Start, Suzuka, 2016

The four slow starts which cost Hamilton dearly

2016 Japanese Grand Prix stats and facts

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With the 23rd win of his career, Nico Rosberg now has as many race victories as three-times world champion Nelson Piquet: the man who won the titles either side of Rosberg’s father’s 1982 championship.

The younger Rosberg may not be a champion himself, but yesterday’s win means he is closer to achieving it now than ever before. The minimum he must score in the four remaining races to guarantee the title regardless of what Hamilton does is three second places and one third. He can’t win the title at the next race but could at the round after: the Mexican Grand Prix.

Interactive Data: Constructors' Champions
Interactive Data: Constructors’ Champions
It is now mathematically impossible for any non-Mercedes driver to win the drivers’ championship. The also team put a lock on the 2016 constructors’ championship. They are the fifth team in history to win three constructors’ championships in a row, joining Ferrari (1975-77 and 1999-2004), McLaren (1988-91), Williams (1992-94) and Red Bull (2010-13).

Across these five periods of dominance the only time the drivers’ title changed hands between team mates was in 1988-89 when Ayrton Senna lost the championship to Alain Prost. Then as now, reliability was highly significant in that intra-team title fight.

Hamilton’s poor reliability isn’t the only factor which has worked against him in the championship fight: His starts have too.

The statistics on this can be misleading. Rosberg’s net position change on lap one is much worse than Hamilton (25 places lost compared to nine) and Rosberg has ended lap one in a lower position than he started more times than his team mate (six to four).

But Hamilton’s starts have been more frequently damaging to his race-winning hopes. Every time he’s lost places at the start he’s given away at least five, ruining those chances of victory. Rosberg’s losses of position were almost entirely accounted for by two races, Canada and Malaysia. The worst of those, in Malaysia, was not due to a slow getaway by Rosberg and the damage it did was eradicated by Hamilton’s retirement:

Those four bad starts have cost Hamilton dearly. Had he held his position at each of them he would have gained an extra 27 points and deprived Rosberg of 21 more. That 48-point swing is significant: Hamilton now trails Rosberg by 33.

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Rosberg took the 30th pole position of his career by the slender margin of 13 thousandths of a second. At his average speed of 230.622kph, that’s a gap of just 83 centimetres. This was the closest front row since Hamilton beat Rosberg to pole at Singapore in 2014 by seven thousandths of a second.

It was Rosberg’s third pole position at Suzuka but until yesterday he had never won a race at the Japanese circuit. Hamilton remains yet to score a pole position at this track: his two Japanese Grand Prix poles occurred when the race was held at Fuji in 2007 and 2008.

Hamilton has only started in front of his team mate at Suzuka twice in eight appearances. In 2010 he qualified ahead of Jenson Button but started behind due to a gearbox change penalty.

Hamilton’s third place finish was the 100th podium appearance of his career. He’s the third driver to reach this century after Prost and Michael Schumacher.

Bottas passes Clark

Jim Clark, Lotus, Brands Hatch, 1967
Jim Clark only raced for Lotus in F1
Valtteri Bottas made his 73rd start in a grand prix last weekend. As all of them have been with Williams, he exceeded Jim Clark’s tally for the longest career spent entirely with the same team. Clark started all 72 of his races with Lotus. This record was previously beaten by Hamilton when he was at McLaren, prior to his switch to Mercedes.

Haas got both their drivers into Q3 for the first time ever. Seventh on the grid for Romain Grosjean is their highest starting position to date, but he very nearly started two places higher.

Grosjean’s lap time was measured as the same as Sergio Perez’s to within one-thousandth of a second. Perez started ahead because he had set his lap time first, but Grosjean revealed he had lost a few previous thousandths when his DRS failed to open. Perez gained an extra place thanks to Sebastian Vettel’s grid penalty, so had it not been for his DRS problem Grosjean would have started fifth.

Adding to Grosjean’s frustration, he posted the seventh finish for Haas this year in eleventh position – the highest place which scores no points. But it could be worse: five of those finishes were scored by team mate Esteban Gutierrez and he, unlike Grosjean, is still yet to score a point this year.

Honda’s home race wasn’t quite as excruciating as it was 12 months ago, but it was little better. As last year Fernando Alonso was the only one of McLaren’s drivers to reach Q2, and he was just 0.178s closer to the fastest time in that session than he was in 2015.

