Rosberg joins Vettel, Schumacher and Ascari on six-in-a-row

2016 Chinese Grand Prix stats and facts

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With his six consecutive grand prix victory, Nico Rosberg joined a small and very special group of F1 drivers.

In the 66-year history of the sport, just three other drivers have managed to win six in a row:

DriverConsecutive winsRaces
Sebastian Vettel9Belgium 2013 – Brazil 2013
Alberto Ascari7Belgium 1952 – Argentina 1953*
Michael Schumacher7Europe 2004 – Hungary 2004
Michael Schumacher6Italy 2000 – Malaysia 2001
Nico Rosberg6Mexico 2015 – China 2016

If Rosberg is going to extend his streak further he’ll need to win at Sochi – a venue where his team mate is unbeaten.

Rosberg has now won more races than any other non-championship-winning driver. This was his 17th career victory moving him ahead of Stirling Moss. However other drivers before him have held this record but gone on to become champions, something he is now in a strong position to do so.

This is the first time since 2004 that the same driver has won the first three races of the season. Having done so, Rosberg would make history if he went on to miss out on the title: Every other driver who began a season with three wins in a row became champion in that season.

The last driver to begin a season with three wins
Those drivers were Schumacher in 2004, 2000 and 1994, Damon Hill in 1996, Nigel Mansell in 1992 and Ayrton Senna in 1991.

However as this is the longest calendar ever in F1 history, Rosberg’s three wins represent a smaller percentage of the total points available than ever before. He is 36 ahead but there is 450 still to win.

It was a weekend to forget for Hamilton. Once his gearbox change penalty was announced his chances of extending his pole positions streak were doomed, and his power unit problem consigned him to a back-of-the-grid start. His eight-race streak of podium finishes, which began at Suzuka last year, came to an end.

Unusually there was only one Mercedes driver on the podium, earning the team its 100th podium appearance. They are the ninth team to reach a century of podiums, joining Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, Lotus, Brabham, Red Bull, Benetton and Renault – the latter also on 100.

That opened the door for Daniel Ricciardo to take his fourth front row start, though he is still looking for his first pole position. Rosberg took his 23rd, moving him ahead of Fernando Alonso and leaving him just one shy of the top ten. As with Hamilton in the first two races, Rosberg failed to hold the lead at the start of lap one having started from pole.

Ricciardo has led more laps than Hamilton this year
Mercedes’ run of eight consecutive front row lock-outs came to an end. However Ferrari occupied the second row of the grid for the third race running.

Rosberg’s pole position lap time of 1’35.402 was 3.1 seconds slower than the course record, set by Schumacher in 2004. Unusually, the track record for this circuit was set during a race, not a qualifying or practice session. The fastest lap this year, set by Nico Hulkenberg, was 7.6 seconds slower than the record.

This was the second time Hulkenberg has set the fastest lap. He previously did so at Singapore four years ago. This was the fourth fastest lap for Force India – the others were achieved by Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez.

Daniil Kvyat reached the podium for the second time in his career, finishing third for the first time. It was a timely third podium finish for a Russian driver in F1 ahead of the country’s round of the championship.

Daniel Ricciardo became the fifth different driver to lead a race so far this year. He only led for two laps, but that’s one more than Hamilton has managed all season. Rosberg has been in the lead for 133 of the 170 laps raced so far (78.2%).

For the first time since the V6 hybrid turbo regulations were introduced in 2014, all of the cars which started the race saw the chequered flag.

This was the second-largest field to have a 100% finishing rate in an F1 race. All 22 drivers were classified, but at the European Grand Prix five years ago 24 cars started and finished.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Chinese Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.

2016 Chinese Grand Prix

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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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61 comments on “Rosberg joins Vettel, Schumacher and Ascari on six-in-a-row”

  1. 3rd race of the season – 3rd time the pole sitter lost the lead by the end of the first lap, matching 2002. If it happens for a 4th time in 4 races, then unless I’m mistaken, that’ll be a record.

