Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2017

Why Vettel is the real star of qualifying so far in 2017

2017 Austrian Grand Prix stats and facts

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Valtteri Bottas won another super-close contest for pole position this year which put him on course to become a two-times grand prix winner.

The Mercedes driver beat Sebastian Vettel to pole by 0.042s on Saturday. That’s the fifth time this year the top two have been separated by less than six-hundredths of a second.

Unfortunately for Vettel, he’s been on the losing side of that three times. Had he found another five-hundredths last weekend, the same at Monaco and six-hundredths in Spain, he’d be on four pole position for the season instead of one.

Nonetheless Vettel has the best average qualifying position (before penalties) of any driver so far this year, thanks to starting six of the nine races so far from second. That’s an impressive feat given that Mercedes have had the quicker car over a single lap in seven races out of nine.

As it was Vettel was left to chase home Bottas as the Mercedes driver became the 74th driver in the championship’s history to win more than one race. He also gave Mercedes their fourth consecutive win in Austria, continuing their domination of this round since it was reintroduced to the calendar in 2014.

Nigel Mansell, Williams-Honda FW10, Kyalami, 1985
Bottas set shortest pole time since Mansell 32 years ago
Bottas took pole with a lap of 1’04.251. He and others might have gone quicker had it not been for a late yellow flag. But even so this was the shortest pole position time seen at an F1 race since Nigel Mansell’s Williams-Honda headed the grid at the 1985 South African Grand Prix. Mansell covered the 4.104km Kyalami track at an average speed of 236.898kph while Bottas lapped the 4.318km Red Bull Ring at an average of 241.938kph.

Bottas joined Stuart Lewis-Evans, Jo Siffert, John Watson, Gilles Villeneuve, Michele Alboreto, Jean Alesi and Heinz-Harald Frentzen as a two-times pole sitters. But while he was flying high his former team Williams were struggling. The FW40s shared the ninth row, the team’s worst starting positions since Bottas and Pastor Maldonado started 17th and 18th at the 2013 Korean Grand Prix.

It was almost a lights-to-flag victory for Bottas. However Kimi Raikkonen ran long during his first stint and took the lead for two laps before slipping back to finish fifth. This extended a depressing streak for Raikkonen: In the last 15 races every time both Ferraris have finished Vettel has been ahead.

Raikkonen was followed home by Romain Grosjean who equalled the best qualifying performance for Haas by starting sixth. Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg extended their unbeaten streaks against their team mates in qualifying, the former doing so despite not running Honda’s upgraded engine.

Daniel Ricciardo finished on the podium for the fifth race running, which is his longest streak to date. His fortunes could hardly contrast more sharply with team mate Max Verstappen, who in nine races has retired five times. Three of these were due to technical failures and the other two were first-lap incidents.

Renault posted their fifth no-score this year but for the first time Jolyon Palmer came home ahead of Nico Hulkenberg. Palmer, who is yet to score this year, took his third 11th place finish, and is starting to look like the Esteban Gutierrez of 2017.

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Review the year so far in statistics here:

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

2017 Austrian 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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105 comments on “Why Vettel is the real star of qualifying so far in 2017”

  1. Vettel is being very quick and consistent, both in race and qualy. I think this is why he’s ahead in the champioship in the 2nd best car.

    1. … Is the Ferrari really the 2nd best car?
      I mean, it’s almost certainly the second best car on raw performance, but there’s a distinct feeling the Ferrari is significantly easier to set up than the Mercedes. Which can make it the best car, depending on the track/weekend.

      1. In qualy Merc is still in a class of it’s own I think. In Baku Redbull / Max was actually quicker in qualy before trouble hit him in Q3.

        In the race it’s closer, but the Merc is at least potentially quicker most of the time

        1. It is not Mercedes but Lewis. Any time bottas is on pole vettel Is near biting behind.

          1. There was a Merc on pole 7/9 times, they seem to have this very good qualy engine mode.

            Of course HAM is very good, but so is VET

      2. @anunaki @mxmxd I think that the Mercedes was the second best car overall (including the races) up until around Canada and now they’re just about ahead, but the Ferrari is still mighty, really close between the two

      3. Depends which track but Mercedes and Ferrari have very similar race pace, although Mercedes seem to have the upper hand in qualification. Ferrari is not the 2nd best car, its both the best and 2nd best car it just depends which track. Ferrari was way ahead in Monaco for example. 1 thing is certain, the gap is very very close.

