Red Bull’s dominance takes a hit in Australia

2012 Australian Grand Prix stats and facts

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In Australia Red Bull failed to get either of their cars on the front row of the grid for the first time since the 2010 Italian Grand Prix.

That ended a 24-race streak in which they had started every races with at least one car on the front row.

That’s the fourth-longest such streak of all time in F1 history:

Team Races Start/finish
Williams 35 1992 South African – 1994 San Marino Grand Prix
McLaren 33 1988 German – 1990 German Grand Prix
Williams 26 1995 Australian – 1997 Britsh Grand Prix
Red Bull 24 2010 Singapore – 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix
Williams 17 1986 Portuguese – 1987 Mexican Grand Prix

Jenson Button won the 13th race of his F1 career in the Australian Grand Prix. That gives him as many victories as Alberto Ascari and David Coulthard.

Given his other successes, Button had set comparatively few fastest laps in his F1 career until recently. At the start of last year he had done so three times. On Sunday he notched up his seventh.

Button didn’t have it all his own way in Melbourne – Lewis Hamilton beat him to pole position. It was the 20th of his career, giving him as many as Damon Hill and Fernando Alonso.

Australia not only had two drivers competing in their home race for the first time, but they both scored points. Mark Webber finally beat his previous best result by finishing fourth.

His fellow countryman Daniel Ricciardo was only in front of his team mate for one lap of the race – but it was the one that counted, as he came by to take points for ninth place.

In doing so he became the 319th driver to score a world championship point. He is the fifth points-scorer for Australia, joining Jack Brabham, Alan Jones, Tim Schenken and Webber.

Having had no drivers in F1 last year, France had three representatives on the grid in Australia: Romain Grosjean, Jean-Eric Vergne and Charles Pic.

However there was no Italian driver in the race. If the remains the case it will be the first season without an Italian driver since 1969.

Nico Hulkenberg is yet to complete a racing lap at Melbourne in two appearances there. He was taken out by Kamui Kobayashi on the first lap of his F1 debut there in 2010.

Mercedes failed to score a point for the first time in 13 races.

Ferrari didn’t just have the fastest pit stop – all five of their pit stops were faster than those of every other team in the race.

For the second year in a row, HRT did not start the first race of the season after failing to beat the 107% time in Q1.

Sauber are third in the constructors’ championship after the first race of the year. Their best finishing position is fourth, which they achieved in 2001 with Kimi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld driving.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

Spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Australian Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.

2012 Australian Grand Prix

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    Image © Red Bull/Getty images

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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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    66 comments on “Red Bull’s dominance takes a hit in Australia”

    1. France might have had 3 drivers on the grid, but they had a 100% fail rate when none of those finished in the points!

      1. There’s 3 people on the grid with French issued super licenses, but only 2 of them are French. Grosjean is a Swiss citizen only.

        1. Is he? I always thought he had the french nationality too. That’s the way they present him in France anyway ;-)

        2. I thought he add dual nationality

        3. When it is ambiguous, they take the one they prefer … As for the french he is french and Swiss for the Swiss … Not a big surprise.
          But in fact he is born in Geneva and has both nationality but drive under french licence.

          1. Indeed. He drives under a French flag. If he manages to get a podium finish it’s the French flag that will fly.

      2. @BasCB That’s exactly what I was just thinking! A poor show from France ;)

    2. Something I noticed: with 14th place Marussia has matched their previous best finish result.

      1. They managed 14th in last year’s first race as well – D’Ambrosio that time.

      2. @andae23 They had better hope that HRT don’t bag a 13th position by luck!

    3. Fair to say then that perhaps Red Bull is suffering the most from the curtailing of EBD? After all, as Newey said, last year’s car was designed around the exhaust. This year I don’t know what the car is designed around. Is it basically last year’s car tweaked and without the EBD? I still think they will tweak it and be a force to be reckoned with, but for now I think I share most people’s sentiment that it is good to see them getting a run for their money. Would be great to see a season long JB/LH battle as well as to see MW challenge SV so that nobody runs away with anything.

      1. From listening to Horner it sounds like they rolled back their development to pre-EBD and then tried to find the development path they would have followed if it never existed. Ferrari threw the whole car out and started again.

