at many occasions.

            Everything I mentioned above paints mainly a picture of failure, not of a fantastic championship. On the other hand there was some great stuff, good overtaking moves, tough battles, interesting weather conditions. But overall I’d say the championship was more lost by the others than won by the champion.

            (maybe i’m just too negative :-P)

        2. For the points per race graph, before ~1970/1960 when only the best 5 results / best 7 results / best ‘whatever’ results in a season counted, have you divided total points by 5, 7 or total no GP’s in that season in the calculations.

          1. No – it’s just how many points they scored per season, ignoring “best X results count”-type rules.

  3. This is very lovely stuff. My only nit is that the tables with rankings should be inverted so the low number is high. And I really don’t get the race results table. It does not appear to show finishing position per race, Is it a running average finishing position?

    The main tale is the reversed fortunes of Hamilton and Alonso in the 4th quarter of the season. Hamilton went from having strong hold on the title–he even could survive the Hungaroring disaster—to disappearing completely under a 3 solid waves of ill fortune. Alonso did the reverse, coming from a series of disasters to snatch an firm lead. Of course, both of them were on borrowed time, as the RB6 had the ability to exert sustained dominance at any time, whenever they pulled it togeter..

    I was convinced post Spa that Hamilton would take the title, purely because RBR had by then established their inabilty to execute or to avoid mistakes. I didnt think RBR would pull it together. But for Hamilton the car never really recovered from its Silverstone-Hungary surgery; I think the car was worse. Maybe quicker in absolute terms, but even harder to set up and drive. (See Button’s flailing around in Korea and Brazil.)

    Vettel’s title worthiness is difficult to work out. One the one hand, he had a whole crew of very good drivers to deal with in pretty good cars. On the other hand, those other guy’s cars only seemed pretty good because of how poorly he and the team executed. His numbers really should look like Schumacher’s in 2002 or at least Alonso’s. Schumacher had Hakkinen to deal with the Alonso had Schumacher, formidable foes, but it was just them.

    I suppose Keith’s car performance work will answer this conundrum. I am predicting that it will show that the RB6 itself was as dominant as Schmacher’s greatest Ferraris and at least as good as Alonso’s championship Renaults.

    For McLaren, if the car does turn out to be third-best, it will be of some historical interest that they led the WDC for 7 races and came very close to a WCC.

    Because I have it in for Goss and Lowe so badly, I am also keen to see proof that the relative pace cratered after the car went under their knives at Silverstone.

    1. I really think we should stop talking about reliability and speed like they aren’t linked. It’s easier to make a fast car if you skimp on reliability and vice versa. The key is to get the balance right. Because good cars are on such a knife edge with reliability drivers can’t just drive the wheels off them all the time – a driver needs to manage their machinery.

      Reliability is not luck, but rather an aspect of design and the result of careful management. Others were better on that front but not as quick in raw pace terms. This year, in the end, Vettel and Newey managed the best combination of all aspects of performance. It was a closely run thing, but we shouldn’t imagine simply that Vettel and RBR were unlucky not to wrap the championship up earlier.

      1. They aren’t neccesarilly.

        The 2004 Ferrari barely ever broke down, the 2007 and 2008 Mclaren and Ferrari never broke down, the 1996 and 1997 Williams cars never broke down, the Brawns never broke down.

        Build a fast car and coat it in steel. :D

        1. 2007 Ferrari broke down at Spain & Nurburgring for Kimi.

        2. You’ve completely missed what the guy is saying. If Adrian Newey had diverted a bit more of his attention to reliability rather than pure pace, the speed differential would be cut by several tenths, and the RB6 would be a lot more robust.

          1. And I think what Calum is saying is that the evidence that speed and reliability, in the modern era, are inversely related is thin.

            Granted, if Newey only has 15 hours a day to work, he can only focus on so many things, but it’s not necessarily the case that every new development creates a reliability issue, or that a performance development also does not make the car less reliable. After all, adding more fins and ripples to the splitter doesnt affect reliability at all.

            For the RedBull cars, I think this is a special case. Newey apparently has a way of working in which he disregards reliability at first, and then works it in later. But sometimes it doesn’t work out at all. See the MP4-18/19. His Leyton House Marches were promising and innovative cars, but desperately fragile—and they never got to the front. Not everything he touches turns to gold. And dont forget it took many years of mediocre RedBull cars, that were also very unreliable, to get to the RB6.

            Chronic unreliability is a basic tradeoff of his approach. Maybe its a result of his unusually conceptual approach, where he just draws stuff with pencils, and sees if it works. From what I understand, he sits in the CAD room at a separate desk with his #2s and paper and does his thing, and carries our a notebook in the paddock doodling.

  4. These tables are epic!

    Considering how Hamilton would have been only three points down on Vettel in Abu Dhabi, last year’s points could have meant an even tighter season finale. The top four drivers would have entered the race with the following amount of points:

    Alonso – 99
    Webber – 96
    Vettel – 94
    Hamilton – 93

    Hamilton would have entered the race with only a third-place deficit to Alonso rather than a victory-deficit…

    1. i Hamilton had overtook Vettel in abu dhabi, he’d have won the championship! incredible!

      1. under the old points system of course!