        1. On raw numbers, statistics can be misleading… u gotta take into account of unfortunate events which skewed the bell in his favor… not saying ferrari are bad, but they are not that great… when ham is on the lead, u dont see ferrari catching up the tail as easily… they only look good bcoz of vettel’s experience, and bottas’ lack of mercedes time… he is getting there but not there yet…

          ferrari racked up all their techincal limits, and now anything breaks will show its face… you see those mechanical failures can have devastating effects in the wdc… we know what happened last year… vettel only looks better due to statistic numbers, not the reality but due to circumstances…

      4. Ferrari might be the second best car now, but it wasn’t up until Canada. It was very close, and Ferrari should have won more races than they did (they misjudged the early-season safety cars rather badly).

    2. Vettel is being very quick and consistent, both in race and qualy.

      That’s what I’ve taken from this fascinating season so far: Vettel has been the most consistent of all.
      Maybe his performances haven’t been at dizzying heights, but neither has he had any inexplicable lows like his rivals.
      As Hamilton said in the early season, this is a year where consistency matters and everything has to be at the highest level of performance.

      1. any inexplicable lows like his rivals.

        Well there was one just before Austria

        1. That was VET on a high… or just high.. not sure.

        2. @davidnotcoulthard Performance wise.

        3. Russia Hamilton was inexplicably off pace. Baku he had the headrest issue which was inexplicable from an engineering side.

      2. I’ve heard Hamilton saying “I can’t keep up with him” or “I can’t catch him” more then anyone else in this season. He’s having his fair share of problems. Vettel also had his fair share of problems with Redbull. But ferrari is a company who has been in F1 FAR longer then anyone else… That’s why they are consistent. I know mercedes were also a company back then who started up F1 in the 50’s, but if I’m correct they’ve stopped when Mclaren took over, while Ferrari, just stayed Ferrari…

        However, they/Vettel are/is bad this year at making pitstop calls. I feel Vettel could have had atleast 1 more 2nd place or even a win more…

      3. While Vettel performs at a consistently high level sometimes Hamilton periodically just obliterates all opposition then disappears. They’re such wildly different characters with different strengths and weaknesses that it will be difficult to predict how this championshiop will pan out (as long as car development continues at this even-ish pace) – there’s an interesting new post-Austria piece from Martin Brundle worth a read.

    3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      10th July 2017, 13:51

      I think the Ferrari is the WCC and WDC winning car so far this year.

      Vettel has found himself “ahead” through unreliability and ultra-forgiving stewards over the past 2 races.

      They are behind Mercedes in the WCC but that’s really because Kimi is having a 2014 season where he scored 55 points and Alonso scored 161 points. I think Kimi is having a physical issue that he’s been hiding and the new cars are putting too much stress on him.

      I think Lewis is killing it and should have been ahead of Seb in the WDC but in the last 2 races Mercedes have completely screwed him a la 2016.

      1. @freelittlebirds Uhm no. Hamilton can praise himself lucky he is so close. Granted he probably should’ve won in Australia but had Vettel had a little breeze on his tail he would’ve been on pole on several occasions more, and very likely won those races. I’m talking about Spain, China and Austria to begin with.

        Mercedes should be very happy they have scored 7 out of 9 poles as that is what is currently their best defence against Vettel.

        1. +1, like I said before, I’ve heard hamilton saying on the radio that he can’t catch the guys up front then I can remember…. If they did screw him over, then why did Bottas only won 2 times? Maybe… Maybe Ferrari have the better car this season…

          1. @phil9079 When did Hamilton said that ?, only thing i heard in Australia where the Mercedes had diffilculties following another car. Tell me where Hamilton said it else where.

          2. Whenever he wasn’t at the front… Like in Bahrain, Russia, Monaco,…

        2. @xtwl Vettel only have more points cause he has an under performing team mate, that’s all. He very lucky to be leading the WDC you mean.

