Buemi and Schumacher are top overtakers – Mercedes

2011 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Buddh International Circuit

Sebastien Buemi and Michael Schumacher top the list of most prolific overtakers in 2011.

According to data produced by Mercedes, Buemi has made 112 overtaking moves and Schumacher 111 over the 18 races of the year to date.

Kamui Kobayashi has made 95, Jaime Alguersuari 90 and Sergio Perez 89.

Ignoring overtaking moves made on the first lap, Perez and Buemi have the most with 82. The next highest are Jenson Button (77), Mark Webber (76), Alguersuari (74) and Schumacher (71).

The Turkish Grand Prix saw the most overtaking moves with 85, followed by Canada (79) and China (67). The least passing was seen at Monaco (16), Australia (17) and India (18).

Mercedes also analysed the effect the Drag Reduction System has had on overtaking this year. Out of 804 “clean overtakes”, DRS accounted for 363 (45.1%). This excludes passes on the first lap, passes due to damage, and overtakes on the Virgin, HRT and Lotus cars.

The highest proportion of DRS-assisted passes was seen at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where 89% of passes were achieved with DRS. The next highest were the European (81%), Indian (78%), Turkish (59%) and Spanish (57%) Grands Prix. DRS passes outnumbered ordinary passes in eight of the 18 races so far.

The least DRS passes was seen (sometimes due to wet conditions) in the Monaco (13%), Hungarian (20%), Canadian (22%), Japanese (26%) and British (27%) Grands Prix.

2011 F1 season

Browse all 2011 F1 season articles

Image © Red Bull/Getty images

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

99 comments on “Buemi and Schumacher are top overtakers – Mercedes”

  1. how much of these overtaking are due ton the DRS?

    1. @tifoso1989 See the last three paragraphs.

      1. i mean shumacher’s & buemi’s overtaking

        1. @Tifoso1989 If they’d given that data I’d’ve put it in the article. If I can obtain it I will.

          1. thx keith

          2. @Tifoso1989 Alas Mercedes have said they can’t give us any more data to play with.

          3. Well since schumachers on 111 and then 71 after discounting 1st lap manouvers you know 40 of his overtakes were on the 1st lap which is just over 2 every single race.

            No idea about the rest but i don’t think drs has been all that brilliant for schu this year. In canada for instance he passed about 3 cars out of the drs zone, then lost a podium finish to mark webber who did use the drs. I’m sure it’s not been like that for him all year but my impression from watching is that schumachers been overtaking out of the drs zone(s) more often than in.

          4. With buemi it’s really hard to say because he only gets camera time when he’s in the top 10

    2. It… says?

    3. Interesting that DRS had the biggest impact at the most boring races/tracks and least impact at the most exciting races/tracks.

      1. +1

        Just shows you with good circuit design, you don’t need gimmicks.

  2. Interesting stats there!

    There’s no doubt that DRS has certainly heavily contributed towards passing. But, it would be interesting to see how many overtakes there’d be without the DRS.

    It’s not just a case of NOT having the DRS moveable wing, it’d be changes to the gear ratios, it’d be potential modifications to strategies.

    1. Impossible to tell my short theory on this is 804 – the drs passes =441+first lap overtakes=at least 550 probably more but lets say 550 then i would suspect – quite a few real overtakes because the teams would be running the same gear ratios and aero levels. The teams would also not pit their cars bringing them out right behind traffic knowing it can be easily made up which has happened alot this year.

      So my answer is something like 550 if we just take out the drs passes but less than 550 if we actually take it out of the rules.

  3. Thank you Mercedes, for giving us this data, its proven quite a task to discern what consitutes an overtake!

    Its a nice show of how the amount of overtakes does not have make or break a race. Turkey was not that great with the most passes, and Monaco wasn’t that bad even with very little passing. But having too big a proportion of DRS passes will help a lot to make it less well regarded.

    1. I think the DRS is a good thing, but needs to be used a bit less. For instance, pile it on in Monaco and Abba Dabby because we need every bit that we can get to allow passing.

