20 telling stats about each driver’s 2017 season

2017 F1 season review

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Who went all year without collecting a penalty? Which driver tended to finish one place lower than he started?

Here’s 20 season-defining stats on the drivers who did the most races this year:

Lewis Hamilton

He won the most races, so it’s no surprise Lewis Hamilton also led the most laps. Fittingly, he was in front for 44% of the entire 2017 season. He also scored points in every championship round, something only Michael Schumacher has done.

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas was the best qualifier of 2017 on average: He only started lower than sixth place due to penalties and averaged third place on Saturdays. He even started six of the first seven races from that position.

Daniel Ricciardo

On average Daniel Ricciardo finished more than four places higher than he started this year which was by far the best record of any driver who did the full season.

Max Verstappen

Although he was out-scored by Ricciardo over the season, Max Verstappen spent more than twice as many laps ahead of his team mate as he did behind him.

Sebastian Vettel

No one had a bigger points margin over their team mate at the end of the year than Sebastian Vettel: He beat Kimi Raikkonen by 112 points.

Kimi Raikkonen

In the first half of the season Kimi Raikkonen only finished higher than he started once. The second half was better: He never finished lower than he started.

Sergio Perez

For the second year in a row, Sergio Perez was the highest driver in the championship not driving for one of the ‘big three’ teams (Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull). He also finished in that position four times, the most of any driver, an achievement he shared with his team mate.

Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon won the fair play award (though perhaps his team mate would have something to say about that): He was the only driver to go all year without picking up a penalty of any kind.

Felipe Massa

Last year Felipe Massa was out-qualified by his team mate (Bottas) 17 times; this year he out-qualified Lance Stroll 17 times.

Lance Stroll

The only driver to reach the podium in a car other than a Mercedes, Ferrari or a Red Bull was Lance Stroll in Azerbaijan.

Fernando Alonso

Alonso led 27 laps in the Indianapolis 500 which was the first time he’d led a race for more than a thousand days. In contrast the highest place he held during an F1 race was fifth.

Stoffel Vandoorne

With a whopping 218 places of grid penalties, Stoffel Vandoorne was the most penalised driver of 2017.

Carlos Sainz Jnr

Carlos Sainz Jnr had the most retirements due to crashes with four: He hit Lance Stroll in Bahrain, Felipe Massa in Canada, was taken out by Daniil Kvyat in Britain and spun out in Japan.

Daniil Kvyat

Before he was dropped, Daniil Kvyat ran Carlos Sainz Jnr close in qualifying. Kvyat averaged just 0.034 seconds slower than his team mate, the closest fight between any two team mates all year.

Romain Grosjean

Haas finished ‘best of the rest’ – with only Mercedes, Ferraris or Red Bulls in front of them – just once all year, courtesy of Romain Grosjean in Austria.

Kevin Magnussen

Haas was the only team in which just one of its full-season drivers failed to reach Q3. That was Kevin Magnussen, who missed the top ten every time while Romain Grosjean got there on five occasions.

Nico Hulkenberg

Only two drivers who entered every race had an average finishing position which was worse than their starting position. Nico Hulkenberg had the worst record: On average he finished every race one place lower than he started.

Jolyon Palmer

The worst record against a team mate in qualifying in 2017 belonged to Jolyon Palmer. He was 0.838 seconds slower than Nico Hulkenberg on average over the 16 races they were paired at Renault.

Marcus Ericsson

No one had more Q1 departures than Marcus Ericsson. He dropped out in the first round of qualifying in 18 of the 20 races. Melbourne (above) was one of his few Q2 appearances.

Pascal Wehrlein

Pascal Wehrlein was the only driver who completed most of the season and scored points despite his team mate failing to do so.

Who was the best driver of 2017?

Cast your vote here:

Over to you

Have you got a killer stat on any of this year’s drivers? What’s your favourite factoid on the 2017 season? Share them in the comments.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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61 comments on “20 telling stats about each driver’s 2017 season”

  1. A fairer stat for Ericsson could be: “He was the closest driver in qualifying times compared to their team mate across the board”. Pascal made Q2 three times this year (albeit in 18 attempts), Ericsson made Q2 twice in 20 attempts.

    1. That one is taken by Kvyat (see above), @chrischrill.

      But if you want to spin it positively:
      “Ericsson progressed to Q2 1 race less than his team-mate; equalling the current WDC and #1 in the annual driver rankings.”
      Merry Christmas ;)

      1. I’ll take it! ;)

  2. Is Ocon’s stat including no penalties for grid drops? As Bottas and Ricciardo also haven’t had any in race penalties or penalty points from what I am aware.