Start, Suzuka, 2016
The full field saw the chequered flag
Finally, for only the second time this year all 22 starters finished the race. The other time this happened was in China. However Sunday’s race was also remarkable in that no penalties were handed down to any of the drivers – at least once Mercedes abandoned their protest against Max Verstappen.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

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

2016 Japanese Grand Prix

Browse all 2016 Japanese Grand Prix 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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106 comments on “The four slow starts which cost Hamilton dearly”

  1. Ferrari have had just a single podium in the last eight races. That’s compared to eight in the first eight races. In fact, in those last eight races, only five drivers (Vettel, the two Mercedes and the two Red Bull drivers) have achieved a podium finish.

    Hamilton is enduring a five-race winless streak for the second time this season. He also can no longer match his highest tally of wins in a season – the most he can now achieve is ten. Oddly Mercedes have managed more 1-3s this season (five) than they have managed 1-2 finishes (four).

    It’s the first time in his short F1 career that Pascal Wehrlein has finished behind his team mate in a race. This also means that Esteban Ocon has finished more races as not the last runner than Rio Haryanto in just five races.

    Force India are only 21 points away from surpassing their highest points total ever. They currently have 134 points, compared to 155 (141 without Abu Double) back in 2014.

    This was the first Suzuka appearance for Sebastian Vettel where has not been on the podium. The last time F1 had a race at Suzuka where Vettel was not on the podium, it resulted in the championship being all but decided (2006).

    Prior to the race on Sunday, the amount of victories in the Japanese Grand Prix reflected how many World Championships each active driver had. Is this another good omen for Nico Rosberg?

    1. Prior to the race on Sunday, the amount of victories in the Japanese Grand Prix reflected how many World Championships each active driver had. Is this another good omen for Nico Rosberg?

      That is a fun stat, thanks!

  2. I’d like to know of those bad starts, how many were caused by issues with the car and how many were driver error.

    1. All were because of Hamilton, not Mercedes

      1. And that is clearly a lie because I know that at least two of them weren’t. I’d like something more than your blind faith in other drivers to go on.

        1. You should ask Hamilton himself,
          at the risk of returning with bunny ears.

        2. And why do you ask the question then, if you already know the answer?
          Or at least the only answer you are willing to accept as true.
          Matter of fact is that those single clutches they are obliged to use this year are quite delicate to set up and then also to manipulate when the lights go out. We have not seen Mercedes issue any statement that any mechanical failure was root cause behind the slow get-aways. Cant recall that Hamilton has hinted towards that either. All drivers have to handle this on their own, as race engineers are no longer allowed to support with advise on mechanical settings at warm-up lap. Some drivers have been better than others to get this right.

          1. I ask because I don’t have ALL the facts, as I mentioned. Think you need to re-read what I posted. Nowhere did I state that I knew it all.

          2. @Cyber Mercedes have publicly said several times that the drivers (both Nico and Lewis) did everything right their end within all measurable parameters but the clutch design let them down – it seems really flaky about handling torque and just dumps it all through the wheels rather than regulating it properly.

            It seems to tie up with Mercedes dishing out more and more BHP from the engine – the modified clutch design just can’t handle it and is missing the fine grain control the second clutch control offered for managing it.

          3. @optimaximal, agreed – the Mercedes clutch is clearly fickle and delicate to deal with!
            Good points you make as well about potential design compromises they may have made, to make it as light and simple as possible, but now with the increased power/torque thrown at it, its only going to behave even worse for the drivers to set and manage the biting point optimally…

        3. Mercedes said his clutch had an issue in Italy and in Japan Lewis said it was his fault, I don’t know about the others.

      2. Now that just isn’t true, we already know that some of the bad starts were down to the Mercedes clutch system which has also cost Rosberg just not as frequently.

        It’s also worth noting that Reliability has cost Hamilton at least 45 points this season even if you take a conservative approach to some of the issues he has suffered. This really humbles the performance of Rosberg who people say is having his best season ever – Even though Hamilton is having a poor season by his own standards with several unforced errors in qualifying and the race to add to his poor reliability issues, if you take the reliability out of the equation he would still be ahead of Rosberg overall.

        1. 45 points? Only by your counting.

          1. Malaysia 25
            Bahrain 10
            Australia 7
            Italy 7
            Japan 10
            China ????
            Spa 10
            Baku ???