          1. Verry luck??? I don’t think so… He just had a penalty in Baku and a week later, his tyres blew up… Do you consider that lucky? As if he didn’t fought to be in 1st place at the WDC… Don’t make me laugh mate… He had the best start to the season since 2011…

          2. And… Yeah I know he penalised himself in Baku. He had a DSQ, which is fine by me, but don’t come here and say that he’s lucky…

    4. It appears the Merc has the edge in qualifying, particularly when Lewis’s side of the garage has it tuned in correctly, however the car is clearly more challenging than the Ferrari to setup and sensitive to conditions and tyres. However in race trim the Ferrari is probably slightly ahead – Toto’s comments about the Merc being a bit of ‘Diva’ appear valid. For this reason I view the W08 and SF70H as essentially even this year. It is one of the most interesting constructor battles for a while, with the less sensitive to tyres and conditions Ferrari vs the fickle, but at times blistering Merc.

    5. Ferrari had a better race car until Baku, then the order has changed.

      1. Merc has the edge on a single lap, that has not changed throughout the season. Ferrari was never faster but was for some races more comfortable on tires! It seems to me that Merc have no problems when tire deg is low – we are heading towards more tire stressful circuits, if Merc gets it there, they win, Lewis wins. If they can’t get it together with deg, Ferrari will get ahead. If, the engines stay the same, if the development rate stays the same between the reds and silvers; the tires will call it.

    6. Oh Keith, you and your Vettel fanboyism can get a bit desperate.

      – The Ferrari is only marginally slower over a single lap, and arguably quicker in a race – at the very least more compliant and consistent
      – Kimi is way past his prime
      – Ferrari are still routinely screwing Kimi over in terms of strategy and reliability to benefit Vettel.

      I know you’ve never quite recovered when Vettel was exposed for the mediocre hack he is in 2014, but you should at least come clean about being such a shameless apologist.

      1. @backmarker Well said mate. We all could see how average Vettel was, he was exposed so bad that he fled to Ferrari smh. Vettel is only leading the WDC cause he has an under performing teammate and the fact that Kimi often has car issues which benefit Vettel..

  2. Ricciardo’s fifth podium means he’s the first non-champion since Rubens Barrichello in 2004 to score five consecutive podiums

    1. I enjoyed this stat, but thought it’s worth clarifying that it doesn’t include drivers who went on to become a WDC, for example, Hamilton’s run in early 2007.

      1. he’s the first non-champion

        already described it

        1. HAM was a non-champion in 2007

    2. Technically, this is not the first time in the last 13 years that a non-champion has scored 5 consecutive podiums. Kimi got 7 consecutive podiums (and became a champion at that 7th race, Brazil 2007), Hamilton got 6 consecutive podiums in his first 6 races, Nico got 7 consecutive wins in 2015-16 as well. But they all returned back the “non-champion tag” to Rubens as they won championships after scoring 5 consecutive podiums. Daniel may do the same as well, I feel.

      1. Infact, extrapolating more, Vettel and Haikkinen are the only champions since 1998 who have won the WDC first and then got 5 consecutive podiums. Rest all have got 5 consecutive podiums first and then became champion.

        1. It’s like this most wins without being a champion thing that’s still held by Moss (rosberg took it…then lost it by becoming wdc)

  3. the Esteban Gutierrez of 2017

    How accurate is that?
    If they (Palmer and Gutierrez) were in the same team it would be an amazing fight all season long. A scoreless season, but still, a hell of a fight

    1. @johnmilk Decided on countback of 11th places, that’s just sad.

      1. LOL at that one @xtwl, good pitch for it from @johnmilk.

  4. Sorry but can’t look further than Max as the star of qualifying. Surely outqualifying the guy who dominated Vettel as a team-mate should propel him as the ultimate standard in qualifying???

    1. Well no. SV is the best qualifier on average this season. I find it quite a stretch to extrapolate backwards to the first year of this engine format that saw SV handcuffed in what was an absolute dog of a car compared to his 4 previous seasons, thus finding himself out qualified by DR, with DR now being outqualified by MV and therefore that meaning that MV is better than SV in quali. This season MV is not the highest average qualifier so far, full stop. SV is. Since he obviously didn’t forget how to qualify well after his 4 Championships, perhaps it’s been the car, no?