      However, at tracks like Turkey and Canada, which are good for passing anyway we really don’t need it on the typical straights, or indeed, if at all.

  4. Monaco simply had more opportunities of a pass than we’ve ever seen, which is great. It worked a treat there. We were robbed of one of the best finishes at Monaco (second behind Prost/Senna/Bellof).

    Turkey, they just simply got it all wrong. The zone was absolutely massive, but that was part of the process, I guess. I’m a little surprised they couldn’t have figured it out a little better via simulation, though.

    1. @ECWDanSelby

      We were robbed of one of the best finishes at Monaco (second behind Prost/Senna/Bellof).

      Actually I’d say it was a repeat of 1984, in that the battle was called off as it was getting interesting!

      And if we’re talking best finishes at Monaco, surely we can’t forget 1961, 1970 and 1992?

      1. Fair point – I just think ’84 will always be held in high regard because it was the coming of Senna.

        I’d completely forgot ’92! Brilliant stuff.

      2. Its a pity the race ended like that at monaco. Had it lasted it would’ve been one of the great defensive drives but now its regarded as the luckiest win since the sport began.
        The battle had been interesting for 30 laps already and had it gone to a conclusion would’ve easily outdone the 1992 thriller.

        1. but now its regarded as the luckiest win since the sport began.

          By you, perhaps. But it’s not as if he was running in second and the leader’s car broke down on the final lap. We’ve seen a few of those.

          1. Like Macao this year? ;)

          2. @Keithcollantine : That sound you just heard was the sad cry of a large number of Damon Hill fans.

    2. I think the DRS worked the best in Monaco and Melbourne. A lot of tracks shouldn’t have even been given a DRS zone. Turkey was just plain ridiculous.

  5. I think the stats are a little out of perspective.

    It says overtaking moves. But many of them are not places made up from the grid start to the final place. In the case of Schumacher an incident during the race would put him at the back and we’d see him race through the pack and see him finish in his original starting place or a few places ahead.

    Starting 10th or 11th, dropping to the back of the pack and working his way back to 10th would see him overtake around 14 cars.

    His form, ie starting spot and final place did improve toward the end of the season, but that was his initial form.

    1. Like for Vettel. I make it about 24 overtakes this year but he’s probably only had to overtake 25-30 cars all season

    2. They did subtract passing the three slower cars (Formula 1b)

    3. Well that’s no different to any kind of statistics in that they make most sense viewed in context.

      1. Keith, I really think you should be a little more lax about awarding yourself the comment of the day once in a while. ^solid gold!

        1. Oh, but then he would be accused of bias.

    4. Starting 10th or 11th, dropping to the back of the pack and working his way back to 10th would see him overtake around 14 cars.

      So if he dropped from 10th to 24th and got back up to 10th, He would overtake 14 cars….. but in the statistics, 14 cars would also overtake 1 car, so you would end up with this one scenario resulting in 28 overtakes.

      Gotta love stats…

  6. Fascinating. Great stats, great article. Seems we’d still have plenty of overtaking without DRS this year. What a performance from Buemi!

    It’d also be interesting to imagine how many DRS overtakes could have been done on their own and without the button…

    1. We would, but tracks like Valencia or Abu Dhabi would suffer greatly.

      1. valencia needs even more drs. At least with abudhabi you can look at the hotel changing colour. Valencia and god save us bahrain are like a 200mph glass of warm milk and cookies whilst having your back kneaded by 3 kittens.

        1. Bahrain isn’t all that bad I don’t think. I think the available layouts and possibilities are head over heels better than Abu Dhabi and certainly Valencia.

          It’s a desert, yes, but not quite as soulless as Turkey. It’s pretty epic. Although Turkey’s a better track.

  7. So the highest proportion of DRS-assisted passes were seen at Abu Dhabi (Tilkedrome), Valencia (Tilkedrome), India (Tilkedrome), Turkey (Tilkedrome) and Spain (final sector reworked by Tilke).

    Not knocking the dude (I acknowledge that his hands are tied when it comes to designing new tracks), it is just an observation.

