George Russell, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Russell is first driver to start behind a Red Bull and beat it in 2023

2023 Spanish Grand Prix stats and facts

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It took seven races, but someone has finally started behind a Red Bull and beaten it to the chequered flag.

Sergio Perez and George Russell shared the sixth row of the grid for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix. Russell got ahead of his rival at the start, made quicker work through the traffic ahead and beat him to the chequered flag by 3.423 seconds.

While that may have been the first sign that Red Bull are beatable this year, Max Verstappen produced a dominant performance which suggested otherwise. He headed every session with the exception of Q1, where he didn’t need to do as may laps as his rivals and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton topped the times.

Verstappen produced the third ‘grand slam’ of his career in the race, leading throughout from pole position and setting the fastest lap. The two previous occasions he had done this were at the Red Bull Ring in 2021 and Imola last year. Jim Clark holds the record for the most, eight, while Hamilton is closest to that on six.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023
Verstappen took his third career ‘grand slam’
This was the 40th victory of Verstappen career, and his next will put him on the same number as Ayrton Senna in fifth place on the all-time winners list.

Verstappen now has 24 pole positions and fastest laps, drawing level with Niki Lauda on both counts, and Nelson Piquet on the former.

For the second race in a row, Verstappen led every lap. He is also the last driver to have led two races throughout consecutively, having done so in both rounds at the Red Bull Ring in 2021. Since he overtook his team mate for the lead with 10 laps to go in Miami, Verstappen has now led for 154 consecutive laps.

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Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023
Alonso has started one-third of all points-scoring races
The Mercedes drivers joined him on the podium, with Russell taking the 10th podium finish of his F1 career. It puts him level with Maurice Trintignant, Tony Brooks and Romain Grosjean.

For only the second time this year Fernando Alonso failed to finish on the podium. His home fans saw his poorest performance of the season as he lined up eighth and finished seventh. Lance Stroll led his team mate home for the first time this year, though Alonso could probably have passed him had he chosen to.

This was the 362nd start of Alonso’s career in the 1,086th world championship race, meaning he has now started exactly one third of all races held.

Carlos Sainz Jnr achieved his best starting position of the season at home, lining up on the front row alongside Verstappen. The same was also true of third-placed Lando Norris. First-lap contact with Hamilton – the second time in as many years that has happened to the Mercedes driver at this track – meant Norris failed to score. Bizarrely, he now has more 17th-place finishes (five) than points scores (three) this year.

Pierre Gasly should have had his highest starting position since the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, having originally claimed fourth on the grid. However he was penalised twice for impeding, which left him 10th.

The subsequent reshuffle in the grid meant seven different constructors occupied the top seven places: Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Alpine and Haas. This is one short of the record for most different cars at the front of the grid. The record of eight was last matched at the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix and was also seen in Japan the same year and at the 1986 Monaco Grand Prix.

For the second time this year all 20 cars took the chequered flag. As with the first time this happened in Miami, and also at the following round in Monaco, the last one circulating was Logan Sargeant’s Williams. He and AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries remain the only drivers yet to score this year.

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

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2023 Spanish 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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29 comments on “Russell is first driver to start behind a Red Bull and beat it in 2023”

  1. 800th GP for Williams.

    Somewhat amazingly, only the first time HUL reached Q3 in Montmelo despite having been in higher midfield teams like Force India & Renault, & the first Spanish GP pole position for VER.
    Additionally, the latter did even better than achieving a Grand Schelem by also finishing first in each practice session, which either has never happened before or not for a long time, as I can’t recall any previous such feats.
    He’s also on a 26-race finishing & points streak (since the last Emilia-Romagna GP), the longest among the current full-time drivers.

    Other firsts are LEC’s first Q1 exit since the 2019 Monaco GP, & SAI’s first front-row start in Spain.

    Besides being the second 2023 race where all drivers reached the chequered flag, the Spanish GP was also entirely free of SC, VSC, red-flagging, & yellows.
    Additionally, the absence of SC, VSC, & red-flagging combined with the fast penultimate corner’s return led to the fourth-shortest Montmelo race & the fourth with the race winner’s overall time below 90 minutes.
    The shortest ones are 1:26:21.759 (2006), 1:27:16.830 (2005), & 1:27:32.841 (2004).