    2. Mercedes have stated more than once that they have a hardware/design issue with their clutch which is contributing to the bad starts both drivers have had this year.

      1. Nice sarcastic stat.

    3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      10th October 2016, 13:56

      @franton I’d like to know what the team is doing about it. This happened last year and both Hamilton and Rosberg were swamped by 2 Ferraris and 2 Williams cars.

      Hamilton has had the issue since Australia and has been trying to improve his starts since then. We are now in Round 17, you all heard right, round 17 and it’s still there. He hasn’t been able to and this championship has been decided by starts and poor reliability.

      We saw what poor starts did to Mark Webber – they turned him into a second-rate driver that he couldn’t bounce back from when he was actually as quick in cars as Seb that didn’t suit Vettel. Red Bull never fixed the issue because Seb leading without opposition suited them after Turkey and 2010. In fact we saw what happened when Mark threatened Seb once in Malaysia.

      So why hasn’t Mercedes fixed the issue or explained what they are doing to correct it?

      This is a championship defining fault in the Mercedes. It doesn’t affect Nico as much but it has crippled Lewis…

      1. @freelittlebirds Apart from the generic platitudes about “we need to fix this” and “consulting with our partners at Daimler”, we haven’t heard a lot. I do feel cheated because we haven’t had a straight fight between the two in a race yet.

        I watched the cars doing practice starts at the end of the pit lane at Suzuka. Saw Lewis make a perfect getaway then. Is the clutch design only good for one getaway? Could they possibly be causing more issues for themselves with all the tests they do? Who knows.

        1. We had a straight fight at Singapore.

        2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          10th October 2016, 14:10

          @franton
          Were you at Suzuka?

          I hope Mercedes didn’t “webber” Lewis on purpose.

          if you don’t want the 2 cars on track to meet slow starts are practically the best way to ensure that the 1st corners are incident-free. Of course, it’s the exact opposite of what everyone else wants cause we want to see them race.

          It’s too late to fix it now – it’s destroyed the championship just as the car nearly cost Lewis the championship in 2014. However, it could easily destroy 2017 as can a combination of starts and car issues.

          I don’t believe Lewis can overcome this issue because Marc tried very hard and he couldn’t. It’s like a master guitarist being given a guitar with a neck setup that they are not used to and which throws them off. When the adrenaline pumps, you can’t correct it. It is the car because Nico has also been affected but to a lesser degree. Starting the car isn’t the issue for all these drivers, it’s gaining positions as they start like Alonso does:-)

          1. @freelittlebirds No, I saw it on the Sky F1 coverage. Ted managed to get a good shot of it from the pit lane.

            Yep. I wrote this championship off as Nico’s after the fourth race where Lewis had issues. That was based on nearly 32 years watching F1 and never having seen a driver of any calibre pull it back after so many early season issues. But yet, I’m apparently not realistic.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            10th October 2016, 14:23

            @Franton We get coverage from NBC Sports in the States and they cover FP2 (which is fine).

            Yeah, it looked really bad after the 1st 4 races. Lewis managed to pull it back and gain a lead but then the car reliability caught up with him. Everytime I watch a race, I’m expecting the start to decide the race or waiting for something crazy to happen like the engine exploding or his team to put him on full wet tyres.

            The only person not questioning Mercedes’ strategies during the race is Niki Lauda:-) Full wets, of course! It could rain over the next 30 laps, ja!!!:-)

      2. @freelittlebirds I doubt that you can accurately claim ‘Hamilton has had the issue since Australia’ without acknowledging Nico has too. They have both had the same clutch and have both had to work on their starts throughout the season. Not that I expect fair comparisons when posts claim where Hamilton would be in the points without his reliability issues, and ignore where Nico would be without his at the same time.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          10th October 2016, 14:57

          @Robbie Absolutely Nico has had the issue. That much is obvious and it was most obvious last year when both Nico and Lewis were swamped. It just doesn’t affect him as much.

          We saw that at Red Bull – the issue that crippled Mark was a non-issue for Seb.

          As long as you can beat your teammate and take the lead while he loses 8 positions, isn’t it fair to say that the issue affects one drive more than the other?

          As a team, would you try to fix that issue seeing that it had given 100 points to 57 in the 1st 4 races?

          If the team doesn’t fix it or make every effort to fix it spending millions and millions, can they make any argument that you did not intentionally hand the championship over to the other driver?