    1. Yes. Esteban Ocon never had a grid drop for any reason either.

  3. It’s about any penalties – including grid drops for changing gearbox or power unit components.

    1. ok, i see.

  4. Grant Sharretts
    20th December 2017, 12:57

    Between the 2015 season to today, Fernando Alonso has 17 DNF’s. Previously he has had that same amount over a 9 years span from 2005-2014.

  5. Stoffel didn’t complain much but had a hell of a year, hope it gets better for the McLaren guys.
    Also Alonso is the only one that had more DNS/DNFs than race finishes this year, and yet manages to finish higher than his teammate.

  6. Fun with numbers, episode #19:
    “What if … the ‘Best of the Rest’ competition had been a championship in its own right?”
    (Inspired by the ‘telling stat’ for Lance Stroll, which might in fact be the single most misleading fact about his season)

    Final table:
    1. Pérez (316/4/2)
    2. Ocon (300/4/4)
    3. Massa (217/3/3)
    4. Sainz (184/3/1)
    5. Hülkenberg (170/3/6)
    6. Grosjean (149/1/2)
    7. Stroll (138/1/1)
    8. Magnussen (115/-/-)
    9. Alonso (95/1/1)
    10. Vandoorne (90/-/-)
    11. Kvyat (70/-/-)
    12. Palmer (68/-/-)
    13. Wehrlein (42/-/-)
    14. Ericsson (29/-/-)
    15. Gasly (18/-/-)
    16. Giovinazzi (6/-/-)
    17. Hartley (5/-/-)

    Team (Points/Wins/Poles)
    1. Force India (616/8/6)
    2. Williams (355/4/4)
    3. Renault (266/3/5)
    4. Haas (264/1/2)
    5. Toro Rosso (249/3/1)
    6. McLaren (185/1/1)
    7. Sauber (77/-/-)

    Is it useful? Probably not. Does it look fun? Definitely yes!

    1. Yes, McLaren is finally on the top step of the podium, get in there!

    2. Wow nice work.. you have too many spare time, hahah

      1. Maybe. But it took less than 15 minutes in Excel.

    3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      20th December 2017, 14:22

      Nice work nase. Yet again I’m left speechless at Williams’ decision to dump Massa.

      1. @thegrapeunwashed hahah you must be kidding me. He has nothing to bring to F1 anymore. He’s looking good in lists like this because the Williams was a decent car in the beginning of the year, and Stroll is just terrible..

        1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
          21st December 2017, 8:24

          @jesperfey13 I think that’s wrong. Until Stroll can beat him, Massa presents a known benchmark and is a quality driver. Can they replace him with another known benchmark? It’s not Kubica, Sirotkin, Wehrlein or the flaky Kvyat. Pair the wildly variable Stroll with another unknown and it’s unlikely that they’ll get reliable feedback, which seems an own goal when it comes to developing the car. Williams had a benchmark with Massa, it looks like they’ll have none in 2018.

          1. @thegrapeunwashed You say that when Williams is getting a different driver than Massa, they’re shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to developing the car? Well, seems like they have to try something, since it won’t be coming from the (not F1-worthy) paid driver Lance Stroll, and apparently also not from Felipe (link below). He is just not fast enough. He only looked decent this year on some occasions because Lance is really bad. Williams is going downhill, and they need to change things, otherwise they’ll end up fighting with Sauber next season for the constructors.


          2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
            21st December 2017, 10:03

            @jesperfey13 I can’t see what bearing that link has on Massa – when a team feels the need to improve it generally replaces its weakest driver, not its strongest one. I think Williams is making a big mistake… or being forced into an act of self-harm because of its financial situation. Either way, it doesn’t bode well for the future.

      2. @thegrapeunwashed
        I think it is related to money. Massa didn’t have a huge amount in the way of sponsors. He also wanted a bigger salary than he was currently getting. And something he said in one of his interviews as to why he was leaving, his wording sort of made it sound like it was related to money.
        Massa has not had a bad season at all and I think he has been very under rated. He hasn’t made any mistakes during the race that has resulted in a penalty or penalty point. He missed out on a possible race win due to problems, a very likely podium in Canada as well as suffering 2 punctures in Spain and Mexico that was not his fault in the slightest. He also had a slow puncture in Russia which lost him a very likely 6th position and turned it into a 9th. Then towards the end of the year, he had several outstanding performances. The only races I would question his performances was in China and Brazil. Almost every other race that he finished and didn’t have some sort of bad luck in, he scored points.
        He’s likely missed out on over 40 points this year and I am quite confident that if he hadn’t had any bad luck at all, he will have been about level with Ocon in the standings. I think I will have rated him as the 11th best driver this year. I find it a shame that Williams are not keeping Massa as I think he is a better choice performance wise than any others they are considering.