  2. Jimmy Cliff
    6th June 2023, 15:39

    Max is the youngest driver to reach 40 victories in F1 at 25y 247d beating Vettel’s record by over 2 years, they are the only drivers to achieve it while not yet 30.

    At 25y 247d, Vettel had 26 wins, Lewis had 14 wins, MSC had 9, Senna had 2 and Prost had none.

    Despite different fortune in competitive cars and different path in their first 9 season, Max (2023), Lewis (2015) and Vettel (2015) all achieved their 40th victory in the 9th season. For Schumacher (2000) and Senna (1993) it was their 10th season and for Prost (1990) his 11th season.

  3. Jonathan Parkin
    6th June 2023, 16:13

    Verstappen is halfway to beating Alberto Ascari who led 305 laps consecutively

    1. Jimmy Cliff
      6th June 2023, 16:53

      Excluding Austrian sprint race he needs to leads till end of lap 11 of British GP to break that record.
      154 done, 71 Canadian, 70 Austrian and 11 British = 306 laps

      Weirdly Schumacher won 2003 WDC leading just 303 laps (of 1,018 = 29.8%) the entire season (16 races).
      Prost went even more extreme in 1989 (16 races) leading just 258 laps (of 1,093 = 24.8%) while winning WDC despite Senna that same year leading 487 laps.

      Max so far in 2023 lead 69.1% of laps (despite Saudi Arabia, Baku & Miami issues) only beaten by the magnificent Clark leading 506 of 708 laps (71.5%) in 1963.

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        7th June 2023, 12:32

        With all the hype coming in 2021 as to how well these cars would be, etc I was expecting drivers to track the lead car and then flash past on the last lap.

        1. Yellow Baron
          7th June 2023, 16:04

          Unfortunately this isn’t MotoGP. More chance of that in indycar than f1 though

    2. 4LegitTitlesSebastianVettel
      6th June 2023, 23:56

      Can he beat the “being the only driver to have lead a race in 17 consecutive seasons” tho LOL

  4. Engine named HONDA RBPT has a win percentage of 100%. 7/7.
    Offenhauser has 91.67% 11/12
    RBPT: 77.27 17/22
    Climax: 41.67 40/96
    Mercedes: 212/548 38.69%
    Ferrari: 243/1061 22.90%

      1. Forgot to add
        “And win races it did. Between 1967 and 1985, DFV-powered cars entered 262 F1 races and took home victory in 155 of them. In 1969 and 1973, only DFV-powered F1 cars won races. And that’s without accounting for the variants of the engine that went on to be used in sports car racing or in F3000 (which was the series just below F1, now once again called F2).”

  5. First time since Belgium 2012 that at least 1 car from each of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari missed Q3.

    Verstappen’s last 6 results in Barcelona – 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 1st.

    First track at which Russell has finished on the podium twice.

    Red Bull have led every lap of the last 3 races – first team to do this since Mercedes in 2020 (Tuscany, Russia, Eifel).

    Hamilton’s last 7 podiums have all been 2nd places.

    Every driver has finished ahead of their team-mate (including races where one driver did not finish) at least once in 2023. Sargent is the only driver yet to start higher than his team-mate in 2023.

    Thanks to statsf1 and the official F1 site for some of these.

  6. I know that we have a longer calendar than in the past but the fact that Alonso has started a third of all contested F1 events is mind boggling!

    1. @skylab it’s incredible. Imagine someone arriving in F1 today with the aim of competing in one third of all races in a sport more than 70 years old? Yes, there are more races, but he did take a two year sabbatical (and raced other stuff), and he’s still driven and good at it. He seems the happiest we’ve ever seen him. He’s not going to get that third WC, but he doesn’t seem to care.

      Just doing any job for nearly quarter of a century would burn most people, or least make them disinterested. I’m quite enjoying Fernando’s ‘coda’. It’s a feel good story in a way.