          We are not even taking into account engine reliability where Toto admitted that it’s practically “one in a million” chance of Lewis’ engines having the issues they are and they’ve pretty much sealed the championship after the break.

          1. You must have missed Hamilton apologizing for his bad start to his team,…. The cars do not have launch control anymore, it is up to the driver. Hamilton had sadly for you fluffed the start too many times this year.

          2. Actually it is not really one in a million. If we assume that there are 43 engines lying, LH picks out 8 and gets all 3 faulty ones then the chance for this to happen is 0.5% or 1 out 200.
            Reality is that of course he wouldn’t pick 8 right away, he gets 2nd and 3rd that are crappy and has to pick more but nevertheless above scenario is not that all unlikely – 199 people would say otherwise :)

          3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            10th October 2016, 17:55

            How do you come up with 0.5% or 1% out of 200?

            43 is very close to a playing deck – picking 4 aces out a deck is very unlikely – even with 43, it’s extremely unlikely.

            The problem here is knowing what percentage of engines have failures (in our example the aces) – that would be very hard to figure out and you’d have to take into account that not all engines are identical or have the same likelihood of failure.

            Just looking at it and guesstimating, you are definitely talking over 1 in 100,000 but you could easily be talking 1 in millions although the likelihood of that precludes and then foul play is way more likely.

            When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth… SH

          4. Picking 8 unique engines out of 43 is 43!/(8!*(43-8)!) = 145008513
            Since we are looking only those where 3 of them are known faulty then rest can be only 5 unique engines out of 40 and there are 40!/5!*(40-5)! = 658008 chances for this
            So the result is 658008/145005813 or 296/65213 or 0.00453. I rounded it up to 0.5%

            As i said before it is not that simple because the reason why 8 engines is picked is that 2nd and 3rd were faulty but in ideal mathematical world, the chance is approximately 1/200

            *also lying should be laying in first post :)

          5. @nmsi This is really interesting. May I ask if this is actual fact or is there a degree of subjectivity in interpreting things here?

            It’s looks like pure math but I’m too stupid to work it out (no idea what 40! actually means for example.)

          6. @freelittlebirds No you’re missing my point. From all accounts it sounds like this was LH’s mistake, not an issue with the clutch. My point is that it is equal for both drivers. The clutch hasn’t been perfect for both. Both have had their good starts and their bad. Sometimes it’s been the clutch and sometimes it’s been the driver. The team is trying to fix it for both. Every day. So just because you support LH, and this time LH didn’t get a good start and Nico did, does not mean they are failing to fix the problem for LH. That’s just your paranoia talking. They know they don’t have a perfect clutch setup or arrangement or what have you, and it can just as easily catch NR out, but you’ve decided they either need to fix it just for LH, or it’s a conspiracy…those two options only. Wrong.

          7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            11th October 2016, 16:59

            @Robbie Well, let’s look at F1 racing – have we seen any other driver who had issues with starting his car as often as Lewis has this year (5 out of 16 races)? Even Mark Webber I would venture had less trouble and certainly he didn’t lose the championship to starts as we’ve seen this year. Have we heard any talk about Mercedes resolving this issue? They haven’t fixed it for LH, that much is obvious as we saw at Suzuka. Now Lewis might be a bad starter but all indications through his career point to him being as good a starter as anyone on the grid. So what is the issue? Let’s ask the less paranoid:-) Sure he’s apologizing and saying it’s his fault – do you believe for a second that Lewis cannot start a car properly 1/3 of the time?

  3. gap of just 83 centimetres

    which is equivalent to just a 5cm tighter line through each turn at Suzuka (cet. par).

    1. @XF1Fcontr – I’m curious, how do you calculate that? Also, is there any place that shows the typical racing lines for tracks?

      1. I’m guessing 83cm/17(Suzuka has 17 turns) = about 5cm gain or shorter line through each turn, assuming the average speed of 230.622kph everywhere and for both drivers of course.

      2. @phylyp I’m inclined to believe he just divided 83 by 17 (corners) then rounded up. :)

        1. more like 17 corners adding up to 3 full 360 turns, and thus dividing 83cm by 3x2xPi (π)

          PS for the geeks – it’s probably more than 3 full turns, but in the esses I didn’t assume the full turn as you can take a ‘straighter line’
          PPS – full of assumptions. e.g. the tighter a turn, the less speed you typically carry (Spoon!)