        1. Was EBD extensively used in 2010, if not then why did Ferrari rip up the shhet and start again. They were mightily close to the WDC and should have won. There car looked quick in the race where there was no EBD at silverstone they won and wasn’t limited at valencia where fernando finished 2ns is it possible that they would be in a better position had they gone for evolution instead of revolution.

          1. Without using hindsight, my guess is that once it was time to get designing this year’s car they looked at what was likely going to end up being 3rd in the WCC last year, and thought that there was no way they were just going to tweak that car and start beating what they would have assumed was going to be a very very strong 2012 Red Bull. ie. might as well go back to the drawing board if the 2011 car wasn’t sufficient any more.

          2. Shaun Robinson (@)
            19th March 2012, 21:06

            EBD was indeed used in 2010, that’s when the horrible noises started.

          3. @Tayyib quite right i thought that as soon as they said they were going radical.

            typical old school ferrari panic ‘here is a good idea, change everything’

            oh dear.

        2. Of course, in 2010, the teams still had the DDD. While Ferrari didn’t get much EBD that year, I think their DDD worked pretty well (more stable than the big, but at times porpoising, McLaren version); still, it means Ferrari didn’t have a good thing to go back to for 2012.

          Red Bull could look back to ideas for the pre-DDD RB5, and have kept a lot of the packaging similar, so could evolve that. But maybe now McLaren has caught up with a concept of their own.

      2. We still have to see some development during the year from RedBull, something they are not particulary good at compared to McLaren or Ferrari. Last year, they begin the season miles ahead of everyone else and the gap just melt during the season (mainly to McLaren great development).
        If they have the same development rate this year, I can’t see anyone catching McLaren and RedBull would quickly fall back into a complicated situation in the pack as it is quite close

    4. Off topic:
      The new “clarified” rules say that a driver, going off racing line to defend his position, has to spare a car width when moving back.
      If a driver defends his position by going off racing line less than a car width, is he allowed to move back completely into line? (Rosberg was doing that defendig against Webber in Melbourne.) Note that not moving back compromises the line through the next corner.

      1. You could argue that he never left his line, and so he did not have to give it away.

      2. I dont think this rule will last long, there are too many complications. As long as an incident like schumacher vs hamilton doesn’t happen again it would be fine as it was

        1. and that was fine also. esp when u compare it to 99% of racing from last 20years. senna and co wouldnt of got beyond a lap with todays rules.

          what michael did was tame compared to him and hill/villeneuve

          1. cars were different then mate

    5. The good news is that McLaren doesn’t look as dominant as Red Bull was last year.

      1. i think they might be if they remember to put enough gas in them.
        Mercedes just need to sort that tire wear out.
        Lotus and Kimi need to sort out their qualifying.
        any of these could put RBR further down the grid.
        certainly looking like an exciting year for us fans to look forward to.

        1. Good point. I think Lewis will at least get 10 poles this year, but I think Mr Vettel will some to his own account in the near future. On Mercedes, just rooting to see Schumi on top of the podium at least once.

        2. @lethalnz To be fair to Lotus they were brilliant in qualifying, Raikkonen let them down and he admitted that.

    6. Every driver on the grid has scored points in F1, except for the three French guys.

      1. LOL. Great stat!

      2. Well spotted!

      3. @enigma That’s unfortunate!

        I doubt it’ll be long before Grosjean gets a point though. Or Vergne either – he was only a tenth off yesterday.

        1. I’m sure Grosjean will score before we go back to Europe. A bit harder to predict for Vergne but surely he’ll get a few points sometime. A bit harder for Pic though…

          1. I’m sure JEV will score points soon, maybe even in the next race. And I thought Pic did everything he could have done in his first GP and in his first weekend in the car.

        2. Both JEV and Grojean impressed me.

          1. Me too. Vergne was great in qualifying.

    7. @keithcollantine
      “Sauber are third in the constructors’ championship after the first race of the year. Their best finishing position is fourth, which they achieved in 2001 with Kimi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld driving.”

