2012 F1 season statistics part two: Stats and facts

2012 F1 season review

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Rounding off our look at 2012 in statistics, here are the most significant stats and facts from the season.

Triple champions

Of course the headline statistic for 2012 is Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull winning their third consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championship titles. More on those here:

A competitive season

It was a closely-fought season which produced many different race winners, pole sitters and more:

  • Eight different drivers won races, the most since 2003
  • Seven different drivers started from pole position
  • Thirteen different drivers led races

Massa’s podium drought

Felipe Massa ended a 36-race spell without a podium finish at the Japanese Grand Prix. This is the longest a Ferrari driver has gone without finishing in the top three.

Of the five longest such streaks, three are clustered around the beginning of the 1980s when Ferrari produced two particularly poor cars.

Gilles Villeneuve had the misfortune to drive both the 312T5 in 1980 and the 126CK in 1981. Jody Scheckter raced alongside him in 1980 and and Didier Pironi replaced Scheckter the following year.

During Massa’s 36-race streak without a podium finish, team mate Fernando Alonso finished in the top three 17 times.

Felipe Massa2010 Brazilian Grand Prix – 2012 Singapore Grand Prix36
Gilles Villeneuve1980 Argentinian Grand Prix – 1981 Belgian Grand Prix19
Didier Pironi1981 United States Grand Prix West – 1982 United States Grand Prix West18
Eddie Irvine1996 Brazilian Grand Prix – 1997 Brazilian Grand Prix17
Jody Scheckter1979 Canadian Grand Prix – 1980 United States Grand Prix16

Maldonado 15th after win

Pastor Maldonado finished 15th in the championship which is the lowest ever finishing position for a driver who won a round, with the exception of Michael Schumacher in 1997.

Schumacher won five races and scored enough points to be classified second overall but was excluded after deliberately colliding with Jacques Villeneuve in the final race.

Previous drivers who finished outside the top ten in the championship in years they won races include the following:

  • Jimmy Bryan finished 13th in 1958 after winning the Indianapolis 500 – he didn’t start any other rounds
  • Jean-Pierre Jabouille finished 13th in 1979 after scoring Renault’s first win at Dijon, but not scoring in any other rounds
  • Giancarlo Fisichella was 12th in 2003 after winning the Brazilian Grand Prix and only scoring points on one other occasion
  • Michele Alboreto did the same in 1983, winning in Detroit
  • Jean-Pierre Beltoise won the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix but did not score in any other round and ended the year 11th
  • Jim Clark was killed after winning the first round of the 1968 world championship and was also placed 11th at the end of the year

NB. Does not include drivers who won races as part of shared drives when this was permitted by the rules.

More 2012 season statistics

Sebastian Vettel is the first driver to win the world championship without scoring a victory in Europe. His five wins this year came in Bahrain, Singapore, Japan, Korea and India.

For the first time since 1969, no Italian driver started a race during the entire season.

Kimi Raikkonen has now won races for three different teams: McLaren (nine), Ferrari (nine) and Lotus (one). Only 14 drivers have won races for three or more different constructors, including Alonso (Ferrari, McLaren and Renault) and Button (Honda, Brawn – who were previously Honda – and McLaren).

Raikkonen came within one lap of completing every lap of the season. The only driver to do this was Schumacher who completed all 1,090 laps in 17 races in 2002. Raikkonen did 1,191 in 20 races this year.

Heikki Kovalainen set a new record for most consecutive starts without scoring a point. He has started 60 races in a row without scoring a point, one more than Piercarlo Ghinzani’s 59-race streak from the 1984 British Grand Prix to the end of the 1989 season.

Ghinzani failed to qualify on 22 occasions in that time and Kovalainen did not start at Spain in 2010 (none of which are included in their tallies). Kovalainen’s last points finish was seventh for McLaren at Singapore in 2009.

Ferrari failed to set a fastest lap during the season for the first time since 1994.

Australian Grand Prix

Malaysian Grand Prix

  • Sergio Perez was the first Mexican driver on the podium since Pedro Rodriguez in 1971
  • Second place was Sauber’s best result as an independent team
  • Nine different teams scored points, equalling the record for the 2010 European Grand Prix
  • More Malaysian Grand Prix stats and facts

Chinese Grand Prix

  • Nico Rosberg became the third son of a Grand Prix winner to score a victory for himself, joining Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve
  • Rosberg took 111 starts to score his first race win, the fifth-longest wait
  • Mercedes achieved their first victory since Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1955 Italian Grand Prix
  • More Chinese Grand Prix stats and facts

Bahrain Grand Prix

  • Two Lotus drivers finished on the podium for the first time since the 1979 Spanish Grand Prix, when Carlos Reutemann and Mario Andretti did so driving different models
  • Four Renault-engined cars finished in the top four for the first time since the 1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix
  • Force India led a race for the second time, thanks to Paul di Resta
  • More Bahrain Grand Prix stats and facts