        2. @optimaximal – that makes sense, and is simple and elegant. Well, don’t I feel silly now? 😃 Thank you 👍

  4. Lovely symmetry in the stat that after this race Mercedes win the constructors championship and no other driver can win the title. Constructor being the key to the latter fact.

    1. The other interesting stat that caught my eye yesterday was that the top 5 teams all scored points yesterday with both their drivers; and those 10 drivers are the top 10 in the drivers’ championship (although Massa/Alonso are close).

      1. It’s a car’s championship. I miss 2010/2012.

  5. James (@jamesjames123abc)
    10th October 2016, 14:02

    Realistically, Rosberg only needs a win and two 2nd places (and a DNF) to win the title. This would give him a further 61pts, and Hamilton would only be able to get 93pts from the final four races due to that one win for Rosberg, meaning Rosberg would win the title by 1 point (Ros: 364pts, Ham: 363pts).

    Rosberg could actually win the title by getting just 54pts from the final four races, coming from two wins and an 8th place (and a DNF). This, compared to a maximum of 86pts for Hamilton (due to two wins for Rosberg) would see Rosberg win the title by 1 point (Ros: 367pts, Ham: 366pts). This is probably less likely than the first scenario, but it goes to show that the title is firmly in Rosberg’s hands now.

    1. @jamesjames123abc Yes, this is all good, but remember Lewis lost his first championship by a point then won the next year by a point. This isn’t over for either driver until it’s mathematically and conclusively over.

    2. @jamesjames123abc
      So, in the first scenario Ros gets 7 points more out of the last four races than he does in the second, yet he ends up with 3 points less. That literally doesn’t add up (that way) ;-))
      BTW: that what goes for Ros here above, also goes for Ham.

      1. James (@jamesjames123abc)
        10th October 2016, 20:11

        @krxx My mistake, that should read 374pts and 373pts.

  6. “Across these five periods of dominance the only time the drivers’ title changed hands between team mates was in 1988-89 when Ayrton Senna lost the championship to Alain Prost. Then as now, reliability was highly significant in that intra-team title fight.”

    Though had the scoring system not included the “dropped scores” rule 1988 would have gone to Prost.

  7. “Those four bad starts have cost Hamilton dearly. Had he held his position at each of them he would have gained an extra 27 points and deprived Rosberg of 21 more. That 48-point swing is significant: Hamilton now trails Rosberg by 33.”

    You can’t do this for only one driver – if you going to apply it to Hamilton then to be fair you must also apply it to Nico i.e Hungary, Germany then become wins for Rosberg, extra points for him two in Canada, Malaysia etc

    1. I don’t think rationale is supposed to be involved here @Anthony..

    2. Actually, to be “fair” you should apply to Rosberg the same qualifying issues Hamilton had in China and Russia, the same penalty Hammy paid in Belgium and the same failure while leading Lewis had in Sepang.
      Do your math.
      I honestly can’t see how Nico would still be leading the standings in a “fair” scenario.

  8. A stat from Badger GP, all the current champions in the grid have exactly the same number of championships as they have wins in Japan.

    Hamilton 3 WDC, 3 wins (2007, 2014, 2015)
    Alonso 2 WDC, 2 wins (2006, 2008)
    Vettel 4 WDC, 4 wins (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013)
    Button 1 WDC, 1 win (2011)
    Kimi 1 WDC, 1 win (2005)

    And now Rosberg has 1 win, will he get the title and continue the trend?

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      10th October 2016, 14:39

      @fer-no65 Lol, scary stat:-)

      Only 6 out of 11 won it the same year they won the WDC.

      I prefer those odds over the odds of Lewis winning all 4 remaining GPs and still losing the title:-)

  9. Let’s just notice that prior to the change on regulations Hamilton anticipated he would have an upper hand on Rosberg as far as unaided starts is concerned. Hamilton has once more arrogantly outsmarted himself.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      10th October 2016, 14:47

      @petrucci he might not have accounted for the Mercedes design.

      Given Lewis’ racing history, it’s probably more factually accurate to say that Mercedes has outsmarted Lewis.

    2. Can’t remember a statement like that by Lewis.
      Link it or it doesn’t exist.

  10. The amount of records that will be broken by either Hamilton or Rosberg by not winning the title will be immense (most wins, most podiums, most poles,… and what not). Can’t wait for it to end and read this article.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      10th October 2016, 15:12

      @xtwl you forgot, most bad starts:-) staying true to topic… (for once Keith)

    2. @xtwl depends on Hamilton actually winning another race. I know it’s unlikely, but he has 6 wins to his name this year, and the record is 7 by Kimi in 2005 and Schumi in 2006.

