20 telling stats about each driver’s season so far

2017 F1 season

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Which driver has finished higher than his starting position in almost every race so far?

And who has racked up penalty points more quickly than he has championship points?

Here’s one telling stat about each of the 20 regular drivers on the grid so far this year.

Lewis Hamilton

He may be second in the points standings but Lewis Hamilton has led the most laps of any driver this year: 262. That’s 38.59% of laps raced so far and exactly twice as many as his team mate has led.

Valtteri Bottas

No one has finished on the podiums more times this year than Valtteri Bottas. He’s been up there eight times, the same number as Sebastian Vettel and two more than Hamilton. If Hamilton hadn’t returned third place to him in Hungary they’d have seven apiece.

Daniel Ricciardo

The most positions gained in any race so far this year was Daniel Ricciardo’s 14-place climb to fifth place at Silverstone. He started 19th after his power unit failed during Q1.

Max Verstappen

Unreliability has been the story of the season so far for Max Verstappen. He’s covered the least racing laps of any driver who’s entered every race – fewer even than Fernando Alonso, who missed the Monaco Grand Prix. Three technical failures and two first-lap accidents means he’s done just 398 laps so far.

Sebastian Vettel

It took Vettel just five races to reach 90 laps in the lead, which was as many as he managed throughout the whole of last season. His team mate still has left than half that, while Vettel has gone on to rack up 221 laps at the front of the field.

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen has finished lower than his starting position more than any other driver in the field. Out of the 11 races so far, Raikkonen has taken the chequered flag below his starting position seven times.

Sergio Perez

Which driver outside of the top three teams has been ‘best of the rest’ most times this year? That would be Sergio Perez: He’s finished with only Mercedes, Ferraris or Red Bulls ahead of him three times, in Russia, Spain and Canada.

Esteban Ocon

The opposite of Raikkonen so far this year is Esteban Ocon: He’s finished higher than he started in ten of the eleven races so far. Silverstone was the only track where he failed to improve on his starting position.

Felipe Massa

What a change a year makes: Having been blown away in qualifying last year 17-4 by Bottas, Massa is 9-1 up against Lance Stroll so far in 2017.

Lance Stroll

Stroll’s qualifying woes are underlined by the fact he’s gone out in Q1 on seven occasions – the same number of times Massa has made it into Q3.

Fernando Alonso

No wonder Fernando Alonso fancied a change. When he took the lead of the Indianapolis 500 it was the first time he’d led a race in over a thousand days – 1,036 to be exact. How long until he leads another?

Stoffel Vandoorne

The most-penalised driver on the grid is undoubtedly Stoffel Vandoorne. He’s had 63 places of grid penalties, which is seven fewer than Alonso, but unlike he team mate he’s also picked up a five-second time penalty and a drive-through penalty so far this year.

Carlos Sainz Jnr

Carlos Sainz Jnr gets points for consistency: Every time he’s seen the chequered flag he’s been in the points, while his team mate has had six non-scoring finishes.

Daniil Kvyat

Here’s a driver who needs to stay out of trouble. Daniil Kvyat has scored more penalty points (ten) than championship points (eight) over the last 12 months.

Romain Grosjean

There’s no doubt which Haas driver is qualifying better. Romain Grosjean has been in Q3 five times but Kevin Magnussen hasn’t made it there once.

Kevin Magnussen

However Magnussen has made up for those low qualifying positions by being the top performer on lap one. He’s made a net gain of 22 places on the first lap of races so far this year – averaging exactly two positions gained per start.

Nico Hulkenberg

The only driver who’s entered every race without being beaten in qualifying is Nico Hulkenberg. He’s 10-0 up against Jolyon Palmer (who wasn’t able to set a time in qualifying in Azerbaijan).

Jolyon Palmer

On average Palmer has been 1.02 seconds slower than Hulkenberg in qualifying. That’s the biggest deficit of any driver, and even if we ignore Australia (where Palmer had a car problem) his average of 0.767s is still the worst.

Marcus Ericsson

And bringing up the rear: Marcus Ericsson has the most Q1 eliminations of any driver with nine.

Pascal Wehrlein

Aggressive tyre strategies are Pascal Wehrlein’s preference: He’s spent longer on the ultra-soft tyre than any other driver – 206 laps.