    2. It’s not opinion – it’s a fact. Vettel has the best average qualifying position of the year. Of course, Verstappen has been doing a very solid job, but the stats don’t lie!

      1. stats don’t lie!

        Well… Lies, damned lies, and statistics

      2. The headline is who ‘the star’ of qualifying is, not who has the highest average grid position. When you consider this is Max’s first full season in RB, he is doing a great job. Don’t think another driver would be able to this to Dan, maybe Lewis.
        I don’t consider there to be too much difference between the Mercs and Ferraris. Out of the four Vettel has been most consistent but Hamilton has 5 out of 9 poles, with his 14th in Monaco skewing his average.

        1. I’m fairly sure Vettel would be capable of doing this too,… a single season doesn’t mean much. I don’t hear many people say Button is actually better than Lewis either. Max is good, Dan is good but for now I’d still rather have a Lewis or Vettel in my car.

          1. Judging from their season together your prediction is speculative and lacks logic. Dan outqualified Vettel through the season and dominated him in the races. Lewis’ stats against Button with regards to qualifying and race finishes when both finished were in favour of Lewis, so that is not a good comparison.

      3. stats don’t lie!

        How to Lie with Statistics is a great book to read.

          tried to post a link, not sure if it’ll show up, but it’s an easy google search if not. How to Lie with Statics by Darrell Huff

    3. “Dominated Vettel as a team-mate” perhaps but not for the reasons you are implying. It’s surely common knowledge that Vettel was manipulating the break clause in his contract with Red Bull, isn’t it?

      1. Is it common knowledge that that is what happened? I don’t know. Can’t say I was that invested in it to care to find out. Generally I just thought of it that Vettel had gone from his WDC rocket on rails to the equivalent of a Lada, which must have been, and obviously was, extremely frustrating. The same season Horner et al were calling out Renault for terribly missing the mark. And we know the rocky relationship there. All DR knew or needed to know was that he was promoted to being in the best car/team he had ever been in, in a can-do-no-wrong no pressure situation.

        1. I think if you bothered to look at it closely you will find there was a lot of unreliability contributing to to the 9-10 count in favor of Ric….. Even discounting reliability how does 9-10 count represents domination??? Trolling by any chance?

        2. Eh, Anthony did you even read what @robbie wrote?

          He mentioned that it is quite possible that Ricciardo beat Vettel over that year at least in part because while Daniel was promoted to a car that was far better than what he had had before and had nothing to lose, Vettel found himself in a car worse than the ones he had been driving to titles for the 4 years before that AND with the pressure of a new teammate doing a good job too and with never ending conflict with their engine supplier making the whole season more complicated for him.
          There is no hint of any domination in the comment. It was more a reaction to @baron posting about an idea that Vettel somehow did it on purpose to get out of the red bull contract.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        10th July 2017, 15:26

        @baron Vettel’s a guy that can’t stop himself for 1 second as evidenced over his career – are you suggesting he slowed himself down for a whole season? Vettel, Webber, and Horner are rolling on the floor…

        1. But, it worked though didn’t it.. ;)

      3. It is common knowledge that one of the most competitive guys out there with, obsessed with his statistics who, at the time, had an immaculate record in F1 vs team-mates, was deliberately slow? Then why the resistance when RB asked him to move for Dan that year? Why was he always fighting when Riccardio overtook him multiple times that season? In order to go to a Ferrari team that had one podium all year and at the time was getting rid of all their key personal!!
        It seems a massive revision of that season has been undertaken.

      4. I do not believe for a second Vettel manipulated to trigger a get-out clause in 2014.
        If anybody remember what Horner said at the time it’s easy to understand what happened that season. Vettel was used to winning and was not willing to compete for third. His solution was to try to influence Red Bull to go radical and gamble. When Red Bull (correctly so) told him they couldn’t do that he did it on his own with pretty radical set-ups. This didn’t work out great and I suspect it created a bit of tention within the team. In the meantime Ricciardo just got on with the programme and benefitted from it. The next natural step for Vettel was then of course Ferrari that were more inclined to give him what he thought he wanted and needed.
        That is indeed both Vettels greatest strenght and greatest weakness. He’s got an enormous will to win and when he doesn’t have the equipment to do it he gets a bit desperate and starts to overdrive the car. On the other hand a character like that is extremely valuable to a team that wants to improkve itself as you get a someone that will drive a team forward.

