Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2011

Hamilton takes another Schumacher record as Mercedes sustain Sochi supremacy

2019 Russian Grand Prix stats and facts

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Mercedes have extended their unbeaten streak in the Russian Grand Prix, which includes not just the six world championship events held since 2014, but a pair of pre-championship races held a century ago.

By doing so they also denied Ferrari a fourth win in as many races this one (or, as one Reddit user wittily dubbed it, The Hunt for Red September). Had Ferrari won again, which they looked set to do before the Virtual Safety Car period, it would have been Mercedes’ longest win-less streak of the V6 hybrid era.

Lewis Hamilton therefore took his 82nd career victory. Michael Schumacher’s record 91 wins is edging ever closer: Hamilton’s shortfall is now down to a single digit.

Hamilton broke another of Schumacher’s records on Sunday. This was the 143rd race he has led, moving him past his Mercedes predecessor’s tally of 142. The last race Schumacher led, and the only time he officially headed the F1 field in a Mercedes, was the 2011 Japanese Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc was another driver inviting comparisons with Schumacher. On Saturday he took his fourth pole position in a row, becoming the first Ferrari driver to do so since Schumacher’s seven in a row from 2000-01.

(Note Felipe Massa came very close to doing this: From Japan 2006 to Spain 2007 he took five pole positions from six races. He missed out on pole in the 2007 Australian Grand Prix to team mate Kimi Raikkonen after his gearbox failed in Q2.)

Leclerc now has six pole positions this year, two more than anyone else and five more than team mate Sebastian Vettel, and has a strong chance of winning this year’s pole position trophy. He has moved up to third place in the championship ahead of Max Verstappen.

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After winning eight of the first 12 races before the summer break, Hamilton had a decent chance of breaking the record for most wins in a season. However having failed to win any of the first three races after the season resumed, Hamilton will only break this record if he triumphs in all the remaining races.

Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2019
The silver army is undefeated in Russia
Hamilton took the fastest lap and bonus point, meaning he took a maximum haul of 26 points for the third time this year. A sixth world championship title for the Mercedes driver is now virtually beyond doubt. The top five drivers can still mathematically win it, but Hamilton needs only fourth places with one fifth from the remaining rounds to be certain of the title. He can’t clinch the title in Suzuka, however.

Vettel pithily expressed his dissatisfaction with F1’s V6 hybrid power unit formula by remarking “bring back the fucking V12s” as he climbed out of his Ferrari. This was his first retirement due to a technical failure since the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix, almost two years ago.

While the V12s clearly have a romantic appeal, even to a driver who never raced them, they weren’t particularly successful engines for Ferrari. No Ferrari V12-powered car or driver ever won the world championship. The team’s final race with V12 power was the 1995 Australian Grand Prix, where one car went out in a collision and the other retired with… engine failure.

Finally, McLaren matched their season-best haul of 12 points again and by doing so moved onto 101 points. This is the first time the team has reached a century since 2014, the last time they were powered by Mercedes. They announced last weekend they will reunite with their old engine supplier in 2021…

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Review the year so far in statistics here:

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2019 Russian Grand Prix

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    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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    44 comments on “Hamilton takes another Schumacher record as Mercedes sustain Sochi supremacy”

    1. Always found that stat to be completely pointless. To be leading a race at any point other than at the finish should be called the ‘Winkelhock count’.

      1. 100% of races he took part in, he lead the race. A true icon. He also led 6/13 of the laps he took part in (which I imagine is also a record in terms of percentages).
        Also random stat I found when looking up race leader stats – Ascari lead 304 laps in a row in 1952. Insane.

        1. @hugh11 I had a look at the 1952 season, and it’s even more insane when you look in detail:
          – Ascari didn’t take part in the first race of the season and the second was Indy
          – of the remaining 6 races, Ascari won all of them. He won 4 leading every lap, led 35/36 laps in Belgium and Italy was his worst race with only 44/80 in the lead (with 36 laps running in 2nd).

    2. Look at that photo: that Schumacher’s rear wing looks like a wing from Mel Brooks’ parody.

      1. For me, the most striking difference is how today the driver is dwarfed by the car, back then it looked like the car was wrapped around the driver :)

        1. Halo effect, I believe.

          1. Also the cars being wider and longer now would have to do something with it

        2. @phylyp: The big fat cars of 2017 were Bernie’s way to sweeten the deal for the new big fat American FOM owners who plan to fatten them up even more for the 2021 slaughter…er… season.