  11. This was Rosberg’s 30th pole and his 3rd at Suzuka. He then ended up extending his lead in the championship by 33 points. And it is said that sometimes things come in 3’s. Is this coincidence, conspiracy, numerology or just plain numbers? Probably the latter.

    1. Half Life 3 confirmed.

      1. Along with Shenmue 3. :)

    2. Not only are there 33 points between them, car number 33 also finished between them ;)

      1. @mccosmic @meander And if Rosberg wins the title he’ll be Formula One’s world champion number… 33.

        Is this coincidence, conspiracy, numerology or just plain numbers? Probably the latter.

        Nothing more than coincidence! You can always find things like this if you go looking for them.

  12. A bit off-topic, but WOW! the Jim Clark pic in the Lotus 49, what a looker!

    Jim Clark is a serious candidate for best pilot ever, or at the very least for the top 5 (I would consider Fangio, Clark, Prost, Stewart, Schu… or, if you allow me, Tazio Nuvolari, from the pre-F1 era). But the Lotus 49 is a very serious candidate for most beautiful F1 car ever (I would put it second only to the Eagle Mk-1, a rare bird. Dan Gurney won Spa ’67 on it). There’s a good pic here:
    http://www.sportslook.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Eagle-Mk1.jpg

    1. Cheers for putting two Scotsmen in your top 5 (from a rather bias glasweigan)!!

      1. slàinte!!

        Have you noticed? The Scottish flag is painted on the driver’s helmet in the cufflinks (Jim Clark??).

        Now, Dave Coulthard notoriously wore a helmet like that but of course he never raced the Lotus 49. AFAIK Jim Clark always wore a solid blue helmet. So it’s a bit of a licence in the cufflink’s maker I guess.

        1. @hyoko The cufflinks are showing Graham Hill driving the ’49, with the London Rowing Club inspired helmet design (seen later with his world champion son, Damon Hill.)

          His first drive with the Cosworth engined 49 gave us one of his most famous quotes : “It’s got a bit of poke.”, spoken in his inimitable style.

          1. Yup, you’re right, I stand corrected
            The cufflink helment did remind me of the Coulthard helmet but somehow the white lines didn´t cross in the center. Well, that’s why.

          2. Terrific video on the Lotus 49 debut at Zandvoort ’67 here. All the cars look gorgeous, love the late 60’s!! Jim Clark never got to drive the 49 before the GP weekend and qualified only 8th but grew into the car along the race and got the victory, that’s talent!!
            http://infocuswiththeworld.blogspot.com.es/2012/07/lotus-49-its-got-bit-of-poke.html

    2. @hyoko Lotus 49 indeed a serious contender. Beautifully proportioned and one of the most outstanding examples of function defining the form in all the right ways.

      Also consider Mercedes W196 (my fave), Auto Union Type’s A B C & D, Maserati 250F, Arrows A2, March 881.

      I’ve always had place for the March 881 (Adrian Newey indeed) as being the best looking of the early ‘post modern’ F1 designs. Establishing a template which is largely still in play today.

      1. @psynrg The Merc W196 streamlined (closed wheel) version is indeed gorgeous but to me somehow it doesn’t quite look like a f1 car. And I never quite appreciated the beastlike looks of the Auto-Unions (the streamlined C looks best but still not quite F1).
        Yes, the 250F is a great looker, a top 5 for sure. The Arrows A2 is a bit too weird for my taste (and the concept didn’t quite work).
        The March 881? Not bad as modern F1 cars go, but I never quite liked winged cars, i fave the torpedo look.

  13. Max Verstappen scored his sixth podium of his career. He can continue scoring podiums for the next two years and nine weeks and every one of them would still be the youngest podium ever.

  14. First time since Canada that no penalties were awarded for incidents that occurred during the race.

    First track at which Rosberg has managed 3 poles.

    Hamilton has always finished in odd-numbered positions at Suzuka (and always in the top 5) except for his DNF in 2013.

    First time Vettel has not finished on the podium at Suzuka (partly due to F1 not racing in Suzuka in his Toro Rosso years), and the first time he has finished in an even-numbered position at Suzuka.