      5. This hypothesis is moot because Qualifying had nothing to do with his break clause… Only finishing positions and points!

      6. It’s surely common knowledge that Vettel was manipulating the break clause in his contract with Red Bull, isn’t it?

        No, it’s not. It’s not “knowledge” at all, just a silly rumor. And it’s actually very uncommon to hear anyone saying that seriously.

    4. outqualifying the guy who dominated Vettel as a team-mate

      Still peddling that nonsense? Ricciardo dominated Vettel in the same sense as he is dominating Verstappen. That is, he had/has more points, but that’s due to luck and circumstances outside of any drivers control.

      1. How is it the same???
        In races that both Vettel and Riccardio finished, Riccardio was ahead 8/11 times. Yes Vettel was only ahead THREE times in a whole season when both finished. That is similar to one of Massa’s seasons against Alonso.

        Max and Dan have had just two races when both finished with it being 1-1.

        1. That’s how I remember it. Also, though, Vettel’s performances worsened as the Ferrari contract speculation grew. My impression was he started the season fairly strong, then realized the Red Bull car wasn’t anywhere near as good as expected, Mercedes were dominating, and his downward spiral began. One that may or may not have coincided with a putative exit clause.

      2. Danny Ric Smashed Vettel in 2014, theres no hiding from that. Its all good, The champs always have bad years where team mates have beaten them

    5. As33 No logic to your “Max Factor” diff regs, cars and teams for ric and seb…

      1. The cars have not changed that dramatically. The driver trends are more or less the same

    6. Ricciordo dominated Vettel during the race something Verstappen has yet to do to Ricciardo. Practice/qualifying does not count towards the championship. Please don’t mention bad luck as Ricciardo has had fair share as well.

      1. Out of 9 races Verstappen has been in front of Ricciardo 8 races, in Austria he didn’t even have a chance to try..

        Verstappen was 4 times behind on the grid.
        China > due to engine failure in Q3, overtook Ric from P17 to P5 within 10 laps
        Bahrain > due to Massa ruining the warm up lap Verstappen was 0.1 sec short, overtook Ricciardo + Raikkonen at the start
        Sochi > due to his floor coming loose (and another few issues with the car) verstappen was 0.2 off, overtook Ricciardo and Massa at the start
        Austria > Ricciardo outqualified Verstappen and was in front the whole race…. that is… for 300 meters when Max DNF-ed due to clutch issues + ‘torpedo’ Kvyat.

        How’s that for dominating a team mate, not much else Verstappen can do than beat his team mate on track…. when is is on track. Verstappen has completed 277 laps out of 560 (48%). Ricciardo completed 489 laps (86%).
        Despite Verstappen missing about 4 complete GP’s of track time, he is usually the faster driver on track with the better position.. till he DNF’s.

        Ricciardo had his share of bad luck….. DNF-ed two times, In Australia from P-last and in Sochi from P7, lost 6 points due to mechanical failures, gathered 5 times that thanks to other drivers DNF.

        1. he is usually the faster driver on track with the better position.. till he DNF’s.

          RICCIARDO 107
          VERSTAPPEN 45
          It was Jack Brabham that said something like you only drive fast enough to win I can’t remember his exact words.
          Brabham, Mclaren, Gurney, Jones (Parnelli) all knew/Know a little something about mechanical sympathy. Dan
          Gurney and Parnelli are still with us.
          I think it would be a good idea perhaps if Mr Gurney and Mr Jones to where to mentor some of these “best drivers” in the world about looking after their equipment.

          1. @Matn I think you have the more accurate and realistic take on what Max’s season has been like, and what DR’s season would look like without all Max’s reliability issues.

            @johnrkh So then you would be one to claim LH lost the WDC last year due to his own inability to look after the equipment?

