Hamilton only needs fifth – but we’ve heard that before…

2017 United States Grand Prix stats and facts

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Lewis Hamilton only needs a fifth place from any of the remaining three races to win this year’s world championship.

The chances of him being beaten are now extremely remote. But he knows nothing can be taken for granted.

Top ten: Biggest championship leads overturned
After all, ten years ago he only needed a fifth place from any of the last two races to win the championship. He didn’t get one, and Kimi Raikkonen snatched one of the most improbable title wins the sport has ever seen. In relative terms it was the biggest championship lead ever overturned in F1 history.

Hamilton tallied his 72nd pole and 62nd win. But Sebastian Vettel took the fastest lap – the 32nd of his career. Vettel’s lap of 1’37.766 is a new race lap record for the Circuit of the Americas, and the all-time track record fell in qualifying.

Neither Vettel nor anyone else have been able to contain Hamilton since the summer break. Six races have yielded five wins and a second place for the Mercedes driver, who’s only dropped seven points from a potential maximum of 150. Vettel has lost points to him every weekend since Hungary.

Hamilton’s record in the United States Grand Prix is much the same. Seven races, six wins, five at the Circuit of the Americas and the other at Indianapolis back in that unforgettable 2007 season. Fittingly for a driver who has made the USA his second home, he is now the most successful driver in America, with six United States Grand Prix wins. That moves him ahead of Michael Schumacher (five US GP wins) and Ayrton Senna (two US GP wins and three US Detroit GP wins).

Another of Schumacher’s records fell last weekend. Having already surpassed his pole positions benchmark earlier this year, Hamilton’s 117th front row start puts him ahead of Schumacher at the top of the all-time record list.

Esteban Ocon was another record-breaker on Sunday. Since he began his F1 career last year he’s been classified in all 26 races he’s started. That beats the previous best finishing streak from the start of a season set by Max Chilton. Both drivers began their careers at Manor.

Carlos Sainz Jnr made a dream debut at Renault, starting and finishing in seventh place. That result is just one place lower than their best finish of the season so far.

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2017 United States GP in pictures
His move from Toro Rosso could end up costing his former team a place in the constructors’ championship. Sainz’s six points moved Renault ahead of Haas and leaves them five shy of Toro Rosso. Renault’s target team is Williams, who are a further 15 points ahead. It’s not impossible they might be caught, though Renault need fewer problems of the type which ruined Nico Hulkenberg’s weekend.

Daniel Ricciardo posted his third retirement due to a technical failure this year. He’s only had one fewer than team mate Max Verstappen, whose reliability problems have been a significant talking point.

Verstappen repeated his Chinese Grand Prix feat of starting 16th and finishing third, but only ‘on the road’. A post-race time penalty for overtaking Raikkonen with all four wheels off the track dropped him down to fourth.

Perhaps the stewards wanted to prevent the 20-year-old, who is below the legal minimum drinking age in Texas, from quaffing the podium champagne?

Review the year so far in statistics here:

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

2017 United States 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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52 comments on “Hamilton only needs fifth – but we’ve heard that before…”

  1. Carlos Sainz became the first driver to score on their debut for Renault since Fisichella in 2005

    1. Though Fisichella previously drove for Team Enstone when they were known as Benetton.

  2. Hamilton is now tied with Schumacher for the most poles-to-wins (40).

  3. That’s a good statistic for Esteban, who by chance we shared an elevator with this morning on the way down to breakfast at our hotel in Austin. He still looked a bit under the weather and said he took an early night – makes his drive even more impressive!

    1. @ju88sy that is cool! He drove a great race yesterday too

    2. @ju88sy What a lucky coincidence.

  4. Just a small correction on the Chilton stat: it should say Ocon beats the previous record of most races finished at the beginning of a career. You wrote of a season.

    1. Wonder if Sergio earned the record for complaining about his team mate on the radio?

  5. It was the fourth straight retirement at COTA for hulk, poor guy

  6. Brexit.
    The first time that I recall with only one British driver.

    That’s less than drivers from either: Germany, Spain, France, Finland, Scandinavia, Benelux, Australasia, North America, or South America.

    1. Alright, however the first 4 are countries and the last 5 aren’t. Apples to oranges!

      1. The stat is about the number of British drivers!

        PS You know that Great Britain is a union of 3 countries itself ;)

        1. Great Britain is a landmass. The United Kingdom is the political union of the 4 associated countries, as Northern Ireland is recognised as a distinct country.