    1. Valencia is made by tilke???

      1. Well, he decided which streets would be used…

        1. And then had those streets built, as many of them weren’t there.

          1. Thanks for the saves peeps, I was doubting myself for a minute there! ;)

    2. His hands might be tied but it still indicates that he hasn’t learnt from one circuit to the next.

      1. I reckon india will be ok if it can ever be clean which is something i’m sadly not as positive on. They need some abu dhabi track cleaners

  8. Interesting reading, but I’m not sure what it actually tells us, certainly not who’s best at overtaking. As Seb is probably bottom of this list I suspect the main thing that these stats show is who underperforms most in qualifying, and who has most often had a different race strategy. It would be interesting to see the reverse statistics, who has been over taken most!

    1. I’m not sure what it actually tells us, certainly not who’s best at overtaking

      Both probably!

      1. Sorry this should have been a reply to Cornflakes comment below. Massive fail there, apologies!

    2. @jimn, it would also include people who regularly have bad starts, which is part of the reason for the two STR cars to be high on the list, them having lost quite a few places in first laps, not to mention Webbeer. Button’s Canada fight from the back, that sort of thing.

      In the end, as @keithcollantine says in a post higher up on the pace: statistics need to be seen in context.

      Your idea for a most-overtaken statistic is indeed interesting. It is unfortunate that getting such data might be even harder than obtaining accurate passing/overtaking statistics!

      1. To amend what I said: I meant that those who have a bad start move higher when 1st lap overtakes are excluded.

  9. I think Shumi really started to drive a lot better from Brazil 06, maybe because of no pressure, one can only speculate, he always seemed very, very conservative, overtaking wise.

  10. Goes to show how good Shumachers starts are! 40 first lap overtakes in 18 race starts. That’s an average rise of over 2 cars every race. What does that suggest? – that his race craft is excellent or that his qualifying is poor?

    1. A bit of both – he was a good, but not spectacular overtaker in his previous career. But I reckon it’s more of the poor qualifying affecting him.

      1. AgentChocolateOrange
        22nd November 2011, 17:22

        Not at all does it suggest both. At the majority of races msc has qualifyed 1 to 3 places behind rosberg more often than not on the dirty side whilst rosberg has been on the clean side. He is lacking in qualy but he has had several car issues during qualy as well it’s not all been his problem.

        Regardless if you come from 1 to 3 places behind your team m8 on the dirty side of the grid and overtake him at the start when he’s on the clean side. That’s a good start he’s done a better job than his team m8 who’s started ahead on the grippyer side in the same car.

        If you believe schumachers done well because of his qualy position do you also believe this?

        “Rosberg has ended up behind schumacher after many first laps because he qualifyed ahead.”

        since when is that a disadvantage?

    2. Schumacher is a poor qualifier thats why he overtakes so much in the first round…actually is the only way to overtake if your name is Schumacher and you drive a Mercedes Benz.

    3. Both. Rosberg has qualified better, and with the same car has made less passes.

      1. Hmm, arguably because Rosberg hasn’t needed to make as many passes.

        1. Except for MS, all the other top passers are in cars that are at least a distant 5th in the constructors. MS’s car belongs behind the top 3 along with NR who actually did put the car where it belonged on most Saturday’s. ie. MS has started most races with a car capable of passing the cars around him, cars he should have put behind him on Saturday, while NR’s higher starting spots has seen him playing with the top 3 teams, a much much more difficult and understandably nearly impossible task in terms of passing them with that car.

          At Spa MS had 9 cars move out of his way at the start. Also, is anybody accounting for the tire advantage one has when one qualifies outside the top 10?

          So I would suggest MS’s passes are much more down to poor quali spots than racecraft…based on the Constructor’s standings his car is simply better than the cars he has passed so it can appear to be racecraft, and some passes were from that, but I would say mostly because of the rankings of the cars.

  11. To me overtaking stats arent relevant anymore since the artificial aid in the DRS has been introduced.
    -Overtaking for me has become too farcicle in 2011.