        1. @thegianthogweed
          Agree, but why would you question his performance in brazil? He got best on the rest, what else should he have done? He fended off alonso and perez.

          1. @esploratore
            My mistake. Sorry! I meant China and Singapore. Brazil was excellent! I thought he wasn’t abd enough to be called a struggler in Singapore as I don’t think it was him that went for one of the most strange strategies. He could have done a fair bit better if it wasn’t for that. It wasn’t as bad as China but certainly wasn’t one of his better drives.

        2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
          21st December 2017, 8:33

          @thegianthogweed Great post Ben, I wasn’t aware of the money angle – I really hope he wasn’t asking for more, given he should know about Williams’ financial situation. I think Massa has driven really well this year too, obviously he’s flattered by Stroll, but the team is getting rid of their strongest driver for what? For money? It’s sad to see Williams have fallen so low. Stroll’s own money decreases every year, so he’s not going to be with the team for much longer either. If they start churning through pay drivers they’ll begin to look like the new Minardi.

          1. @thegrapeunwashed His dad has a net worth of 2.4 BILLION usd.. I don’t think that money is the issue here for the Stroll’s. hahah

          2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
            21st December 2017, 9:57

            @jesperfey13 Stroll’s contract stipulates that the money his dad pumps in decreases rapidly each year – so Williams aren’t going to hold on to him for long unless his performance improves.

    4. How the hell did Hulkenburg get more poles that Renault? :) :)

      1. Blunder from my side. I originally had two separate columns for ‘Qualified first’ and ‘Started from pole’. Hülkenberg had 6 of the former and 5 of the latter. Looks like I forgot to fix the stat in the drivers table when I dropped the first category.

        Also, the poles in both the drivers and teams tables add up to just 19 instead of 20. I didn’t save the Excel sheet, so we’ll never know where I screwed up.

        1. Maybe you should have spent 16min on this ;)

          Great work; I like it.

          1. Best I can do is 15. ;-)

    5. Great work, love it!

    6. +1 Nice and interesting !

    7. Force India were in a weird position this season, consistently ahead of the midfield but nowhere near the top six. I expect a ding-dong between them, McLaren and Renault next year, and hopefully a little closer to the front.

    8. Very nice. So I’m guessing the Best of the Rest Championship was decided by Grosjean knocking Ocon off in Brazil?

      1. Haha nice catch,

        imagine that ! A tyre puncture decides who is champion

      2. Not quite, as Pérez would’ve scored 15 points that day, i.e. one point less than he needed to clinch the title. But what a story that would’ve been. ;-)

        1. And here’s the line chart of the championship that could’ve been.

    9. So hulk had most poles and i suppose the worst reliability, that’s why perez and ocon, even starting behind him have much point than him

    10. So, Force India is too dominant in this chart, just like Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull in the real standings. They are clearly in the league of their own. Now we need a third chart without them (just kidding).

  7. This stat still baffles me a bit: All of Verstappen’s wins have come after Kvyat had lost his drive either temporarily or permanently in a team, but what’s even more bizarre is that Perez started the same three races from 9th on the grid. A very bizarre coincidence or perhaps it isn’t a mere coincidence after all, who knows. How is this type of coincidence possible, LOL?

    1. I was aware of the Verstappen’s win stat, but hadn’t noticed Perez!

      but does this mean that Verstappen won’t win a race ever again?

      1. @johnmilk ”does this mean that Verstappen won’t win a race ever again?” – Perhaps, unless Kvyat gets the Williams drive for next season and gets dropped either during or after the season.

    2. You should check who qualified 1st every time Kvyat was promoted (a certain LH).

      1. @Egonovi Yes, Hamilton qualified first in the 2014 and ’15 Australian GPs and also qualified first in the 2017 US GP, but I’m not really sure whether the first two really count as Kvyat’s promotion to Red Bull for the 2015 season was confirmed ahead of the 2014 Japanese GP (although, LH started that race from pole position as well), but Kvyat’s drive at Toro Rosso for 2014 was confirmed ahead of a race in which a different driver qualified first (the 2013 Indian GP in which Vettel started from pole position).