          2. We’re ot in 60ties, 70ties or 80ties anymore, car are pack loaded with sensors to monitor every tiny detail, on top the cars are fly-by-wire.. so you can step or on the gas, pull the clutch handle as much you like the computer will regulate it all…

            Refering to scored points alone would mean Stroll is a better driver than Alonso..
            Inside the team drivers can be compared by race speed and race craft + the actuall position in races compared with the other team rival. Points only show results.

            Remember Verstappen was chosen from F3 performances and chosen above Ocon (P1) and Blomqvist (P2).
            Verstappen drove a mediocre car, suffered from the most DNF’s of the entire grid, but also took the most P1’s that season. He was chosen on performance, not scored points.

            In case of Ric versus Ver it was all about the qualifying battle in 2016, this year it’s about hugging your car, while in fact it is all about racing and racing only..

          3. Haha okay lets get rid of the world drivers championship and just have qualies lol.

  5. I think you need to look at the median value of the qualifying results and not the mean. The median is not influenced by outliers whereas the mean can be influenced and might not tell the true story. Vettel’s median is 2.0 while Hamilton is 1.0, which I think is a better reflection of qualifying.

    1. Exactly!

      1. But we are not talking about a large sample size, and the outliers are indeed part of the story in F1. It’s racing after all. Gotta take the good with the bad, as racing is and always has been.

        1. Oh and I just noticed Keith has used before-penalty stats, so some ‘outliers’ have been dealt with anyway.

          1. Exactly…

        2. @robbie @keithcollantine Outliers are a part of the story, but to call one driver “a real star of qualifying” because another driver had one bad weekend is a bit of a stretch. Even Bottas is above Hamilton when you take the average to determine “the real star”, but does anyone seriously think that Bottas is beating Hamilton in qualifying? I don’t think so. Monaco was one-off and if we put it aside we’re left with this:
          Hamilton – 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, average 1.75.
          Vettel – 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, average 2.25.
          Bottas – 1, 1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, average 2.38.

          1. Bad weekends count aswell in a championship.

          2. @jureo It’s not about championship, but about “star qualifiers”, so the discussion is purely academic, as there is no clear definition of the term, but in my opinion the average does not a star make.

          3. @maroonjack

            to call one driver “a real star of qualifying” because another driver had one bad weekend is a bit of a stretch.

            The qualifying and starting positions data is pretty clear:

          4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            11th July 2017, 12:53

            Well, Hamilton can still have the best qualifying even with Monaco’s P13, if he gets Pole in the next 11 races:-)

            That’ll give him an average position of 1.95 – well below Vettel’s 2.25.

            He can match Vettel’s 2.25 with 5 poles and 6 P2 so he just needs to get pole in half the races as he’s been doing so far but without any massive setbacks.

          5. @freelittlebirds In my opinion Hamilton does have the best qualifying so far, because the measure used to label Vettel as a “star” is meaningless. To illustrate that let’s turn to two of my favourite hypothetical drivers, Firstetti and Secondado, and assume they compete against each other. Their qualifying positions are as follows:
            Firstetti – 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 20 (average 3.11, incidentally it’s the same as Hamilton).
            Secondado – 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 4 (average 2.22, oh my! it the same as Vettel).

            Secondado has much better average qualifying position, so it’s clear that he’s the “real qualifying star”, right? Not exactly and it’s obvious to anyone looking at the results. We can see that Firstetti is much better, but why is that? Why Secondado scores higher? Because to determine a champion you need more than a simple average, where one slump skews the whole result. You need a point scoring system. To make it simple let’s use one that’s already present in F1. Firstetti scored 200 hypothetical points to 159 scored by Secondado and I’d say that result pretty much nails their respective performance.

            So, how the real drivers are faring?
            Qualifying positions:
            Vettel – 2, 2, 3, 1, 2, 2, 2, 4, 2, average 2.22.
            Bottas – 3, 3, 1, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 1, average 2.44.
            Hamilton – 1, 1, 2, 4, 1, 14, 1, 1, 3, average 3.11.
            Vettel – 18, 18, 15, 25, 18, 18, 18, 12, 18, overall 160
            Bottas – 15, 15, 25, 15, 15, 15, 15, 18, 25, overall 158
            Hamilton – 25, 25, 18, 12, 25, 0, 25, 25, 15, overall 170.