    Overtaking only meant something to me when it wasnt as easy as it truely seperated the brave/greats from the ones who werent as brave or as talented enough to take risks when wheel to wheel.

    I do have to say however that schumacher has once again (for the second season) shown what a brilliant race starter he is (which is not DRS related).

    1. See the non-DRS stats then. I am actually suprised that DRS hasn’t influenced a higher percentage of the overtakes. 45%, and not including 1st lap passes. Take that into account and DRS will probably have only accounted for about a third of all passes this year.

      Ok, I have to admit – it was too easy at Abu Dhabi, but other than that an a few exceptions which are mentioned in the article, the system has been a success. I expect with the revised DRS zones next year, we could have some excellently balanced racing; whereby drivers are aided by DRS but in fact have to do the hard work themselves.

    2. Once again it goes to show how little people know about Schumacher. Michael was a terrible race starter till he drove for Ferrari at least until 2003. From then on Ferrari tried and found something to suit his slow reactions, when the red lights went out. Michael had also previously acknowledged that he is slow to react compared to the others. It is bizarre to say the least, that he has been the start king for the past two years.

      On a separate note: What I’m more interested in are the overtakes after lap one. Michael again has 71 which I think are truly indicative of the fact that he still very much has the skill to make clean maneuvers

      1. So the difference to me is that the Merc is not a top 3 car, it’s a distant 4th, and he has qualified it more like a 5th place car or worse. It is a lot easier to look like a passer with racecraft when you are starting in amongst cars you should have put behind you on Saturday.

        Also, not all of his maneuvers were clean. Far from it.

  12. Flying Lobster 27
    22nd November 2011, 11:49

    Meh, Tony Stewart pulled off 118 passes in the final NASCAR race alone, no KERS and no DRS (but lots of tow)… Yes I know, it’s not comparable.

    Seriously, a lot of Schumacher’s passes have to be down to him not qualifying properly (either not making Q3, or not running in Q3).
    Driver stats aren’t very telling in my view, but still very good research, particularly as they exclude lapping the bottom 6.
    Circuit stats are interesting however. How did Valencia not make the bottom 3?!

  13. Is this data freely available Keith? Or did you need to request if from Mercedes? Do you know if they have similar data for previous seasons?

    The reason I’m asking is I’m completing a school research project on how the layout of an F1 circuit influences the amount of overtaking and to do so I need reliable overtaking data.

    1. The problem with that, @mpj1994 is that we don’t really understand the relationship between a circuit layout and the amount of overtaking it generates. For example, Yas Marina was speciically created to create overtaking, but has largely failed until the introduction of DRS.

    2. @MPJ1994 Mercedes have just issued it today.

    3. @MPJ1994 you should look in the Formula 1 Website for one of the Press Conference between 2009 and 2010 (go to the ones that they made on friday) There is some really good coments by Newey about how overtaking is a circuit problem…

      1. doesn’t want to lose his downforce. XD

    4. I’d suggest you try and ask Mercedes if they can supply some of that data for you @mpj1994, as its for a research project, they might be willing to cooperate.

      Or at least it won’t hurt trying!

  14. Can you say how many Vettel has? Wouldn’t be surprised if its less than 15 considering he’s been out on his own lot of the year. Would also be interested to know Hamilton’s?

    1. Then we’d have to factor in botched overtakes, Massa incidents etc. Don’t think Mercedes have that data.

  15. Most overtaking moves could also mean that its the that is generally far better than its qualifying position. If Schumi qualifies 18th, he will surely overtake many cars to find his right position.

    1. AgentChocolateOrange
      22nd November 2011, 17:36

      Schumachers worst start was 24th when his wheel fell off in qualy at spa the next worst is 14th in china and 13th at silverstone the rest have all been 5th-12th. He has had far more drs/kers and finger issues in qualy than rosberg so stop exaggerating.

      Most qualys in which it has been a clean fight rosberg has ended up ahead of schumacher but then behind him by the end of the first lap or corner in many cases. If you overtake someone in the same car as you at the start it doesn’t matter if you start 1 place behind them or 20 it’s a better start starting behind your team m8 is not an advantage.