Over to you

Have you spotted any more telling statistics about the drivers so far this year? Share them in the comments.

2017 F1 season

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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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34 comments on “20 telling stats about each driver’s season so far”

  1. Thanks for the stat attack – I like articles like this when there is a mid season break. Much Appreciated Keith.

  2. What a great article! Every driver has their apologists but stark facts are hard to argue with. Raikonnen needs to retire. Palmer needs to find another sport and I wasn’t quite aware how much Grosjean has been blitzing Magnussen til now.

    Lewis and Bottas aren’t quite as evenly matched as the points would suggest either, twice as many laps led in the same car is decisive.

    1. You also have to remember that Bottas is always told to move aside for his teammate in pretty much every single race till now.

      1. You also have to remember that Bottas is always told to move aside for his teammate in pretty much every single race till now.

        1. When Bottas has been asked to move aside it has not been for the lead so wouldn’t count towards this particular stat.
        2. It has happened twice, this season. There have been 11 races. That’s hardly “every single race”

        @damon I’m sorry but your boy has been beaten by his teammate every year since his return to Ferrari. Whether that’s pure performance or a contractual obligation, either one is a reason to hang his helmet up in my opinion. 2016 was considered a great year from his fans yet he still finished 26 points behind an under performing Vettel? Make way for young talent! Massa, Raikonnen OUT.

    2. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      15th August 2017, 14:21

      @offdutyrockstar yes but leading the last lap is the one that counts. Not that there have been many last lap changes for the lead recently though.

    3. Raikonnen needs to retire.

      Woah, hold on there cowboy! I don’t think you can jump to that conclusion based on the stat Keith provided in the article. It’s a very interesting stat, but we have to dig into what it really means.

      To finish lower than you started…. OK, how does that come about in the first place? And what does the opposite mean?

      A field of 22 cars starts a Formula 1 race, no overtaking manoever has yet been made, and then…

      Ex. 1. The leader retires => The entire field moves up by a position. Anybody can get overtaken and will still finish the race as good as they’ve started it.
      Ex.2. The 10th car retires => Everybody from the 11th to 22nd places move up a position. The first 9 cars remain the same though.
      Ex.3. The drivers at the 5th, 10th and 15th position retire around the same time:
      => Drivers at positions 1-4 stay the same. If any of them gets overtaken, they will finish the race worse than they they’ve started.
      => Drivers at positions 6-9 advance by a position.
      => Drivers at positions 11-14 advance by 2 positions
      => Drivers at positions 16-22 – advance by 3 positions. Any of those 7 drivers can get overtaken twice and still will finish the race better than they’ve started. It would take getting overtaken 4 times to finish worse than you’ve started (!). But overtake just a single car, and you’re finishing 4 positions better than you’ve started.

      As you see, the drivers at the back of the field are very likely to finish races better than they’ve started based not on their own merit, but based on the impact of what happens in front of them, which always works in their favour. The drivers at the very front don’t have that benefit.

      Kimi Raikkonen finishing worse than he started on 7 out of 11 occasions, although a negative stat, is not as meaningful as you’d think.

      For a valid picture, one should only compare Kimi to a driver that has had the most similar average starting grid position as himself.

      1. “Kimi Raikkonen finishing worse than he started on 7 out of 11 occasions, although a negative stat, is not as meaningful as you’d think.”

        I looked into this stat some more. On 5 occasions he only dropped 1 spot. Canada he dropped 3 after encountering brake problems The seventh occasion was Azerbajian where he retired not once but twice. He complete 90% of the laps and was therefore classified.

        For a “better” stat, you could say that Kimi Raikkon has finished within 1 spot from where he started on 8 out 11 occasions.

        1. Thanks Corey (@dragon86), you pretty much found the bug. Starting from the 3rd and ending classified at 14th gave Kimi an awful +11 positions in that stat.

          Meanwhile, Stoffel Vandoorne qualified dead last, 22nd, and finished… dead last as well (out of the cars that made it to the finish line), which due to retirements was the 12th position, giving him a gain of 10 positions! Hah!!

          Shows you how useless and misleading that particular statistic is.