          1. geographical ‘union’ rather than political one :p

            But of course I should have referred to the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’.
            Especially since I did not want to exclude Watson, Irvine and others ;)

  7. Well, Hamilton was monster back in 2007. Few times a driver managed to impress me like that, but with him, nothing was guaranteed. The guy just couldn’t give up.

    I can’t imagine that guy from 10 years ago yielding to second place like he did in Malaysia without a fight. He would try his best to win and would lose it anyway with much worse results than second place.

    Today he is 10 times the driver he was 10 years ago. It will be a huge party in mexico.

    1. His raw talent never changed but his maturity has improved, he learned from Rosberg, for sure.

      1. Comedy Gold!!!

        1. Alex W smh….
          what exactly did lewis learn from nico?
          if anything nico learnt from lewis,he learnt to be abit more aggressive at times.
          he still had to rely on mechanical issues to beat lewis,but the history books will say he beat him 1 season out of 4.
          its a shame he ran away after,instead of trying to win back to back championships.

  8. Kvyat broke the record of the most dropped driver in a season.
    Bottas broke the record of the most overtaken Mercedes driver in a race in hybrid era.
    Renault PU kept their record on at least one driver retired in every 2017 races.

  9. Michael Brown (@)
    24th October 2017, 0:12

    Perhaps the stewards wanted to prevent the 20-year-old, who is below the legal minimum drinking age in Texas, from quaffing the podium champagne?

    The last time a driver finished on the podium but was too young to drink the champagne was Sebastian Vettel at the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix. At that time the legal drinking age was 24, and he was 23 years old.

    The legal drinking age in Azerbaijan is 18, so Lance Stroll was old enough to drink the champagne there.

  10. After all, ten years ago he only needed a fifth place from any of the last two races to win the championship.

    Not according to my calculations – he was 12 ahead of Alonso going into the penultimate round, so a win for Alonso in that round would have kept the battle alive even if Hamilton had finished 2nd.

    Some more stats:

    Vettel has 5 fastest laps from 6 races at Austin.

    5th podium of the season for Raikkonen – his most in 1 season since 2013.

    Under the 10-6-4-3-2-1 points system, Hamilton would have clinched the title (he would be 30 points ahead of Vettel with 30 available, and has 9 wins to Vettel’s 4).

    Hamilton’s 117th front-row start, a new record.

    Vettel has equalled Alonso’s 97 podiums, trails only M Schumacher, Hamilton, and Prost).

    27th different track at which Raikkonen officially has a podium finish, equals Hamilton and M Schumacher, only trails Prost (29). Only circuits at which Raikkonen has raced but has not scored a podium: Baku, Mexico City, New Delhi.

    Second circuit (after Silverstone) where Hamilton has won all 4 turbo-era races.

    Second time in 12 months that Verstappen has been stripped of a podium post-race.

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

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      24th October 2017, 17:39

      Vettel has though stood on the podium once more than Alonso. As you may recall, he couldn’t take his podium position in Brazil 2003 because of his crash into the barriers meaning that he has 97 podium finishes but has only stepped on the podium 96 times

  11. You’re pulling things out of context Keith. You know very well what happened during the season. I have no doubt that you’re aware of pressures, primarily political, McLaren team was exposed to. The stupid tactic during the Chinese GP was the most corrupt treatment of a racing driver I’ve ever seen by any team. We all know that title was Lewis’ and only behind the scene shenanigans could take it from him. In my mind he will always be 2007 world champion! However, I cannot divert my thoughts from contemplating that some people couldn’t bear the idea of black man winning the F1 championship in a rookie year!

    1. Here’s a hankie to wipe that drivel off your face.

      1. It’s very plausible @Boomerang. As Brundle put it regarding Lewis’ engine in 2007 title decider, cutting out for 20 seconds then mysteriously coming back to life, “I never seen anything like it before or since’.

        ..or maybe @Dewald Nel you think Bernie’s completely transparent..

      2. Boomerang is absolutely right.

      3. +1 @ho3n3r.

        @boomerang I’ve seen some bad conspiracy theorists on this site but none worse than you!