          1. @jimmi-cynic – LOL, good one

            @xenn1 – quite true, while the halo might optically make the driver look like he’s sitting lower in a tall car, the increasing dimensions and weight of the car have probably had the greater effect on making the driver look small.

    3. “However neither the drivers’ nor the constructors’ championships can be won at the next race.”

      I don’t think this is correct. By my calculations, a lead of 176 points is required with 4 races to go (as Mercedes are already guaranteed to end the season with the most race wins). Mercedes currently lead the championship by 162 points, so outscoring Ferrari by 14 points in Japan will be enough (a 1-2 would guarantee this swing, among other possibilities).

      1. Referring to the Constructors championship clearly.

      2. I was thinking the same!
        14 points might be difficult, but anyway – possible

      3. @hammerheadgb Thanks – maths error by me. Fixed it.

    4. I think the constructors championship can be won if Mercedes get a 1-2 (even without fastest lap) or outscore Ferrari by 15 points.

    5. Bring back the V10’s, they sounded better

    6. Lewis has won the drivers championship too. The media go on about his lead of 73 points to Bottas, which is technically correct but he is not really racing his team mate. His points lead is really 107 to Leclerc. This gives him a 21.4 points lead over the 5 races. He needs only 57 points from the remaining five GPs to put it out of Bottas’s reach, and only 23 points from Leclerc.

      1. But Hamilton isn’t WDC until mathematically he can’t be beat. The most likely way for to lose WDC now is some kind of legal, health, or employment problem which keeps him from racing.

        Which leads to — if a Hamilton win in Japan can eliminate everyon but Bottas, and Bottas DNFs + gets a race ban, then isn’t Hamilton WDC?

        An really weird permutation would be Bottas DNF, then an issue making him unable or unwilling to race. Hamilton would take WDC whenever Bottas was ineligible to race, such as the moment Q1 started. I guess this could get really confusing if he participated in practice, I’m not sure when he would be officially ineligible.

        1. Mathematically, mmm, I’d say nothing is sure in that case, what if hamilton pulls a schumacher 1997 and gets dq’d?

          Can never be sure till it’s over in that respect.

          1. @esploratore

            If Bottas got a race ban for US GP I think he would be reduced to 3 races, for a max of 76 points. So if Hamilton left Japan + 76, which is mathematically possible, + Bottas race ban, wouldn’t he be WDC, without needing another point?

            An after race DQ could alter things, but that didn’t stop FIA/Liberty from having a celebration right after the Mexican GP last year. But yes, it could happen.

            My biggest problem is I can’t image Bottas earning a race ban!

    7. The stat about Ferrari not winning with a V12 is remarkable.

      They’ve seemingly won with every other common engine type but not their signature one.

      1. @crooky369 And it’s not limited to Ferrari – out of the 1,013 world championship races so far, just 41 were won with V12 power (though to be fair the number of cylinders has been capped at 10 or fewer for over two decades).

        1. @keithcollantine, I believe that it is incorrect though, mainly because there is a tendency to wrongly label the 015 series engine in the 312T as a flat 12 engine.

          Whilst it is fairly common for individuals to refer to it as a flat-12 engine, I believe that the Ferrari 015 series engine is officially defined as a V12 engine with a 180 degree bank angle – as the pistons are not horizontally opposed to each other and the pistons share common crank pins, it is not a flat engine, but instead meets the definition of a V engine where the banks are 180 degrees apart.

          Technically, therefore, Ferrari have won a championship with a V12 engine – just with one that is such a strange design that everybody thinks it’s a flat 12 engine.

          1. Fully agree with anon’s to-the-point assessment. Ferrari’s seven titles from 1975 to 1979 should be counted as “V12 titles”.

    8. The closest comparison of the Leclerc Vettel situation is Hamilton Alonso.

      The older driver trying too hard and making mistakes while the young gun is just going for it and showing up the old champ while moaning about his treatment.

      Perhaps that is why Hamilton seems so supportive of Leclerc. He is looking into a time travel mirror.

      1. @witan
        Alonso is only four years older than Hamilton, so that’s not even a close comparison given the gap between Vettel and Leclerc is eleven years.
        The more correct comparison is that both Vettel and Fernando are racing a driver who is the teams golden boy.
        And in the case of Fernando-Hamilton; Fernando never had a chance, no matter what……kinda like it’s panning out at Ferrari at the moment with the golden boy being managed by the team’s favourite son.

        1. and if Vettel consistently beats golden boy for the rest of the season; as he could have done during the middle of the season, then the team would flock back to Seb.

          As they would have with Alonso if he spent more time doing the business on track, rather than playing politics off it.