          1. Correction:
            Vandoorne qualified last, but that was the 19th positition. His total race gain was therefore +7.

          2. Oh my… I was supposed to write “-7” – he finished 7 positions better than he started.

      2. Yeah, I love the stats articles, but…
        Raikkonen normally starts near the front. Gaining one place is beating Vettel, Hamilton or Bottas. No problem!

        If K Mag is out in Q1 then he has easier passes during the race than Grosgean.

        I remember someone previously pointed out Alonso gained more positions than anybody else. Of course, the McHonda was normally at the end of the parade, so any retirement gave him a gained position. Do we really believe Alonso would gain several positions a race if he normally started 4th? (Ok, I know some people think that… I mean non-fanboys)

        The stat that matters to me – number of days until Spa.

  3. great article, Keith.

    Most amazing stat: “Daniil Kvyat has scored more penalty points (ten) than championship points (eight) over the last 12 months.”

  4. Has williams made the calc about how much perfomance are they losing with this bad 2017 drivers line up? Be beaten by an almost retired Massa who was massively outqualified by bottas last year is a shame for Stroll.

    1. They have probably decided that they get more money if they sell their seats. Massa brings in sponsors and the stroll kid is literally made out of gold. Even bottas was required to bring in some sponsorship to get and keep his seat. Sad to say this is the way williams has operated for quite a long time now. They have one driver who brings in money and another one who brings in less but is more or less competitive. Sometimes both bring lots of money.

      2008-2009 they had rosberg and nakajima, the latter being the golden egg. 2010 they had hulkenberg and barrichello. I’d call that an exception because next season in 2011 they went back to money grabbing by replacing hulk with maldonado who without a doubt brought in lots of money. 2012 was the all time moneybag season with senna and maldonado. 2013 it was bottas and maldonado and bottas had to bring some money as well. I think it was reported that senna was paying more but in the end what bottas could gather was enough. After that it is what it is.

      It is no wonder that the worst seasons for williams coincide really well with the poor quality of their drivers. When they got better drivers they went from back of the field to the front of the midfield pretty smoothly. For this season they’d have better results if they had 2 competent drivers instead of proven slow driver in massa and a pure moneybags driver in stroll. However at the same time they are already 5th. The best possible for them is 4th behind mercedes, ferrari and red bull. So losing one position for tons of money is probably not a bad trade after all. Kinda sad to see them do it and even sadder to see them make claims about “stroll has proven he belongs into F1” but it is not difficult to see why they do it.

  5. Vettel’s canada run was impressive, had an issue went to 19th and climbed back up to 4th, another lap and he would have made it to the podium !

  6. Quite revealing stats

  7. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    15th August 2017, 21:21

    Some are a bit harsh! Especially on Ericsson. Well it is pretty much the worst car. And he’s been so close to Q2 on several occasions. One being Spain where he was only 5 thousandths of a second behind his team mate who luckily managed 15th. Is there no positive or at worst neutral stat instead? I know they are difficult to come up with but it is somehow obvious that one of the Sauber drivers will have been knocked out in Q1 more than any other driver.

    I know it is just a stat but I think it is a bit much to give Sainz his for “consistency” Yes, every race he’s finished have been in the points, but 2 of them (nearly 20% of the races this season), he had 2 incredibly clumsy crashes. And shall I add my own stat: Sainz has been responsible for the most retirements over the shortest amount of time. Hard to believe as Kvyat has been quite a bit worse but I think this is true. This stat could be true even over the whole season but I haven’t looked that far. But that would look pretty shocking if Sainz has been responsible for more retirements in the races over the season than any other driver. Unfortunately, I think this could very well be true unless I’m missing another driver Kvyat took out. He took out himself and another car in 2 races. 4 races apart. Kvyat’s stat does show how poor he has been but he would easily have more points than penalty points if it wasn’t for bad luck this year and the last. He has been bad but has had a huge amount of retirements that were not his own fault.

    1. @thegianthogweed The stat should be less harsh on Ericcson but harsher on Sainz then?