  16. Overtaking doesn’t really mean anything anymore, DRS has devalued it.

    It used to be that seeing an overtaking move was exciting, Now it isn’t.

    I’d rather see 1 exciting overtaking moves than 10 unexciting, dull & totally boring DRS passes.

    1. Don’t be so dramatic.

      1. Not been dramatic, Its just what I think.

        In the past we saw less overtaking yet every single one of the overtakes we did see were exciting & meant more because you knew it was hard fought for.

        This year we have seen a great deal of passing yet not a great deal of real exciting overtaking. DRS has provided dull & unexciting passes & to an extent some of the tyre created passing has been a bit dull.

        If you see too much of something then it eventually gets devalued .
        For instance we all remember Villeneuve/Arnoux because it isn’t the norm, If it was something that happened every race after the 1st 2-3 occasions it would no longer be memorable or exciting, It would just become the accepted norm.

        2011 may have seen record levels of passing, But for me very little of it was actually exciting & DRS in particular ruined my enjoyment of the season.

        I said when DRS was announced that I’d wait & see how it worked before casting judgement & having seen it in action I hate it.
        I was not someone that decided they disliked DRS pre-season & simply refused to give it a chance. I gave it the benefit of the doubt, Saw how it worked & didn’t like what I saw.

        I stand by the final line of my above comment, I’d rather 1 real overtake than 10 DRS passes.

        1. I absolutely agree with your assessment, and the final line of your first comment.

          People seem to place too much emphasis on overtaking as being exciting or good, rather than thinking of the battle as being exciting.

          1. Right, and to go along with this discussion, I think it has always been a priority in F1 to have passing not be so mundane and so frequent that it is ‘dime a dozen’ type stuff, none of it memorable, ala Villeneuve/Arnoux.

            That is why to me it is so frustrating to see them incorporate a gadget to promote passing and to see said passing make the driver being passed look helpless and amateur.

            Get rid of the DRS, keep them on sticky tires, restrict their usage of wings for downforce, and that will put the passing back into the ‘rare but seat of the pants’ category, imho.

            I’ll echo once again JV’s sentiments back when they introduced grooved tires and JV called them a joke and got hauled up on the carpet for it. ‘Give us back slicks, but not just slicks, give us the big fat ones they had in the 70’s which created so much drag on the straights that in order to achieve any kind of respectable top speeds you had to run less wing’. Thus killing two birds with one stone. Mechanical grip with a limit to how much wing you wanted to run, equals seat of the pants racing with the trailing car being far less disturbed by dirty air due to it’s lesser dependancy on wing.

  17. Sorry, i meant ‘thats the car’

  18. Some people have suggested – not unreasonably – that maybe the top overtakers are just poor qualifiers who’ve had more opportunity to overtake. Here’s some data from the stats pages:

    Qualifying scores

    Buemi 13 – 5 Alguersuari
    Schumacher 2 – 14 Rosberg

    Average starting positions

    Rosberg 7.61
    Schumacher 10.33
    Alguersuari 14.39
    Buemi 14.61

    1. BUEMI #1!!!!!!!!!!

      Haha thanks for these stats keith. I know Buemi usually outqualifies ALG. Its a shame probably both are getting dumped for JEV and RIC

    2. Having looked at the info from the races since the summer, it does seem that Alguesuari and Buemi have a net loss in Lap one position changes, but I’m not certain.

      Would it be a lot of work to put that data for each race, per driver, in a graph @keithcollantine?

      I don’t have the data, or I’d try it myself, but maybe I’ll compile if from your graphs tonight/tomorrow and see what it shows.

      I was thinking about something like an aggregate lap-chart, but with stages Quali,grid (to take care of grid-penalties),first lap,finishing position to show progress through the race weekend. It’s not new information, you basically provide it all during the race review (per driver/team in the team-reviews), but a different way of visualising it.

      1. Actually, it’t a lap-chart like progress over the season, per driver, so that’s a bit more difficult perhaps to visualise.