        1. Tell that to Nigel Stepney!

  12. In every year he competed in, Verstappen received a 5 second penalty for leaving the track and gaining advantage. (Abu Dhabi 2015 after overtaking Button outside tracklimits and Mexico 2016 after cutting the first chicane and keeping position).

    1. He didn’t gain an advantage in Mexico 2016, he maintained his advantage

      1. Going through the grass without losing time or a place is ‘gaining advantage’ in my book. But I can live with your point of view, the stat is about the penalty he received.

        1. If I remember correctly, Hamilton also went straight on at the first corner after locking up, thereby ‘maintaining his advantage’ of 1st place on track. But unlike Verstappen, he was not penalised (I don’t think it was even investigated).

          1. Because HAM lifted and let the field catch up. VER kept his foot planted when going through the runoff.

  13. Hartley maintains Kiwis dominant streak over Aussie drivers, 15436 days since an Aussie beat a Kiwi in an F1 race! Last time was when Alan Jones beat John Nicholson in 1975 British GP at Silverstone.

    1. Ugh. That’s like saying it’s been 24455 days that a Chinese driver has not beaten a British driver.

      1. Except Chinese people wouldn’t find it funny.

  14. When will Hulkenberg get a break on this circuit, honestly? How can it be that the same driver suffers a DNF on the same venue four seasons in a row (He’s DNF’d all US GP editions since 2014), the same with Singapore where he holds a 100% DNF-record since 2015. Now that even the fourth time didn’t charm for me I’m not optimistic that the fifth time would charm in 12 months time.
    – Also, this was the third US GP in a row in which at least one RB-driver DNF’d (Kvyat in 2015, Verstappen last season, and Ricciardo this time around).
    – Furthermore, this was the 2nd time that Verstappen has lost a podium-place due to a 5-second time penalty after having already gone to the cooldown room and coincidentally it happened almost full 12 months after the first one.
    – Like has already been stated above, but Ocon has now broken the record that was previously held by Chilton (reaching the chequered flag 26 races in a row since the debut).

    1. @jerejj ‘For me’ was supposed to be ‘for him.’

  15. Is the mercedes the best car this year ? Almost certainly .
    But it’s also certain that that car has an awesome driver that made the car look good.

    1. would you be saying it was the best car if bottas was the lead driver?

  16. Good stats. If Vettel now wins championship it will be the new largest advantage overthrown. Such anomalies often fail to happen. I wonder what the betting odds are now on Vettel for champion?

    1. @jureo

      Such anomalies often fail to happen

      That’s why they are called ‘anomalies’ ;)

    2. The odds of Hamilton having a DNF in any given race at the moment might be something like 1/10. He really needs that to happen 3 times in the next 3 races to lose out. 1/10,,,,1/100,,,,1/1000 chance of hat happening. Even then, Vettel has to win the last 3 races, maybe he has a 2/3 chance in any given race if Hamilton is out…. 2/3,,,, 4/9,,,, 6/27 or about 1/5 of winning the next 3. In other words, odds of Vettel winning the WDC based on averages at this point is around 1/5000.

      1. Yes, makes sense, but shouldn’t it be 8/27 on vettel winning all 3 races? Thought it was 2^2 and 2^3, or is it actually 2*2 and 2*3?

  17. In 6 races at Austin, Red Bull have had 3 cars retired from the race at more or less the same part of the track – Webber in 2012, Verstappen in 2016 and Ricciardo in 2017. Surely a coincidence, but it’s interesting that 3 failures put them out at almost the same part of the track.

    Also, Kvyat crashed out in 2015 a few corners later…

  18. @enigma Nice stat. But is it really a coincidence when the retirement are all engine-related and happen on or just after the main straight?

    1. @matthijs I was thinking about that, similar to Singapore where subways can apparently affect reliability. But I think Verstappen had the problem before that part of the track, he just parked there.

  19. I got a stat that’ll knock your socks off. But before I start this is from a neutral, Aussie fan.

    At the Indian GP 2013, to remain in the title hunt Alonso had to either win or come second. Also Vettel just had to finish in the top 5 to knock Alonso out.

    This year, for Vettel to remain in the title hunt, he has to finish in first or second. Also Hamilton has to finish outside the top 5 to keep it open.

    So there you have it. Granted there were 3 more races in 2013 instead of 2 this year but it’s something to think about this weekend.

  20. @zactoad my socks are still in place.

  21. All Hamilton needs is a FIF.

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