            In my opinion the latter is much better reflection of drivers qualifying performance. I’m just surprised that @keithcollantine, for whom I have a great respect, decided to choose the average finishing position as the most meaningful stat in this case.

          6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            12th July 2017, 13:35

            @maroonjack I agree with you that medians are a better way of looking at the qualifying.

            I think @keithcollantine was making the point that Vettel has been very, very close to taking pole on many occasions and has also been very consistent. It was actually easy to overlook how close Vettel has come on so many occasions to taking pole but missing out.

            The flipside of the median approach is that it doesn’t take into account the times – it just looks at positions. A driver could have had P2 but only been 1/1000th of a second of a slower every time.

            Both arguments have merit in my opinion. Vettel’s consistency is definitely creating problems for Mercedes as he’s managed to split the Mercs in almost every race and he and Kimi have locked the front row in a couple of races I believe which is the same number of times the Mercedes has.

            Given Kimi’s relatively weak qualifying and the fact that they (Ferrari) have equal locks as Mercedes, I would say that the Ferrari is as quick as the Merc over 1 lap and probably easier to get the most out of. That would certainly make Lewis the better qualifier if you exclude Monaco.

    2. @japie Give us one good reason to ignore Hamilton’s qualifying results in Russia, Monaco and Austria…

    3. There is a trophy for pole positions and none for average finishing positions. Only being first matters!

      1. @david-beau

        >Implying the Pole Position trophy actually matters : ‘ D

        1. It’s only implying that pole position trophy matters more than “average qualifying positions” trophy.

    4. Good point, @japie.
      And Russian Roulette is 100% safe as the ‘median’ has no bullet in the chamber.

      PS you might want to read the above linked book ‘lying with statistics’ before furthering your academic career

      1. Thank you for your insights.

        Let me explain why I think median is better than mean in this case. We calculate descriptive statistics in order to describe the data, to either attempt to make a prediction on some future outcome or to classify the data as was done in this article.

        Now I am unbiased with regards to the two drivers as I like neither one of them, but let’s use Hamilton and Vettel’s qualifying as an example:

        Vettel: 2,2,3,1,2,2,2,4,2
        Hamilton: 1,1,2,4,1,14,1,1,3

        Let us use this data to predict qualifying performance for a betting example. You either get the qualifying position right or not. The rolling mean values are as follows (I am assuming you know this since you read a book):

        Vettel_rolling_mean: 2, 2, 2.33333, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2.25, 2.2222
        Hamilton_rolling_mean: 1, 1, 1.3333, 2, 1.8, 3.8333, 3.4285, 3.125, 3.1111

        The rolling median is:

        Vettel_rolling_median: 2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2
        Hamilton_rolling_median: 1,1,1,1.5,1,1.5,1,1,1

        You should be able to quickly see which method has better prediction strength.

      2. As for Russian Roulette I would calculate the probability of there being a bullet in the chamber, what does your book say?

        1. @japie Given that Keith’s article is about SV’s quali performance ‘so far’ as indicated right in the heading of his article, I think you are going overboard here. This is not about throwing out outliers other than to exclude penalties that would only skew where the drivers actually qualified. So Keith has added some accuracy by doing that. This is not about shaping the stats as one wishes, to try to predict anything. It is about ‘so far’. I think Keith’s one sentence particularly sums up the gist of what has happened. Given that Mercedes has had the quicker single lap pace in 7 of 9 races (so far) it is remarkable that SV has the lowest average starting position (so far). So in response to your jibe to whomever about reading a book, perhaps you should have read Keith’s article more closely rather than jumping all over a predictions model.

  6. Michael Brown (@)
    10th July 2017, 13:08

    Bottas is the fourth Finnish driver to win more than one F1 race.

    1. @mbr-9 And the other three all went on to become champions. He’s also the first Finn since Räikkönen in 2008 to win more than one race in a season.

      1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        10th July 2017, 16:16

        And Keke only got his first win in his championship winning year – and the other three came in succeeding years, a win a piece every year.