    1993 had a high number of polesitters losing the lead by the end of the first lap with either 8 or 10 depending on if you count Prost and Hill starting at the back of the grid in Hungary and Portugal having stalling on the warm up lap.

  2. He has won more races in a row than his father in whole F1 career. Keke won world championship with only one race in 1982. Good old times? I don’t think so.

    1. Why? 11 drivers won a race that season, none of them more than twice, including 9 races in a row with a different winner. Wouldn’t some argue that is the very kind of variety and unpredictability that is wanted, is the reason for all the gadgets and gimmicks and manipulation so decried, and is the opposite of one team running away with it race after race? Rosberg was obviously the most consistent in a season where many drivers had a chance. A very hard earned WDC I would say, no? Maybe there’s a temptation to think winning the WDC with one race won equals fluking it?

    2. I’m with Robbie here. It shows how closely contested that season was with a lot of ups and downs and twists and turns, and the whole grid being close enough overall to have the balance shift between teams and drivers regularly.

      1. The season of 1982. Villeneuve and Paletti killed, Pironi heavily injured. Eleven different winers, sounds like lottery to me. No, thanks.

        1. Thecdeaths and injuries were tragic indeed. However having lots of different winners sounds like evenly matched cars and drivers, like 2003 or 2012, which had 8 winners each.

          1. Monaco GP 1982 was a cracker! It really started my fire for F1. I still remember it vividly. Prost smashin’ his Renault in the harbor, cars spinning in last lap. Didn’t know who won after the race was finished… That was good indeed. However, cars were evenly matched not because someone imposed it by rule, it was because of technological limitations and everyone was looking to improve searching better solutions… Today, limitations are artificial and that’s what kills the spirit of this sport. On the other hand running this sport without imposed limitations – with the technology at disposal these days – would skyrocket the development costs. We live in another time, trying to emulate the past is an effort in vain. I like F1 as it is now. It evolved massively and I’m glad it did.

    3. It seems he failed to pass on champion without many wins gene. ..

  3. Ricciardo’s fourth front row start? Shanghai and Melbourne 2014. I can’t think of the other one, when was it?

    1. 2014: Australia/ Shanghai
      2015: Singapore
      2016: Shanghai

      1. Ricciardo will get a pole position soon. Probably in the wet. And it will be massive and well deserved. He just keeps performing awesome laps in qualifying.

    2. @enigma Singapore 2015

  4. Daniil Kvyat achieved his second podium finish in F1. On both occasions he finished directly behind Vettel and directly ahead of Ricciardo.

    1. … And on both occasions, Ricciardo would have been ahead of him if not for having to pit due to damage.

  5. Out of all the drivers who have never won a WDC, Rosberg has:

    – Won the most races
    – Won the most consecutive races
    – The most pole positions
    – The most consecutive pole positions
    – The most front row starts
    – The most consecutive front row starts
    – The most points (points system has changed, uncertainty)
    – The most consecutive podiums
    – The most pole positions, wins and podiums in one season.
    – 5 laps away from leading more laps than Moss

    He will be either remembered as one of the best without a WDC, or an average one-time WDC like Button and Kimi.

    1. Hmm…well we don’t yet know if he will finish his career having won zero, one, or multiple WDC’s. Can he finish his career before it is decided how he will be remembered? For now, he has only had a consistent race winning and WDC capable car for just over two seasons. I would say for now he is not squandering an amazing car and is up against a top driver who seems generally just a tad more at one with it in it’s first two seasons. So far I am remembering Nico as a tough teammate and opponent racking up great success who LH has not been able to take for granted one race to the next for over two seasons.

      1. “an average one-time WDC like Button and Kimi”

        There is no such thing as an average WDC! A wdc is in the end an wdc!

    2. Nigel Mansell had a lot of those records before 1992, that doesn’t make him any less of a great driver. Same applies with Rosberg, he was stomped last season but gave Hamilton a hard time in 2014 (unreliability aside) and now he’s stronger than ever.