  5. Had we used last year’s points system, 3 drivers would have scored atleast 100 points.

    I believe that has happened only once before in 2007.

    Put this in comparision with the 2006 season. Michael scored 121 points, an average of 6.6 points per race (or 16.7 points per race by 2010 system) but finished runner-up. In 2007, Kimi scored 110 to win the championship, 2008 – Lewis 98, 2009 – Jenson – 95 and in 2010 – Sebastian – 104.

    Michael as runner-up scored more points than any of the champions thereafter.
    I think this means either of 3 things, one, the competitors are making too many mistakes, two, the cars are far more closer in performance, three, Alonso and Michael were truly sensational in 2006.

    1. 2006 Only Ferrari and Renault were competitive that year & both MIchael & Alonso used team orders and had teammates stay out of their way.

    2. I think it shows the points being spread between more drivers.

      Look at those champions with low average points per race (2 seasons of Piquet winning it, Keke Rosbergs championship, …), those are years where we had an intense fight between several drivers and teams getting into the points. Just like we had this year.

  6. @ sumedh, I think it means all three of those things. :)

    Great article Keith! I especially like the tables where it shows past championships under the new points system. I bet that took a lot of work to figure up.

    1. Yes, all three. But it’s a lot easier to make mistakes when you have to push like hell at all times and battle for position with a gaggle of other good drivers for the champioship. That is a real difference of 2010 versus 2008 going back to 2002. Quite a lot of Schmacher’s and Alonso’s races were done by half-way. But you can’t take away from Schumcher that he made very few driving errors in his day.

      Also, the Ferraris of Schumacher’s long WDC run were very reliable. I think he went more than three years without a mechanical at one point.

      1. Just looking through Wikipedia it looks like you’re right. Schumacher had no retirements in ’02 and one each in ’03 and ’04 each caused by crashes due to small errors he made, so for 3 seasons in a row he had no mechanical retirements.

  7. BTW Keith, Love the new “select all” and “select none” buttons. If you can, get them for all the race and practice analysis charts next year. It becomes easier to use the charts.

  8. Hi Keith … I went back to Part 1 to make sure that I had full view of all your charts – which I do. But in Part 2, the only chart I can see is the “F1 champions’ points per race under 2010 points system”. Are there any settings required that I need to adjust on my browser? I have Microsoft’s 64-bit browser – beta version and Office 2007 Professional. Thank you and regards!

    1. I have Microsoft’s 64-bit browser – beta version

      Do you mean Internet Explorer? Which version?

      1. Hi Keith … Windows Internet Explorer 9 Beta version 9.0.7930.16406 IC. Regards.

  9. What I hope 2010 has shown, is that to win the team title, both drivers have to be close to the front.
    Which means team orders are by default a bad thing as usually a designated #2 driver drives like a division two driver.

  10. Statistics, lies and statistics.
    It is possible to gather the statistics to prove any point – the facts are; as much as I don`t like it/him – Vettel is 2010 WDC. Similarly Button in 2009.
    Statistically speaking it is 2011 that will count.
    Will he follow the many 1 winner wonders???

    1. Statistics, lies and statistics.

      Do you mean that as in the cliché, or are you literally saying I’ve lied about something in this article?

  11. I really like the new charts, but saw nothing wrong with the old ones. Are they staying for future race analyses? Also, there appears to be no way of making these new ones full-screen, so even with only 5 drivers selected it’s hard to read a lot of them. But good work nonetheless :)

    To add to the stats, Lewis Hamilton was the only driver this year to have had all his points come from the first 6 finishing positions. Vettel had one 7th, Alonso a 7th and 8th, Webber three 8ths and a 9th and Button a 7th and two 8ths.

    I think it’s interesting that in the end the previous system came out as giving a closer championship then the new one. I think we would have lost Button earlier, but to be honest his “chance” of the championship really was just a mathematical oddity.

    1. The new charts are better in few aspects but worse in 1 big aspect – they can’t be zoomed into. Keith, race-charts for races like the Korean GP this year were impossible to read without zooming in lap 4 onwards.

  12. Hamilton must be kicking himself, he lead for 7 events, more than any other driver, those dropped scores in monza and singapore, added to mechanicals in spain, japan and hungary really cost him.

  13. Looking at the chart at Silverstone, then Brazil, points out to me why Fernando Alonso was amazing this year. Also, looking at Massa’s stats shows just how much Alonso drove the wheels off his Ferrari just to keep up with Red Bull and McLaren. Yes, Vettel is the WDC, but for me DOTY is Alonso, without doubt

  14. statistics, lies & statistics as in the cliché.
    There is NOTHING wrong with UR data, just annoyed with the final outcome.
    SECOND best, as Ron himself says: thats first of the losers !!!

    1. Fair enough :-)

  15. I hope that crap happening has been factored in too, otherwise it’s just a case of lies, damn lies, and statistics.

    Too many factors involved to make a real assessment of either car or driver performance.

    How do you factor in Petrov holding both a Ferrari and its driver up for example?

  16. Must have been difficult/taken a lot of time to calculate WDCs in 2010 points.

  17. Love the graphs, particularly the “drivers’ grid position” one!

Comments are closed.