Spanish Grand Prix

  • Pastor Maldonado scored his first F1 victory and pole position, and the first of each for a Venezuelan driver
  • Williams 130-race win drought was the second-longest of all time
  • Five different teams won the first five races of the year, matching the record set in 1983
  • More Spanish Grand Prix stats and facts

Monaco Grand Prix

Canadian Grand Prix

  • A record seven different drivers won the first seven races of the year: Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Pastor Maldonado, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton
  • McLaren marked their 300th start using Mercedes power with their 73rd victor together
  • The F1 podium was filled by GP2 graduates for the first time ever: Hamilton was joined by Romain Grosjean and Perez
  • More Canadian Grand Prix stats and facts

European Grand Prix

British Grand Prix

German Grand Prix

  • Alonso became the fifth F1 driver to reach 30 Grand Prix wins, joining Schumacher, Prost, Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna
  • McLaren achieved the fastest ever stationary pit stop time, changing Button’s four wheels in 2.31s
  • Schumacher became the oldest driver to set the fastest lap in a Grand Prix since Brabham 42 years earlier, and is the seventh-oldest of all time
  • More German Grand Prix stats and facts

Hungarian Grand Prix

  • McLaren set their 150th pole position. They would have had it in Spain, but Hamilton lost pole position due to a penalty
  • Grosjean made his first front-row start, the first for a French driver since Jean Alesi in the 1999 French Grand Prix
  • More Hungarian Grand Prix stats and facts

Belgian Grand Prix

  • Grosjean would become the first driver to serve a race ban since Schumacher in 1994
  • Alonso’s streak of 23 consecutive points finishes ended one short of Schumacher’s record (although Schumacher did so when points were not offered down to tenth place)
  • Maldonado collected three penalties in one weekend
  • More Belgian Grand Prix stats and facts

Italian Grand Prix

  • McLaren passed Williams’ tally of front-row lock-outs reaching 62, with Ferrari ahead on 70
  • Ma Qing Hua became the first Chinese driver to participate in an official F1 weekend
  • More Italian Grand Prix stats and facts

Singapore Grand Prix

Japanese Grand Prix

  • Vettel’s second career ‘grand slam’ – he won, led every lap and set pole position and fastest lap
  • He set his fourth consecutive pole position at Suzuka, maintaining his 100% record
  • Massa scored his first podium finish in 36 races, and Kamui Kobayashi his first ever
  • More Japanese Grand Prix stats and facts

Korean Grand Prix

Indian Grand Prix

  • Vettel led 205 laps in a row in Singapore, Japan, Korea and India, the fifth-longest streak of all time
  • He also scored the 150th win for a Renault-engined car
  • McLaren set their 150th fastest lap
  • Schumacher set a new record for most laps completed by a racing, passing Rubens Barrichello’s tally of 16,631. By the end of the season Schumacher had reached 16,825
  • More Indian Grand Prix stats and facts

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

United States Grand Prix

  • Like Mika Hakkinen before him, Hamilton won his penultimate start for McLaren in America. Hakkinen did so at Indianapolis in 2001
  • McLaren scored their 181st win, giving them more victories since they entered F1 in 1966 than any other team
  • Vettel started his 100th Grand Prix in the same country where he made his debut in 2007
  • More United States Grand Prix stats and facts

Brazilian Grand Prix

  • Schumacher finished his last Grand Prix in seventh place in car number seven. The seven-times world champion started his first Grand Prix from seventh place
  • McLaren achieved their 58th consecutive points finish, covering every race in which Button and Hamilton were team mates. They surpassed the record previously held by Ferrari
  • Hulkenberg led a race for the first time
  • More Brazilian Grand Prix stats and facts

Over to you

Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the 2012 season? Share them in the comments.

2012 F1 season review

Browse all 2012 F1 season review articles

Images © Red Bull/Getty images, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Lotus F1 Team/LAT, Red Bull/Getty images, Williams/LAT, McLaren/Hoch Zwei, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, HRT F1 Team, Red Bull/Getty images, Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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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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23 comments on “2012 F1 season statistics part two: Stats and facts”

  1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    23rd December 2012, 10:44

    Wow, startling to see how much longer a drought Felipe had between podiums than any other Ferrari driver. Almost double.

    1. I think he equalled or surpassed the previous record for most races without winning by a Ferrari driver, previously held by Stefan Johansson. Anyone can confirm this?

  2. I forgot Maldonado got three penalties in one weekend

  3. People always go on about how closely fought this year was, when in fact… it wasn’t THAT good. In 2010 there were 4 drivers at the last race who could have won (almost 5) and the title was one with almost 30 fewer points. With those top 5 drivers being split by far fewer points. People just tend to forget this as the racing that went with it wasn’t as dramatic.