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        7th June 2023, 8:41

        I’m eighteen months away from doing my current job for a quarter century

        1. Thank you for sharing it with us! I cannot thank you enough for that life saving piece of information. Thank you, thank you…

  7. 4LegitTitlesSebastianVettel
    6th June 2023, 23:55

    I LOVE RUSSELL. He is the best driver on the grid just needs faster car

    1. He beat lewis last year… and they had the same material, same car, same team. And he can do it again this year!!

  8. By my quick calculation, just over two-thirds of all race victories since the start of 2010 have been won by just three drivers. Vettel, Hamilton and Verstappen.

    1. Jimmy Cliff
      7th June 2023, 6:55

      Correct – 180 from 266 races = 68% – only in 3 (2017-2019) of those 14 years did all 3 win a race

      Since 2017 Lewis (50 wins) & Max (39 wins) just with the 2 of them, they won 89 of the 130 races = 68%

      The 41 not won by them were won by:
      Vettel = 11
      Bottas = 10
      Perez = 6
      Leclerc = 5
      Ricciardo = 4
      Raikonnen = 1
      Ocon = 1
      Sainz = 1
      Gasly = 1
      Russell = 1

      1. Thanks for the long-hand Jimmy :)

        To skew your stat slightly further, since 2017 the two dominant drivers (Hamilton and Verstappen) and their teammates during their respective dominant years (Bottas and Perez) have won 104 of 130 races which is exactly 80%. This is despite Ferrari’s resurgence in 2017-2019 which is quite remarkable !

        Red Bull nailed the 2009 aero regs and were never caught. Mercedes nailed the hybrid era and were never caught. Red Bull have now nailed the ground effect era and I don’t think you need a particularly expensive crystal ball to predict they won’t be caught until at least 2026 when the next generation of car reg’s are brought in.

        I place the primary reason for this on the complexity of the cars and the sheer size of the teams that produce them. Car development is simply not a nimble thing anymore and whilst there are outliers (Aston Martin for example) you are talking years of planning, research and development to make modest progress relative to the rest of the field.

        We don’t just need smaller and lighter cars, I think we need smaller and more nimble teams as well.

        1. Its hard to catch up when engines are locked in and aero timeplus dev budgets are limited by rule.

          The time F1 was the pinacle of motorsport, where not developing the car ment you lost out on track is long gone. Most paets are standardised or locked in now. No chance we ever get weird gizmos like xwings or a vaccuum fan and the likes

      2. Facts&Stats
        7th June 2023, 18:00

        Correct – 180 from 266 races = 68% – only in 3 (2017-2019) of those 14 years did all 3 win a race
        Since 2017 Lewis (50 wins) & Max (39 wins) just with the 2 of them, they won 89 of the 130 races = 68%

        I wonder what percentage of races Verstappen won in the last full season (2022).

  9. made quicker work through the traffic ahead and beat him to the chequered flag by 3.423 seconds.

    Need to see a replay of the start but George seemed to also jump a number of cars using the escape road.

    1. He did overtake those cars but because he used the right way that was allowed … (which i found strange because wasn’t Perez penaulized in Paul Richard for the same thing?)
      They really need profesional stewards to keep the rules constant.

      1. Facts&Stats
        7th June 2023, 18:02

        They really need profesional stewards to keep the rules constant.

        As long as you don’t call them ‘laymen’ ;)

      2. Alonso will take note. Expect him to do the same soon.

    2. Looking at the onboard, it was a combination of a great start, a good decision to bail out after being crowded at turn 1, a bit of luck at how well that worked for him and then a great middle lap. Definitely a little lucky or cunning at turn 1 but he did the majority of the hard work himself. Great lap really

    3. No no no no, Checo has mistakenly picked reverse gear. He was faster all the time but that moment in reverse ruined his race.

    4. No, I replayed the start in slow-mo, George kept abreast of the pack and rejoined as close to those cars he was racing pre escape road as reasonably possible. Imagine that escape road is also less rubbered in, more dusty and hence slippery?

      Laughed at George quipping with his engineer through the race, he does have a sense of humour.

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