      Did you exclude BMW-Sauber years? Because in 2007 they came 2nd (before exclusion of McLaren from the results – 3rd) and 3rd in 2008 at hands of Heidfeld and Kubica

      1. Don’t forget Kubica also won in Canada 2008 with them to give them their first win

    8. Sennas pole at the ill fated San marino GP 1994 was the last in a 35 straight run for Williams, they really had it together back then! Loved watching the old Williams cars, still remember them as some of the most beautiful.

      1. Hulk put williams on pole at interlagos in 2010

        1. Yes… so?

        2. The record if for front row not pole position.

      2. 35 straight run of front rows. Senna had pole at Adelaide 93 in the McLaren.

      3. 35 straight run of having at least 1 car on the front row. Senna had pole at Adelaide 93 in the McLaren.

    9. Great picture, it looks as though the car is actually racing on some astroturf circuit.

      1. Lol…this race brought to you by the Lawn Bowlers Association, main sponsor John Deere.

        1. Tom Haxley (@)
          19th March 2012, 18:56

          Its crying out for the caption “Mark Webber, You’re doing it wrong ya big galah”

    10. Kimi Räikkönen became the first driver to have competed in F1 races for McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus since Nigel Mansell

      1. Nice spot Jim!

        1. what other drivers have that trio of teams in their cv?

          1. I just went on a search and the first one I could find was Jacky Ickx but he only barely makes it in with one race for McLaren.

            1. At a push you could also include John Surtees. As well as racing for Ferrari and Lotus, at the start of the 1970 season he competed in a McLaren being run by his own Team Surtees outfit as their own car wasn’t ready

      2. We could argue as this Lotus = ex-renault , Alonso have done that not long ago … It depends if we stick to the name or not.

    11. Personally, I think the bulls (probably Vettel) will be back on the front row in Malaysia; they have pace…I think they were just a bit unlucky not to have enough running time with the new package in testing and with Webber’s KERS. They showed us that they are quick and can challenge Mclaren in the race. Interesting to see how Lotus will fair though, they looked quick in both qualifying and the race.

      1. Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how the Lotus drivers compare when they both make it to Q3. It’ll also be very interesting to see if Mercedes have an even greater qualifying advantage in Sepang with its long straights. I wonder if their Super DRS will be enough to get them pole.

    12. Jenson Button is leading the F1 World Championship points for the 1st time since 2010 Candian Grand Prix (where he retired and handed the lead to Webber and Vettel – Webber on the count-back)
      McLaren-Mercedes leads the Constructors World Championship for the 1st since 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix, where a 1st and a 3rd from Red Bull grabbed the lead (and held onto it from that point until the end of last year).

      1. Also, first time someone other than Vettel is leading the championship since Brazil 2010.

    13. Mclaren hit 50 pole and win races, next is Williams with 52 and Ferrari with 83

    14. themagicofspeed (@)
      19th March 2012, 22:27

      The headline of this story is indeed the best thing ive seen on this site for a while :)

      “Red Bull’s dominance takes a hit” – good. I hope that stays the case. I am sick of seeing the sight of them.
      Particularly when it’s being driven by a particular scruffy haired German with irritating hand gestures.
      I’d love to see the look of total confusion on his face when he didn’t automatically take pole and the win by default.

      1. That “W” is equally irritating and I hope he doesnt do that again. Pumping ur fist is an old but extremely efficient (“:) ” ) way of celebrating ur victory. :)

    15. Melbourne was a good race, but i hope to see Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotus catch up. Im worried about a Mclaren dominance as they’re extremely fast. They do have a long overdue Constructors championship though.

    16. That’s the first time, in at least 3 years that the man on pole wasn’t first into turn 1. Can anyone find out the actual stats for that?

      1. Actually, it’s the first time since 2002. Quite incredible.

    17. Some impressive stats being banded around here.

      With all this talk of having six world champs on the grid it occurred to me that indeed, every single championship winner since 2000 is competing this year.
      Which is nice.

      1. Also, we have the 1994 champion on the grid – that’s very impressive as well.

    18. Paul Gilbert
      21st March 2012, 22:52

      Lewis Hamilton kept alive his record of at least 1 pole position per season.

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