Dominant Mercedes enjoy biggest margin over rivals for more than 100 races

2020 Hungarian Grand Prix stats and facts

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Mercedes stunned their rivals in Hungary out-qualifying almost every other car by a full second in dry conditions.

Lance Stroll’s Racing Point RP20 was the only car which lapped within a second of the flying black machines last weekend. His qualifying effort was 0.93 seconds slower than pole-winner Lewis Hamilton’s, a deficit of 1.266% around the 73-second lap.

That’s the biggest performance advantage Mercedes have had since the first race of the 2015 season, when no one got within 1.39 seconds of them in qualifying as Albert Park.

Will this set the shape of things to come for the rest of the year? Red Bull’s surprisingly poor qualifying performance is partly why Mercedes were so far ahead. And note that last year while Mercedes had a very dominant car in Spain, later in the year they had a seven-race run without the quickest car:

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2020
Hamilton equalled Schumacher’s Hungary wins record
Hamilton continued to edge closer to beating Michael Schumacher’s outright record for most victories in Formula 1. He scored his 86th career in win Hungary last weekend, leaving him five behind the seven-times world champion.

“It’s odd for me because I remember being on the other side of the TV watching Michael win all those races and now I’m in it and I’m getting closer to the amount wins that he had,” said Hamilton after Sunday’s race.

“I’m like ‘geez, I’ve won a lot, and I’ve still not won as much as Michael’. It just reminds me of the dominance and the excellence that he showed for so long. And I can understand the position he was in, I can understand the pressures that he was in. It’s pretty remarkable.”

Hamilton equalled another Schumacher record by scoring his eighth Hungarian Grand Prix victory. This ties the record for most wins in the same race – Schumacher won the French Grand Prix eight times.

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Schumacher still comfortably holds the record for most wins in the same country, with 12 victories in Italy. During much of his career Italy held two races per season, at Monza and Imola. Hamilton has never raced twice in Italy during one grand prix season, but will later this year following the addition of Mugello to the reorganised 2020 F1 calendar.

Hamilton also took his 90th pole position on Saturday, already well clear of Schumacher’s former record, and his 48th fastest lap. He remains far behind Schumacher on the latter count – he needs 29 more to reach this record.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2020
Verstappen prevented a ‘grand slam’ for Hamilton
Had Max Verstappen not pitted one lap later than Hamilton at the start of the race and took the lead for one lap, the Mercedes driver would have led every lap of the race. Verstappen therefore narrowly denied Hamilton what would have been his seventh ‘grand slam’ of pole, win, fastest lap and leading every lap. Jim Clark holds this record, with eight.

Hamilton extended his already-record run of points scores to 36 races in a row. It is now more than two years since he failed to finish a race inside the top 10.

Had Hamilton not made his late pit stop for an extra set of tyres to bag the fastest lap bonus point, the final result would have made even more depressing reading for Mercedes’ rivals. Only the top five drivers finished on the leap lap, Alexander Albon got a lap back because Hamilton pitted, and Lance Stroll may have been spared going a lap down too.

Qualifying saw Williams get both cars into Q2 for the first time since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix. Third place for Stroll was his best result in a qualifying session, though it did not lead to his highest grid position: He qualified fourth at Monza in 2017 but started second due to penalties.

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

2020 Hungarian 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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53 comments on “Dominant Mercedes enjoy biggest margin over rivals for more than 100 races”

  1. good stat on Albon – shows he is a vast improvement over Gasly, contrary to some of the negative comments about him recently. sure, he isn’t on verstappen’s level, especially on race pace, but consistently getting good points is very important. It’s even more impressive when you consider the two races he didn’t finish in the top 6, he should have been on the podium if he hadn’t been punted off by hamilton both times. The worry is the race pace – I’m not sure it’s something he will develop over the course of this season and his team is notoriously impatient with its drivers. time will tell.

    1. @frood19 Yes, Red Bull has tended to be notoriously impatient with its drivers, but this time, they don’t really have a choice, but to stick with keeping him. At least for this season as I doubt the outcome would be any different if they were to replace him with either Gasly or Kvyat during an ongoing season. I also wouldn’t assume it’d ‘automatically’ be any different with a driver from the outside either since the same car is going to be in use also next year.

  2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    20th July 2020, 13:13

    Is the calculation based on qualifying times?

    1. @freelittlebirds It is based on the fastest time in all sessions, which is usually Q3 indeed.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        20th July 2020, 13:53

        Thanks for the clarification. The results imho are a bit skewed this week. Both Bottas and Lewis put in massive laps. I’d take 0.2 seconds off for both drivers.

        1. @freelittlebirds you may have missed it, but this is a “stats and facts” article.

          1. True, but it is worth mentioning that the deficit between Mercedes and the rest is not 100% down to the car, but also down to the drivers driving great laps when it matters.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            20th July 2020, 16:49

            Pretty much my point. Verstappen’s quali pace seemed unusually slow and the Mercedes drivers delivered record laps.