    3. Given that he has been driving one of the most dominant cars in F1 history, it’s no wonder he has those stats. I will remember him as a above average driver because if those Mercs had competition around them, I doubt we would see Rosberg up there. There were drives in the Merc (when it wasn’t dominating) where Rosberg was just completely anonymous.

      He might get the job done but I will still rate at least three other drivers above him.

  6. Rosberg is the first driver in the Pirelli age to win a race not starting on the softest available compound. Webber had this possibility in India 2013 is it weren’t for his KERS failure and even then it seemed unlikely.

    1. Which is why his start from pole yesterday that saw DR take the first corner shouldn’t be considered negatively.

  7. First time all cars finished AND a safety car in the race? Need stats gurus to confirm.

    1. 2016 Chinese GP seems to be race n°6 in history with all cars started finished. I know the first one was 1961 Dutch GP.

    2. By my SC stats, it is.

      Previously the races where there had been one retirement and SC
      Britain 2005
      Italy 2008
      Brazil 2010
      Japan 2011
      USA 2013

      Of those, in Brazil and USA the SC was related to the only retirement of the race. Britain had one car stalled which was retrieved to the pit lane, Italy had SC start and Japan had one for debris.

  8. Vettel equals Raikkonen with 81 podiums, 5th all-time. The top five consisting of Schumacher 155, Prost 106, Alonso 97, Hamilton 89, VET & RAI 81…

    1. Kimi also got his 156th point finish, 3rd all-time, leaving Button on 155. (1st: MSC 221, 2nd: ALO 179)

      1. Sixth time all the drivers finish the race

    2. Fudge Ahmed (@)
      19th April 2016, 12:07

      Surprised there wasn’t more backlash around Vettel effectively taking out Raikonnen then finishing ahead of him. Raikonnen looked the faster car in qually and race for the first time in months… Shame.

  9. at the risk of jumping the gun…

    if rosberg becomes champion this year, he would be the second person (after damon hill) to follow in his father’s footsteps by winning the driver’s title.

    and like damon hill, his title would have come 34 years after his father’s first world title – 1962 and 1996 for the hills, 1982 and 2016 for the rosbergs.

    1. I feel old now :(

    2. Shouldn’t Hamilton feel obliged to ease off just a little bit to make this happen? I mean, when will there be another chance like this? He’ll be a proper spoilsport if he wins this year :-).

      1. Ha ha! There is only one goal in the mind of an F1 driver: winning!

      2. When Mick Schumacher joins F1 perhaps?

    3. Nico Rosberg World Champion confirmed right there.

    4. Both Hill and Rosberg have won the first three rounds as well, with their main team competition coming from Ferrari with a highly regarded World Champion German in the lead car :)

      Hill sported the number 5 that year, shame it wasn’t number 6!

  10. Japan 2015 had all cars start and finish as well, no? So that would have been the first hybrid era race to have 100% finishers.

    1. Nasr retired few laps before the end. He was classified though.

  11. keith the “2016 F1 driver from guides” link it don’t works right. Show’s the 2012 season!

  12. By a quick search this was the first qualifying since Austria 1982 (Piquet, Patrese, Prost) where top three had surname starting with same letter. Japan 2004 had been close with Schumachers 1-2 and Sato 4th.

  13. Daniel Ricciardo has finished every race of the season so far in 4th place.

    1. Last time this happened, it was also an Australian in a Red Bull.

    2. Lol, unlucky Riciardo.

  14. most red flags in a race weekend. someone tell me?
    here we had 2 in fp1 and 1 in Q2.

    1. Qualifying for the 2009 Japanese GP had 3 red flags, not sure if any of the practice sessions before had red flags.

  15. As an aside to all these lovely statistics (which are fascinating), the thing that struck me about the story above is that Hulkenberg’s fastest lap this year was 7.6 seconds slower than the track record. 7.6!!!! That’s an age. These cars in the current set-up are really slow. I am not sure if there have been any track layout changes though which might have had some effect.