    Perez’s best start of the season, and also this season is his best-scoring one (and there are still 4 races to go).

    Since he started on the front row in Austria, Hulkenberg has always started between 7th and 9th inclusive.

    Both Red Bull drivers have had 1 win, 4 2nd places, and 1 3rd place this season.

    40th time Hamilton and Rosberg have locked out the front row, with each driver managing pole in 20 of those races.

    Button’s 131st GP start for McLaren – equals Hakkinen, only trails Coulthard (150).

    23rd consecutive race with at least 1 Mercedes on the front row – equals their run from Britain 2014 to Italy 2015. There have been 4 longer runs, the longest of which is Williams’ 35 in a row from SA 1992 to San Marino 1994.

    Button’s worst F1 grid position, and joint-worst finishing position (along with Bahrain 2012 – and on that occasion he was not running at the end).

    First time this year that Rosberg has won from pole with Hamilton starting 2nd.

    Only 1 podium for Vettel in his last 9 races – his worst run since his Toro Rosso days.

    Thanks to magnetimarelli.com, statsf1.com and formula1.com for some of these.

    1. @paulgilb

      “Only 1 podium for Vettel in his last 9 races – his worst run since his Toro Rosso days.”

      Wow, that’s a surprising stat… worse than even his 2014 campaign.

  15. Like I said under another article, Suzuka had the entire grid classified. If you leave out the freak USA gp 2005, that would mean this is only the sixth time it ever happend and the first time we have two races in a season where everyone classified.

    Suzuka is the only circuit that has multiple races where everyone got classified and also the first occurance of a track that has consecutive races fully classified.

    1. Actually under the 54 first years of the sport this only happened once! Really says something about modern F1 cars.

  16. Nico has been affected as well but maybe he has found a way to get round it more often than not, like the Baku issue they both had just Rosberg knew how to deal with it. Anyway Rosberg cannot be undisputed champion as there are Hamilton fans who hold that Hamilton should win every race he has ever been in and if he hasn’t it is due to the team, racists, a higher power, the unfair butterfly effect e.t.c

    1. Only every race he has ever been? No way!
      It’s a cosmic injustice that Lewis hasn’t won every single F1 race since 1950.
      Not having been born is not a excuse.

  17. Interesting, but of arguably bigger impact is the unreliability that Hamilton has suffered almost exclusively among Mercedes engines on the grid. If his car had been even half as reliable as Nico’s over the season, he would be way ahead even with the slow starts.

    1. @rantingmrp

      How is this even remotely relevant to the race in Suzuka?

      Bore off, this isn’t the time or place for moaning like that XD

    2. @rantingmrp
      Can be explained with basic logic: The Mercedes customer engines are run at a very safe level, while the factory team runs them at the limit in Qual and certain moments in the race. Guess when you can expect most failures…
      If Lewis were to be driving a Manor, he would be even further behind, so I don’t bother to follow that logic of yours.
      The fact is, all issues are unrelated to each other: Cooling issue, Electronics failure, main bearing failure, ERS trouble Lots of parts where something can go wrong, and it only takes one clumsy move to break a connector, damage a hoseclamp… Seeing that the car is build and rebuild a few times every race, the current reliability figures are incredible, even for those with the most issues.

      1. Not arguing with any of that, just saying that if he had the sort of reliability that other Mercedes power units on the grid have had, the bad starts would be irrelevant.
        @cgturbo Maybe you should take some of your own advice, eh? Go find someone else to bully.

  18. Vettel had a pretty dominate machine and always secured the WDC…

    Lewis needs to do the same otherwise, well, tough to rate him higher than Vettel at least.

    Keypoints:
    1) Vettel never enjoyed the dominance the Merc has provided Lewis
    2) a few of Vettel’s WDC were actually in years other teams had a shot
    3) Vettel consistently beat his very fast teammate – WHO – beat Rosberg.
    4) As pointed out on this very site (thanks Keith) – Vettel actually had MORE technical problems than Webber over those 4 years….

    No excuses for Lewis.

    1. None of these are stats, but I do agree with you.

    2. To be honest, you should point out that Mercedes is treating Rosberg as a first driver, Red Bull forced Webber to play the second fiddle each season post 2010.
      This should be enough to prove all your keypoints wrong.

      1. @liko41 Well, no MW wasn’t “forced” to play second fiddle, he just wasn’t consistently good enough compared to his teammate in his last three seasons.