  3. I feel like there is a silly stat of fewest cars on the grid in a number of years, thanks to both Hass cars starting in the pitlane.

    Its probably not too uncommon for 2 to start in the pitlane, so if we say fewest cars starting from their correct position, then we can use Kimi’s error to make that only 17.

    1. @eurobrun Nice one, only 17 drivers started from their grid slot :) If only Bottas did make a false start, then it would have been only 16.

      1. If only Bottas did make a false start, then it would have been only 16.

        @eurobrun, @matthijs, I would accept the Bottas’ adjustement based on visible evidence, and raise you two by stating that only 14 cars left from their unaltered grid spot with the original front end.

    2. Doesn’t really compare to the Indianapolis 2005 grid!

  4. Interesting graphic, shows that since 2017 Mercedes have only had the best car just over half the time. The problem for their rivals is that they have invariably had the second-best car when it hasn’t been the absolute best.

    1. Peak performance and full race performance aren’t always directly related.
      Compare this graph with the actual results…

      1. Yeah I just thought it’s interesting, nothing more. Be good if they could overlay the winning driver for each race, see if having the “fastest car” translates into winning the race.

        1. Also mercedes had the 3rd fastest car at times, it’s just that ferrari had a subpar top driver in 2018, the car wasn’t exactly fast enough to win the title in 2017 and wasn’t consistent later on.

          1. If you want to call Vettel “subpar”, then you would need to call Leclerc “worse than subpar in qualies and 5% better at race results”.

            On the other hand, you might consider that if Alonso, Vettel, Raikkonen etc. drived for you and yet you couldn’t win once in ten years, then the problem might have been the team all along.

          2. @Postreader

            Vettel was subpar in 2018. That was always as clear as day.
            You don’t lose a championship by 88 points with equipement so close to the opposition if you’re not subpar.

            And what does Leclerc have to do with anything again?

  5. Can only congratulate them, really. Even when they’ve been second best, they’ve shown the teamwork and resolve to outperform.

    That’s the difference between them and Ferrari, not just the car.

  6. When was the last time both Ferrari’s did not finish on the lead lap due to lack of performance?

    1. I think it was at the 2011 Spanish Grand Prix. Alonso was 5th, lapped by Vettel and Hamilton. Massa retired for a gearbox failure.
      For both Ferrari lapped, you have to go back to the 2008 British Grand Prix. 4th place for Raikkonen and 13th for Massa but but it was a wet race so I don’t think you can see that as a lack of performance.

      1. Wow, I’m surprised you have to go that far back, I was expecting in 2014 you could find both ferraris lapped, or the fastest one lapped and the other retired.

        1. Ohh, spain 2014 almost everyone lapped including raikkonen, alonso 87 sec behind the lead, so almost!

          1. Japan 2014 had alonso retired due to a techical problem and raikkonen lapped, take with a grain of salt cause alonso was always extremely competitive for the car he had.

          2. And finally usa 2014 very similar to spain, alonso almost lapped, raikkonen lapped. So overall they got very close but never this bad in the hybrid era.

  7. Verstappen, #33, now has 33 points this season, and scored his 33rd podium.

    1. Lovely one!

  8. In this case it must also be because Red Bull massively dropped the ball on setup. It makes no sense their car is so much slower suddenly.

    More like they just messed up their setup prediction and got stuck from there. Happens more often with them. Last year they also had a few races where they suddenly couldn’t figure out what to do to improve.

  9. Someone please show this article to Toto. The man still thinks that their rivals stand a chance.

    1. @knightameer And then even if they are slower, like in 2019 Bahrain, Canada, Hungary, Russia, Japan and Mexico, Mercedes (Hamilton mostly) still wins the race.

  10. I wonder why and how did I lose my post despite it not featuring bad words, insults, or anything, LOL?

  11. With a Merc even Stroll will get a pole soon.

    1. It took Verstappen years to finally get one and he had plenty of opportunities in the fastest car for a few tracks. Ricciardo was faster though and he did manage to rack up a several pole positions.

      So yeah, you also need to hope the team mate isn’t better than Stroll, just like Verstappen only got his pole after Ricciardo left.

  12. The way to look at this is… Have Mercedes been dominant? Yes. Have they always had a dominant car? No.

    It’s the team and it’s drivers that have dominated, they’ve not necessarily been fastest.

  13. – This was the earliest running in the calendar year of the Hungarian GP (excluding the one in the 1936 race). The race is nowadays usually held a week or two later in July; or before the introduction of the summer break, later in August.
    – Three consecutive wins for Hamilton at Hungaroring, beats the previous best of two consecutive wins (achieved by Piquet, Senna, Villeneuve, Häkkinen, and Hamilton himself).
    – Just a random bit: just like in 2020, there were two Alfa Romeos at the back of the grid also for the first Hungarian GP in 1936.
    – Unless I’m mistaken, Albon’s 5th place in the championship is the highest place for a driver from Thailand. Previous best, 8th place, was shared by himself and Prince Bira.