  19. When you have a poor qualification you are supposed to overtake more cars, so this can explain Michael and Buemis numbers. But you have to do it, and even being Schumacher its not en easy task so in my opinion the ability to overtake of Michael and Buemi is out of any question.

    1. Explains Michael’s, not Buemi’s numbers. Read the post above you.

  20. I’m guessing all Mark Webber’s came at China?!

    Very interesting here from Mercedes. I’m glad to see that DRS isn’t hogging the results. I think the data does show that the drivers who are found out of position in qualifying have the highest number of overtakes and this is to be expected really. I’d like to see some data where you can see start position against how many overtakes per race.

  21. I think the Turkish Grand Prix, despite having the most overtakes, was my least favourite Grand Prix of the year. Something about it didn’t feel right. The battle between Hamilton and Button was pretty exciting, but other than that, it didn’t seem like I was watching an F1 race.

    I really hope we don’t see another race like it, because for all of the action, it still wasn’t even slightly memorable at all for me.

    1. I can’t remember a single thing about that race other than waaaaaay too much DRS assisted overtakes. I remember Vettel’s huge crash in practice, but the race itself is kind of just a messy blur of DRS in my memory.

      1. @US_Peter

        Well put. My feelings exactly. It was entertaining in a way, but so unlike the F1 I fell in love with.

      2. Pretty much the same for me @US_Peter, @damonsmedley, I found Abu Dhabi and Valencia more interesting to watch.

  22. Jenson Button can probably take credit for about 80% of the moves at the Canadian Grand Prix

    1. @pianoshizzle At least 23 of them, he worked his way right from the back at one point!

      Well, I say 23. Depends how many had DNF’d by then.

  23. Buemi, He isnt a fan favourite and I still cant undertsand why? The ladies might argue, for example my girlfriends favourite driver are Alguersuari and Button, but the rest of F1 fans simply cant be watching the same races ive watched cause clearly Buemi deserves to be reckon. I dont want to move out of subject but isnt Buemi F1 worth it? in my opinion yes, dont want to see another Hulkenberg.

    1. BUEMI F1 WDC 2013

    2. I agree with you 100% Buemi has done a brilliant job, especially with all the pressure he has been put under by his team, There is no question in my mind he should be in F1 next season.

      I wasn’t too surprised to see him as the top overtaker either, I remember at Hungary he passed 11 cars including ALG in the first 2 laps, just a shame no one noticed it.

  24. Oh well, it sure wouldn’t be Vettel, would it?

    1. Indeed, because he’s too busy actually winning the races.

  25. No disrespect to Sebastien Buemi and Michael Schumacher but to me the “The Overtaker of the Season” has to be “AussieGrit”. If you look all his overtaking moves this season has been clean but harsh,he showed enough respect to the others while he is racing.

  26. i was listning to an interview with sam michael recently & he said something i thought was intresting.

    he said that in the initial discussions drs was to be allowed on every straght & the system was to be activated/deactivated by the fia timing loops which are every 100m round the track.
    he said the plan was that drs was to be avaliable to the car behind but that as soon as he got 50% alongside of the car he was passing at the next timing loop drs would be deactivated so that the actual pass would have to be completed by the driver rather than drs driving him alongside & then all the way past.

    reason this idea was not adopted was firstly because they coudn’t get the system working right.

    he ended by saying that even those within fota who often put forward there support for drs dislike the way its currently been used with the 1 second gap, detection points & activation zones.

    1. Sounds interesting, where was this interview?

      1. Not sure if this is the same interview Dave was on about but Sam Michael mentioned DRS been activated everywhere with the 100m loops in this interview with Peter Windsor at about 22 mins:

        Doesn’t mention anyone disliking the current system or DRS deactivating when 50% alongside, He said in that interview it would deactivated once the car was physically past.

    2. Wasn’t that in the interview Peter Windsor did with Michael for his “The Flying Lap” show?

  27. Good read. Surprised about the number of DRS passes being such a low percentage, I was expecting higher.

Comments are closed.