  8. No one had a bigger points margin over their team mate at the end of the year than Sebastian Vettel: He beat Kimi Raikkonen by 112 points.

    This stat means nothing, unless it’s expressed with percentages. Beating your teammate by 20 points is something completely different depending whether it’s 235 to 215 (=9.3%) or 33 to 13 (=154%).

    1. I’m pretty sure – but don’t have the time to check the data – that it is even worse in percentage.

    2. none of the stats presented mean much if you take a closer look. just some bits of curious info

    3. @damon

      The other problem is the none points paying positions are excluded. This stat needs an additional factor to include positions.

  9. The hulk coming in as the worst record for start position vs finishing position goes to show how far he dragged that car in qualy. Or his racing was crap.

    1. @colinchapman He himself blamed it on the car being bad on the tyres in long runs. (Said in an interview in an ORF-pre-race-show in Singapore)

    2. @colinchapman
      A bit of both, I guess. Some great performances in qualifying, particularly in the early part of the season, followed by less impressive races.

      However, the stat has to be taken with a grain of salt, and it might even have a calculation error. I did the maths, and calculated an average starting position of 9.65 and an average finishing position of 10.07 for Hülkenberg, so just -0.42 places per race. And it all hinges on a single, ill-timed DNF in Hungary, where he retired on lap 67 but was classified 17th, as he had completed more than 90% of the race distance. If we count that as a DNF, his average finishing position climbs to 9.53, i.e. slightly better than his average starting position.

      Bad luck (or bad timing) may be a factor as well, as he was often running relatively highly before hitting trouble: 10th (Monaco), 4th (Azerbaijan), 13th (Hungary), 4th (Singapore), 8th (Japan), 16th (USA), 4th (Mexico).

    3. @colinchapman, I recall that a number of the midfield teams did imply, at least in the earlier parts of the 2017 season, that Renault’s car was a bit of a “one lap wonder”.

      It performed very strongly over a single lap, especially on the harder tyres that Pirelli used earlier in the season and which other teams struggled to bring up to temperature over a single lap, but over a longer run the car overworked the tyres and suffered from excessive tyre wear, meaning that they fell back over the course of a race stint.

    4. @colinchapman

      “Lies, Dang Lies, and Statistics”. I love stats, but this is a dang lie.

      Drivers in slow cars benefit in this stat. They will gain positions for every retirement. Similarly, they can’t lose much. Imagine spinning your Sauber 3 times. You’ll be near last but gain several places by DNF.

      The top six also fair well. If Hamilton crashes out in Q1 and starts last he will gain to at least P6. He gets a net of 13 places. Great work, DOTW!

      Meanwhile, midfield drivers like Hulkenberg will only gain from retirements at the front of the pack. If they start out of position they will gain fewer positions during a recovery drive.

      The stat is nearly meaningless.

  10. Really telling stats indeed. Strolls must be the most telling of them all.

  11. With a whopping 218 places of grid penalties, Stoffel Vandoorne was the most penalised driver of 2017.

    With a distance between (sets of) grid boxes of 16m, this means that Stoffel would have started before the tunnel in Monaco ;)

    1. Jolyon Palmer. He was 0.838 seconds slower than Nico Hulkenberg on average over the 16 races they were paired at Renault.

      A total of 13 seconds; must be somewhere in the pool area – thus well ahead of Stoffel ;)

  12. ”Pascal Wehrlein was the only driver who completed most of the season and scored points despite his team mate failing to do so.” – I don’t really get it. What does ‘completed most of the season’ specifically mean in this context? Hamilton is the only driver who finished (reached the chequered) all the races, so it can’t refer that.

    1. He didn’t take part in all 20 races (missing Australia and China), but he obviously has more in common with the drivers who took part in all 20 races (or 19/16/15 – Massa/Palmer/Kvyat) than with Button (1), di Resta (1), Giovinzazzi (2), Hartley (4), and Gasly (5).
      In other words, Ericsson was the only driver to who completed most (or all) of the season but failed to score any points (unlike his team mate). If Palmer hadn’t scored in Singapore, Hülkenberg and Wehrlein would’ve been the only drivers to score points despite their team mates failing to do so.

      1. @nase OK, now I get it.

  13. Crap story – really…

    This must be the kids section…

    1. I wonder if you would say the same if Magnussen’s stat had highlighted him in a positive manner. :D

  14. Great stats. Missing f1 article.

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