  14. While I applaud the ingenuity and creativity of the Mercedes engineering team, as well as the skill of Hamilton and Bottas, their dominance threatens to make the races boring. Hamilton lapped all but the top 4 or 5 cars, what can be done to make the racing closer? The endurance racing series have a balance of power arrangement, which seems like F1 should consider (or reverse grid races).

  15. It’s pretty amazing to think Jim Clark still holds the record for most grand slams when you consider how many awesome drivers and dominant cars have competed in the sport since the 60s. What a legend!

    1. @tommy-c A brilliant driver. However the grand slam is now much more difficult to get since the introduction of the bonus point for fastest lap, meaning that even a driver who has qualified first, led every lap and won the race can be beaten to fastest lap by anyone in the top 10 with a sufficient gap to the next driver to put on fresh tyres. Hamilton was on the way to another last season when Vettel, in another anonymous race, pitted to grab the point.

      1. Because of various rule sets through out history there are only two stats that matter:

        Championships and wins. In that order.

        Everything else is just collateral.

        1. Even wins with 21 races compared to 16 or so isnt completely fair. Win % is more probably.

          1. Jose Lopes da Silva
            21st July 2020, 15:02

            Let alone with 8 or 9 races. Win % is much more.

      2. It is now more unlikely, no doubt. I’m thinking more that we’ve seen Senna, Prost, Schumacher, Vettel and Mansell for example have had seasons with superior machinery and flawless performances that I find it surprising that the record hasn’t been beaten, especially given the seasons have gotten longer since the 60s.

    2. It’s also due to the fact that nowadays all drivers make pit stops while in Clark’s era it was mostly run from the start to the finish without stopping.

  16. * With 3 races so far, Lando and Carlos have started each from 3rd, 8th and 9th position.
    Lando: 3rd (Aut), 9th (Sty), 8th (Hun)
    Carlos: 8th (Aut), 3rd (Sty), 9th (Hun)

    * Since Brazil checkered flag, the 4th lap leaded by Verstappen, ended a run of 200 consecutives laps leaded by the Mercedes drivers.

    * Both Mercedes drivers are the only ones that have completed all laps this season (212).
    Because of being lapped at Hungary, Norris and Perez have 211, and either Sainz & Giovinazzi have 210 (lapped at Styria & Hungary)

  17. It was 246th race finish for Kimi Räikkönen, a new record. Alonso has 245, Schumacher 237, Button 230 and Hamilton 226.

    1. I thought Barrichello had that record, 322 races started, can’t remember how many finished but I’d guess more than 246

      1. Nope, Barrichello has tons of retirements, something around 90 (he had some extremely poor reliability in the 90s). 322-90 = less than 246.

  18. If Lewis wins exactly 3 out of next 4 races and then wins at Monza he will make a remarkable coincidence with Michael that both drivers would have won their 90th grand prix at the same track!

  19. Hamilton’s 7th pole in Hungary – ties M Schumacher.

    Mercedes’ 65th front-row lockout – equals Ferrari.

    3rd year in a row that Bottas has started 2nd in Hungary.

    Only the 2nd time that Stroll has started higher than 8th – both occasions have been from the top 3.

    First time since 2013 that Perez has reached Q3 in Hungary.

    First time since Italy 2018 that both Williams cars reached Q2.

    3rd consecutive race in which 1 Renault has finished 8th and the other hasn’t scored.

    Every race so far this year has seen Verstappen either start 2nd or finish 2nd, but not both.

    6th time Perez has started 4th – he has never started higher.

    Grosjean is the only driver not to have beaten his team-mate in a race this year.

    Hamilton keeps alive his record of at least 1 fastest lap every year since 2010 (although Vettel has a longer unbroken streak but is yet to manage a FL in 2020).

    24th season in a row in which at least 1 Mercedes-powered car has managed a fastest lap – 1 shy of Ferrari’s currently-unbroken streak (which they could extend this year).

    2nd time in 3 races that a driver has started 7th and finished 2nd, having started on pole and finished 2nd after being passed late on in the same race in 2019 (Leclerc in Austria, Verstappen in Hungary).

    Thanks to statsf1 and Channel 4 for some of these.

  20. Team vs Driver
    I did try post these trivial stats elsewhere (And messed it up), here goes again.
    Driver Championship position vs Team Championship position. I.E. how often the driver finished higher than the team, visa versa and draws
    Lewis = 12 seasons: Lewis 2, Team 6, draw 4
    Michael = 16 seasons: Michael 1, Team 7 (3 post comeback) draw 11
    Trivial stats, and not particularly scientific, but fact is the Driver rarely out performs his Team, but the team regularly out performs the driver (even such greats as Lewis and Michael) indicating that Team/Car performance is the key component in winning championships for both Team and Driver.

    If you start looking at other drivers the stats start to favor the Team even more, the two above are exceptional yet still it is the Team that comes out on top.

    1. I can’t count, Michael = 19 seasons:)

    2. Actualy on re-count
      Lewis = Lewis 1, Team 6, Draw 5 (if we exclude 2007 when the team was disqualified from the top spot)

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