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        15th August 2017, 22:53

        I certainly should have worded that more carefully. I do think the one is a little too generous for Sainz and I do think the other one on Ericsson is pointing out the negatives too much which is why I gave a negative example for Sainz (I don’t think that one should have been used). I guess it is an achievement scoring points in every race you haven’t retired in but retiring with a huge stupid mistake twice taking up close to 20% of the races so far is hardly being consistent. But then again, I guess the point is that he is consistently in the points when he hasn’t retired.

    2. @thegianthogweed You could have added that five times out of the nine Ericsson failed to get to Q2, he had to abort his final qualifying attempt because another driver crashed out in front of him. This obviously has a greater impact on the qualifying battle between Wehrlein and Ericsson than making it to Q2 as the Sauber is the slowest car with the least efficient aerodynamics overall.

      Another Ericsson factoid – he is the driver with the longest stint on the same tyre; 62 laps on softs or 91.2% of the completed race distance (Hungary).

      A couple of Räikkönen factoids – He is the only driver to have lost a race win (twice; Monaco & Hungary) due to his team engineering victories for his team mate. Also, he is the only driver to have been taken out twice by Valtteri Bottas (Spain and European GPs).

  8. I enjoyed this one, Keith.

    I personally wish Ericsson, Palmer, and Kvyat are swapped out for different drivers.

    1. I think Stroll and Palmer should be booted apart from being beaten by their teammates, they are both well below their machinery , the gap is still huge between Massa (who has been ill) and Stroll …there must be a way the FIA can introduce Rich daddy buy in limits…to stop the likes of the strolls palmers and chiltons ect ect

  9. There is lies, damned lies and statistics…

  10. So Massa has improved qualifying, or Stroll is way slower than Bottas. I think I know the answer to that.

    1. @lifestereo: indeed, same as I thought when I read that: massa improved in the comparison cause he doesn’t have the same driver caliber on the other car!

  11. Great mid-term article @keithcollantine , any chance us being spoiled to an article on how the rest of the circuits this year favour Merc or Ferrari? This is based on the first half of the year of course. We can see Spa favouring the Merc and Singapore the Ferrari, but some circuits don’t offer a clear advantage – or maybe they do.

    1. Noone can be sure but with a rudimentary understanding of each car’s relative strengths I would guess:

      Spa – Mercedes
      Monza – Mercedes
      Singapore – Ferrari / RB
      Malaysia – Mercedes
      Suzuka – 50/50 I think Ferrari will be mighty in sector 1 and 2
      USA – Mercedes
      Mexico – 50/50
      Brazil – Not sure
      Abu Dhabi – Ferrari

      Happy to be corrected / enlightened!

      1. Suzuka – 50/50 I think Ferrari will be mighty in sector 1 and 2

        How is that? @offdutyrockstar
        The 1st sector is pretty much a little Catalunya circuit with a series of long sweeping turns. Mercedes were fastest at that track this year. Sector 2 and 3 are power sections working perfectly into Mercedes strength, isn’t it so?
        What’s your rationale here, mate?

        1. I did say…

          Happy to be corrected / enlightened!

          I thought the first two Suzuka sections were quite a bit tighter and harder on the tyres than Spain. And the Merc advantage on the straights hasn’t been as crushing this year, not over Ferrari at least.

          1. To me they are very alike – the first double right at Suzuka is long, only the next sequence begins a bit tight, but then opens up succesively.
            The difference here though is that unlike at Catalunya, the cars have to deal with those turns with much lower levels of aero grip, and so have to rely on their mechanical grip.

            With this in mind – Who’s faster in that 1st section at Suzuka? I don’t know :) But if Spa is a Mercedes circuit, then it’s hard to think Suzuka’s any different. Or is it not? Hmm…

          2. Similar, but for example turn 3 at Catalunya just goes on forever, Suzuka is pretty rigorous on the tyres right upto the hairpin with many quick changes of direction.

            We should also look at the driver form book and if i’m not mistaken, Vettel has always been quite good around Suzuka and Hamilton not so much?

  12. Well, I see Malaysia and the Americas as 50/50… Suzuka more Merc. I’m sure we’re missing data on tyre deg vs choices historically as well – to swing it one way or the other… It’s a tough one; maybe Keith can help :)

  13. My favourites out of those stats are the finishing position vs. starting position stats. They say so much.

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