        1. Ahaha of course you don’t remember the bad strategies MW always had.
          How come a driver won 13 races out of 19 in a single season and his equally equipped teammate had zero wins and one pole? Something like that never happened in racing history and is statistically so improbable, it makes your assumption of the equal treatment quite embarassing.
          And I’m not even speculating on 2010.

    3. Hamilton did win a title where other teams had a shot.

  19. To be fair he has only have three bad starts in the season, the fourth in Japan wasn’t his fault, he was snapchatting in his cell phone as he was supposed to do when the evil superior forces that don’t want him to be champion turned the lights off. Races should be changed, social networks are more important in present days that any old race procedure.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      10th October 2016, 22:49

      Actually he’s had 4 out of 16 races which is 25% and Canada he had a bad start there and had to fight off Rosberg while Vettel rocketed past him. So 5 out of 16.

  20. Only five teams scored points in this race (Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, Force India and Williams), which is the fewest amount possible. When was the last time the top 10 (or top 8 or top 6 in the previous eras) was occupied by the smallest amount of teams?

    1. @eduardogigante
      While I don’t have an answer to your question, the point you mention is even more interesting – it is the top 5 teams in the WCC who are the ones that scored points at Suzuka. For each of these 5 teams, both their drivers scored points. And guess what? Those 10 drivers are the top 10 in the WDC! (The last point might change in future based on how Massa vs. Alonso perform).

  21. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    10th October 2016, 22:52

    @keithcollantine Isn’t Canada a bad start for Lewis? Vettel rocketed past him – he had to fight off Rosberg and the Mercedes’ blocked the Red Bulls. It wasn’t devastating but it could have been a 3 spot drop had Nico gotten past and one of the Red Bulls found space. Nico was affected but less so of course than Lewis.

  22. I read this somewhere else so excuse me if its wrong,
    Its the first time Massa has ever left a gp after receiving a reprimand from the stewards

  23. How about talking about ROS problems/bad luck this season, so the amount of points he lost because of that?! How about Monaco?! That’s obviously an undeserved win and amount of points if we think that ROS let him pass because the team asked him to do so! So, if we’re going that much into the subjective territory with so many IFs, then we can try erasing HAM’s win from Monaco and cut also 7 points.

    1. @corrado-dub

      How about Monaco?! That’s obviously an undeserved win and amount of points if we think that ROS let him pass because the team asked him to do so!

      ROS didn’t have a problem or bad luck, he was just slow in the wet. IIRC the team asked him to let HAM past because they had other cars closing them down rapidly, and could easily have lost several places for both cars. Sensible team decision, and definitely not a problem or bad luck on ROS part (unless you count it being wet as bad luck).

      1. Didn’t say ROS had problems. But if we talk about possible lost points because of various reasons, why not talk about undeserved gained points too?! HAM gained at least 7 points undeserved at Monaco for sure. ROS was 2 seconds slower than HAM, still HAM couldn’t pass him! End of the story.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          11th October 2016, 13:46

          @corrado-dub you do realize that Hamilton couldn’t pass him because it was Monaco and he didn’t want Nico to take both cars out. The exact same thing had happened in Spain where Nico was slower and wouldn’t let Lewis by. In wet conditions and around Monaco, it would have been impossible to overtake Nico without losing his car.

        2. “How about talking about ROS problems/bad luck this season”

          Ok he lost 3 point in Malaysia due to Vettel getting confused between racing and playing ping pong. There we go, done. As far as I can tell that is the entirety of his points loss due to problems or bad luck.

          “ROS was 2 seconds slower than HAM”

          Exactly! How you can think that that is somehow equivalent to Hamilton’s engine blowing in Malaysia is beyond me.

          1. Because I know what I’m watching… I mean I’m watching F1! F1… as far as I know or I’ve always perceived it… is not ONLY about the fastest car and/or machine, but also about skills and overtakings too! So, if you still think the finish order in F1 should be determined by the pure speed… then maybe you should switch to watching rallying. There, the drivers race alone and the finish order coincides with the fastest time order.

  24. I think Rosberg clinches it in Mexico.

  25. These starts have robbed us of potentially thrilling F1 races. What a farce. A battle between Hamilton and Rosberg would be good at least once this year

  26. Nico Rosberg the WORLD MOST GIFTED F1 Champion 2016

  27. yes nico is 2016 wdc

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