    2. Is Bottas also fourth Finnish F1-driver filing from first for then fighting final lap to finish F1 race first?

  7. Bottas is the first driver ever to win 2 races whilst having the name “Bottas”. This surprised me a lot :o

    1. Good dig.

  8. Drivers with five consecutive podiums while the team is not in top 2 in constructors’ standings (if the streak contains two seasons, then team must not have been in top 2 on either of them)

    Bruce McLaren 1962-63
    Dan Gurney 1965
    Ayrton Senna 1985
    Nigel Mansell 1989
    Kimi Räikkönen 2002-03
    Fernando Alonso 2010
    Daniel Ricciardo 2017 (as of now Red Bull is not in top 2 and I feel it’s very unlikely to get there)

    I counted McLaren 2007 as top 2 team even though they were disqualified from WCC.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      10th July 2017, 15:25

      @bleu Where did you find all those stats? Simply amazed – hats off!

      Some impressive company for sure. Daniel’s good luck run, however, is almost the result of Max’s bad luck.

      I don’t doubt Daniel would have scored at least 1-2 podiums and it’s quite likely that Max would have scored a few but I think we can all say that Max would have broken Daniel’s run if he didn’t have so many problems.

      1. @freelittlebirds Successive podiums from Stats F1 (they have complete list up to 5) and then look at constructors’ tables and eliminate drivers who don’t match the criteria.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          10th July 2017, 22:56

          @bleu thanks for the link!

      2. Ben (@chookie6018)
        10th July 2017, 19:20

        @freelittlebirds I hate to play devil’s advocate but I can’t help but feel Canada is the only race where Daniel wouldn’t have made the podium if it hadn’t have been for Max’s issues.

  9. Ben (@chookie6018)
    10th July 2017, 19:15

    Couldn’t agree more Keith. Vettel’s ability to get the best of his car in qualifying has been one of the key reasons for his championship lead. He (like Alonso, Hulkenberg and Massa) have set the high standard earlier in the weekend on their team mates where as other drivers like Riccardo, Wehrlein and Sainz have separated themselves in the later stages of the weekend.

  10. For Hamilton meanwhile Austria represented a second straight race finishing outside of the podium. That’s the first time the Briton has experienced that since the last race of 2013 and opening race of 2014 in Australia!

    And, if Hamilton wins in Silverstone, that’ll be a fourth in a row equalling Jim Clark.

  11. Bottas is currently the 4th multiple GP winner whose wins have all come in 1 season, after von Trips (who has a shorter span of wins than Bottas), Revson, and Irvine.

    First podium for Vettel in Austria – the only circuits at which he has raced but not finished on the podium are Indianapolis, Fuji, Magny Cours, and Mexico City (the first 3 of which he only raced at for BMW Sauber or Toro Rosso). Baku, Hockenheim, and Sochi are the other tracks where he has not won.

    Bottas has finished on the podium more times this year than Hamilton has.

    4 of the last 5 races have seen Verstappen start 5th and not finish.

    3 multiple winners in the first 9 races of the season – the fastest this has happened since 2013 (when Vettel, Alonso, and Rosberg all won twice in the first 8 races).

    Despite the late drama, there was no change in position at all after lap 48 (when Massa pitted).

    First time we have had 4 different winners in 4 consecutive races since 2012-13 (Button, Raikkonen, Vettel, Alonso). First time it has happened within 1 season since the last 4 races of 2012 (Vettel, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Button).

    341 races without a win for Sauber (excluding their BMW Sauber years) – beats Minardi’s 340.

    First time both Williams cars got knocked out in Q1 since Britain 2014 (they had locked out the front row in the previous race!), although on that occasion they started 14th and 15th due to penalties.

    9th front-row start for Ferrari this year – equals their total from 2011 to 2016 inclusive.

    First time since Belgium 2016 that neither Hamilton nor Vettel has led a lap.

    3rd time in the last 4 races that Palmer has finished within 2s of 10th place.

    Thanks to,, and for some of these.

    1. 9th front-row start for Ferrari this year – equals their total from 2011 to 2016 inclusive.

      That stat is amazing!

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