    Granted more teams and drivers won in 2012, but both Williams and Mercedes were a constant story of never fulfilling potential, same with McLaren really.

  4. Chronometrically, that is to say without taking into account mechanical penalties (e.g. gearbox) and fuel faux pas, Lewis outqualified Jenson more in 2012 (17) than Jenson did Lewis in 2010, 2011 and 2012 combined (14).

  5. One of my favorite statistics is that the winning driver’s teammate failed to score a single point in eleven races. In comparison: this happened only three times last season. But this falls one short of the record: in 1993, the winner’s teammate didn’t score in twelve races.

    Somewhere during the second lap of the USA GP, Michael Schumacher took over the record for most kilometres raced. With 80,902, he took over the record from Rubens Barrichello with 80,607 kilometres (that’s about twice Earth’s equator).

    In Belgium, no German driver started the race from the top 9. That was the first time this has happened since the 2003 Japanese GP: in that race, Heidfeld started from only 11th. Frentzen, Michael and Ralf Schumacher started from 12th, 14th and 19th respectively.

    The Brazilian GP was Renault’s 500th Grand Prix. But unfortunately no Renault-powered car finished in the top three, just like Ford-Cosworth’s 500th GP (Australia 2001) and Ferrari’s 500th GP (Britain 1992).

    The championship was mathematically decided when the driver in sixth place (Vettel himself) crossed the finish line. That is the highest position in which the championship was decided in history.

    With Hamilton moving to Mercedes next year, Mercedes will maintain their record of starting every race with a World Champion in their line-up.

    1. Adding to that: 12 drivers set fastest lap this season (a new record), but none was set by a Ferrari driver for the first time since 1994.

    2. Wasn’t the title decided by 5th place in 2008?

      1. That’s correct. But ‘6’ is a higher number than ‘5’

        1. schumacher won the title in 2003 with an 8th remember…!

          also can you explain:

          the winning driver’s teammate failed to score a single point in eleven races.

          1. @sato113

            schumacher won the title in 2003 with an 8th remember…!

            He did in fact finish 8th in the race where he won his 6th, but I’m talking about mathematically decided: as soon as Barrichello won the last race of 2003, there was no mathematical chance for Raikkonen to win the title. Therefore the race was decided when the driver in 1st place crossed the finish line.

            For the second question: for instance the Brazil GP. Button won the race, but his teammate Hamilton failed to score a point. This happened eleven times.

        2. @andae23 Great stats as usual, was also confused by the highest position and didn’t find any clear alternative except lowest point score but probably not true due to previous point system. Maybe lowest finishing driver would suit best ?

          Anyway, great year of stat from you, always had nice addition to Keith article in the matter

          1. Yeah, apparently it brings a lot of confusion. ‘lowest finishing driver’ would probably be the best way to describe it :)

    3. that’s about twice Earth’s equator

      That’s a startling way to consider Michael’s career, that he set off all those years ago and has raced around the world twice since. Even with some fairly long stretches at the wheel of those early 2000’s Ferraris it’s still an interesting way to spend a life..

  6. Schumacher became the oldest driver on an F1 podium since Jack Brabham in 1972

    Surely that was 1970? Otherwise great stats article as always!

  7. Am I being dense? Where’s part 1? :D

  8. Here’s an intriguing fact: Out of all the race winners this season, Hamilton is the only driver NOT to have won a race the BBC have shown live, coupled with this fact here are his results in the races the Beeb have shown live:

    China – 3rd
    Spain – 8th
    Monaco – 5th
    Valencia – DNF
    Silverstone – 8th
    Spa – DNF
    Singapore – DNF
    Korea – 10th
    Abu Dhabi – DNF
    Brazil – DNF

    It’s gets even more intriguing & funny from here, that’s all of Hamilton’s DNFs from this season covered. Coincidence? Too fanatical to say it isn’t, looks like the Beeb have been Lewis’ cryptonite this season.

  9. davidnotcoulthard
    23rd December 2012, 23:49

    I think Vettel started 23rd with an
    HRT behind him, everybody in the media seem to miss that
    (either that or I’m just plain wrong – If I’m end up being right though would Abu Dhabi be the “most common mistake by everybody on the media?

  10. I believed a very important statistic of the year that somehow nobody has mentioned is that this 4 year drought since 2008 is the longest period that any of the big 3 FERRARI / MCLAREN / WILLIAMS has failed to win a title. I could add Lotus to that but since this current Lotus team is actually the “enstone team” and in its previous guises has already upset the others I did not.

  11. I think it is the first time that they were competing the last twelve consecutive champions,thirteen when Vettel cross the line in Brazil !!! Maybe is the last …

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