    1. And yet in the last race they beat the lap record. These cars are really fast!

      One data point does not make a trend. Also: you have a short memory! ;)

      1. I guess it’s not a very significant statistic. Fastest laps have never been very significant and they’re even less so these days. In this case it was a lapped driver who finished in P15 who set the fastest lap.

      2. They didn’t beat the lap record in the race, they beat the old race lap record in qualifying…. Hardly the same thing.

        1. In Bahrain, the lap record was beaten outright. Fastest qualifying/practice lap from 2005 was beaten.

          The reason the race lap records are still so far out of reach is because they used to run down to fumes in the race at least 3 of 4 times while racing flat out on soft tyres – which doesn’t really happen anymore with no re-fueling.

          1. Doesn’t matter the reason, it is still slower. The previous formula a decade ago had cars and a race system that sees them finishing races 3 or 4 minutes faster then the current formula.

    2. The outright speed/lap times are less relevant in a race than in Qualifying (aka over a single lap), and ever since 2010 (due to the ban of in-race refuelling) the fastest race lap times have been several seconds slower than the fastest practice/qualifying lap times.

  16. Not a stat as such, but Hamilton’s 36 point deficit with 18 races to go represents an 8% net deficit from the points left available.

    After Belgium 2014 Hamilton was 29 points behind Rosberg with 6 races to go including one with double points. That represents a 16% deficit to Rosberg.

    So Hamilton is currently in twice as good a position as he was at his worst point in 2014. With 18 races to go that is hardly a surprise, but it puts it in perspective that all things being average, Hamilton is very likely to win the championship still.

    Current odds from Betfair: Rosberg 1.8/1 Hamilton 2.5/1. Worth a punt on Hamilton I’d say!

  17. Jim Clark also won six races in a row in 1965, however he did not participate in Monaco

    1. Yeah he was off winning the indy 500 that weekend!!!

  18. 188th consecutive race start for Nico Rosberg. Now leading Patrese (187).

  19. Nico Rosberg has the highest number of points three races into a season in F1 history (granted, this was largely helped by the fact that its only been possible since 2010, and the last driver to win the first three races was Schumacher in 2004).

  20. 139th pole for Mercedes as an engine supplier – equals Ford Cosworth, trails Ferrari (209) and Renault (213).

    100th podium for Mercedes – equals Renault in 8th.

    First circuit at which Rosberg has managed 5 podiums.

    Hamilton’s first 3 results of this season are the same as Massa’s in 2010 (with both drivers starting outside the top 20 in the 3rd race) – however, Hamilton is 36 points off the lead whereas Massa was leading the Championship in 2010.

    Vettel and Raikkonen have qualified 3rd and 4th respectively in all 3 races this year.

    Ricciardo has started 2nd 4 times without a pole – equals Jean Behra, Richie Ginther, and Eddie Irvine. Other drivers do have more than 4 front-row starts without a pole (Behra leads on 10), as in the past there were often 3 or 4 cars per row.

    First race with 22 starters since Japan 2014 (another race in which a Manor/Marussia was running in the top 4 at one point). First race with 22 finishers since USA 2012.

    Hamilton’s run of 8 consecutive podiums comes to an end – Rosberg now has the longest unbroken streak with 7.

    Hamilton’s run of 8 front-row starts (and thus Mercedes’ run of 8 consecutive front-row lockouts) comes to an end.

    128 overtakes – beats the 112 from Brazil 2012.

    40th race in a row without a McLaren on the podium.

    First time since 2009 that Hamilton has not finished on the podium in China.

  21. I don’t know the answer here, so this might be a question for Keith, but how did this race compare in terms of total of overtakes on the track? I seem to remember one dreary Monza race many years ago that only had a handful of overtakes in the whole race. This China Grand prix would seem to have had about a hundred! Is there somewhere that these stats are kept? Apologies for the question but the F1 geek in me was just wondering!

    1. I just saw the reply above – obviously my computer had not refreshed! Thank you @paulglib

  22. Did they give Nico an empty bottle of Mumm ?

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