    9. While the V12s clearly have a romantic appeal, even to a driver who never raced them

      I chuckled at that

    10. “Finally, McLaren matched their season-best haul of 12 points again” That is truly sad reading. I cannot wait for them to be competitive again. Under Seidl they’re headed in the right direction, so hopefully soon.

      1. Would love to see Williams come back too

    11. While the V12s clearly have a romantic appeal, even to a driver who never raced them, they weren’t particularly successful engines for Ferrari. No Ferrari V12-powered car or driver ever won the world championship. The team’s final race with V12 power was the 1995 Australian Grand Prix, where one car went out in a collision and the other retired with… engine failure.

      I have to say that’s exactly what I thought when he said that!!

    12. Lewis has now won double the number of races won by his idol, Ayrton Senna.

    13. Hamilton took the fastest lap and bonus point…

      A point (sorry about the pun) I’d missed (ummm … sorrry again) was that Kevin Magnussen got the Fastest Lap at Singapore … but doesn’t get a point because he was outside the point scoring positions. This is wrong and needs to be remedied. If you were part of the race from the start and you get the fastest lap then you should get the Fastest Lap point.

      1. @drycrust No it should not be remedied. It was explained why this is the case and it should be like that. If anything, they should get rid of the point for the fastest lap. It’s not just a sponsor gimmick anyway.

    14. I think it was silly for Ferrari to make an agreement like they did. Some tracks have long runs into turn one and some are short, so what just race. Vettel appeared to be faster anyway. When LeClerc was told that Seb would let him by, Charles should have come up closer. Maybe he couldn’t. It would have been dumb for Sebastian to drop back and fall into the clutches of Hamilton.

      1. There was nothing silly about it. Just see how Hamilton was almost overtaken by Sainz, because Sainz got the tow from Vettel.

        If Leclerc had moved to the inside (as is normally done), Hamilton would have had the tow from Leclerc and Hamilton would ended up in front of Vettel and possibly he could even have out dragged Leclerc.

        And no, Vettel did NOT have a better start than Leclerc. It was completely identical until the slip stream kicked in. Then Vettel suddenly boosted past.

        1. I think the main reason Sainz briefly got ahead was the fact the Mercedes started on medium tyres. Apart from less physical grip they also take much longer to warm up, certainly not enough from a relatively slow formation lap and inherent wait time from being at the front of the grid while everyone else forms up.

    15. Canada 2019 – Vettel gets 5 second penalty – “It’s no longer the sport I fell in love with”.

      Russia 2019 – MGU-K failure – “Bring back the **** V12s”.

      Wonder if there’s a trend in the making here…

      1. Do you think he’s going to announce his retirement?

      2. @ninjenius He’s a time traveler?

    16. Leclerc is the first driver to start 4 races from pole in the same calendar month (although only 3 of the qualifying sessions took place in the month in question).

      Under the medals system that was proposed for the 2009 season, Hamilton would have clinched the title – with 5 races left, he has won 9 races and nobody else has won more than 2.

      2nd year in a row in which Bottas has finished 2nd 7 times.

      Mercedes and Alfa Romeo are now the only teams not to have had a mechanical DNF this season.

      4th is Red Bull’s best finish at Sochi.

      Leclerc is the first driver to finish in the top 4 at Sochi having made more than 1 pitstop.

      Thanks to statsf1.com and channel4.com for some of these.

    17. Ater Schumacher quit for the first time in 2006, I never thought we would see a driver breaking his record of 91 race wins, everyone said it wont happen. I guess records are made to be broken.

      All we can say is well done Lewis.

      1. Yes, it’s quite amazing really. His 7 WDCs I thought might be caught one day but I didn’t think 91 race wins would be touched, ever. Some will downplay the achievement when Lewis, inevitably, breaks the 91 mark but the real fans will appreciate what an amazing feat has been achieved. The way Lewis goes about racing makes his record much more notable. Schumacher? Not so much. He would’ve sold his grandmother for a win and regularly toyed with such low tactics

        1. I’d say given the changes it’s more likely the fastest lap record will not be touched, until a formula changes and flap becomes more important than it is now.

          1. @esploratore Hamilton broke the fastest lap record in this race though? And with stable regs, lower deg tyres and 12 months development it will be broken again next year, 95% likely barring Pirelli making more conservative compound selections for the 2020 race.

            If you’re talking about the outright lap record I dont think Charles was far off that and again for the reasons above I think that will fall next year too.

            Then the race is done here so I hope both records are broken!

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