In the second part of our look at the sats of the F1 season so far we’re looking at the race weekend- that’s practice, qualifying and the race.

Practice

We’ll keep this one quick, because there’s plenty to say about qualifying and the race. How significant are practice results anyway? Not hugely- it’s more about development and setup- but the fact that Sebastian Vettel has topped the most practice sessions this year (10) and also has the most pole positions (7) means there is some correlation. Then again Adrian Sutil has topped two practice sessions in 2010, and we’re yet to see him on the front row.

And here’s an oddity for you to enjoy: in Germany’s FP1 Vettel and Timo Glock set identical fastest times (1m28.735s), Glock finishing ahead of Vettel by dint of having set the lap first. Virgin should probably stick that in their press releases- ‘Virgin matches Red Bull’ isn’t something we’ll see again for a while.

Qualifying
LAT/Autosport

Having worked our way through practice (at record speed) it’s on to qualifying. Just three drivers have made it in to the top-ten shootout at every grand prix this season. No prizes for guessing that the Red Bull boys are two of them, but who could the third be? You may slightly surprised to hear that it’s not a Ferrari or a McLaren, but Renault’s Robert Kubica. The Polish ace’s ever-presence in Q3 has helped him to an average grid position of 6th this season, better than both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Robert’s also got the best record over his teammate in qualifying, having beaten Vitaly Petrov 11 times in 12 grand prix. Had Vitaly not finally beaten Robert in Hungary Kubica was on for a clean sweep.

Here’s another one that won’t shock you: the average grid this season has seen Sebastian Vettel take pole from Mark Webber, with Lewis Hamilton 3rd. The new teams’ cars make up the bottom six places on the grid, with Tonio Liuzzi averaging the dreaded 18th spot.

The average gap between the poleman and second place in 2010 is 0.278 second. The biggest difference came in Malaysia, where Mark Webber was 1.346 seconds clear, whilst the closest was just a few weeks ago in Germany, where Sebastian Vettel pipped Fernando Alonso by just 0.002- that’s two thousands of a second.

And the average gap from first to last? That’d be 7.619 seconds, way up on the 2009 average. The lack of speed of the Hispania cars explain that one.

Red Bull have taken 11 poles from 12 races in 2010, but they’re still a fair way from equalling the record for poles in a season. Both Williams (in 1992 and ’93) and McLaren (’88 and ’89) scored 15 poles from 16 races, a success rate of 94%. Red Bull will need to take pole at every remaining race this year to equal that. Still, with the qualy form they have, would you bet against it?

Sticking with Red Bull, their success in qualifying this year has seen them eclipse both Tyrrell and Benetton’s total number of pole positions. Still, they’re a long way off top spot- in fact they’re 187 poles shy of Ferrari.

The Race

Another lap led for Webber, in this case the final and most important one.

There have been a total of 737 racing laps in this year’s world championship, with 8 drivers having so far finished a lap in P1. Of those Mark Webber has led the most, crossing the line in first place 314 times followed by teammate Sebastian Vettel, who’s led 189 laps.

Next up is Jenson Button, race leader for 82 laps, putting him 26 clear of teammate Lewis Hamilton. And there’s a bit of an odd stat at Ferrari: Felipe Massa has led 40 laps, 1 more than Fernando Alonso, despite the fact the Spaniard has won 2 grand prix to Felipe’s zero. Then again, it took Massa a full 49 laps to get out of Alonso’s way in Germany. Only kidding.

The other two men to lead a race this year? One won’t surprise you- it’s Mercedes Nico Rosberg- but the other might…

Because it’s not Robert Kubica, Michael Schumacher or even Rubens Barrichello, but Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi. The Siwss completed a lap in the lead in Canada, making him the surprise inclusion on this list.

Laps Led in 2010*.

  1. Webber – 314
  2. Vettel – 189
  3. Button – 82
  4. Hamilton – 56
  5. Massa – 40
  6. Alonso – 39
  7. Rosberg – 16
  8. Buemi – 1

And that leads us on to another oddity: Buemi is the only man to cross the line in every position from first through last in 2010. Yep, you name a position and Sebastien has been there this season. The Ferrari boys run him close though, with Alonso having registered every position except last and Massa only needing to complete a lap in 18th to bag the full set. You can do it, guys!

On to the new teams’ drivers, among whom Heikki Kovalainen has run highest in a race, hitting the dizzying heights of 6th. Teammate Jarno Trulli meanwhile is yet to go higher than 13th, though he’s completed most laps in 17th. Karun Chandhok has spent 77 of the 479 laps he’s completed this year in 19th place, making it his most familiar position, whilst Bruno Senna feels most at home in 17th, Timo Glock calls 19th home and Lucas di Grassi would get mighty confused if you took him out of P.18. Got all that? Good.

The Post Race Palaver
LAT

So what happens after the race? The top three proceed to the podium, right? So who’s done that most? Well, it’s currently a draw, with 6 podium appearances apiece for Webber, Hamilton and Vettel, with Button and Alonso one behind them on 5. But if we’re compiling lists (and we clearly are- look, there’s one below!) Webber should be top of this one by dint of having 4 races wins, whilst Seb and Lewis have two each. Fair?

Podiums Finishes.

  1. Webber – 6
  2. Vettel – 6
  3. Hamilton – 6
  4. Button – 5
  5. Alonso – 5
  6. Rosberg – 3
  7. Massa – 3
  8. Kubica – 2

Finally, points, which are those handy little things drivers receive at the end of a race- if they’ve earned them. This is one you might have done at home, if you’re anything like this stat head: working out the points standings were we still using 2009 points system. Yes it’s pointless, and we have to embrace the future, but it’s something to do. So here’s how the top 10 of the drivers world championship would look with the old 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system.

LAT

2010 standings with 2009 points.

  1. Hamilton – 65
  2. Webber – 63
  3. Vettel – 61
  4. Button – 59
  5. Alonso – 57
  6. Massa – 39
  7. Rosberg – 36
  8. Kubica – 35
  9. Schumacher – 13
  10. Sutil – 11
  11. Barrichello – 10

Oh, what’s this? Lewis Hamilton would be leading the world championship under last year’s points system? It’s true, the McLaren driver would hold a slender 2 point advantage over ‘real life’ leader Mark Webber. That’s the new gigantic win bonus (a 7 point gap between first and second no less) coming in to play. And that seems fair- Mark’s 4 wins to Lewis’ 2 means he deserves the title lead. The other positions in the top 10 remain the same, but then what do they matter- first is all that counts.

A couple of other points to make: under the old system Michael Schumacher would only have finished in the points three times (in Bahrain, Spain and Turkey) rather than 7, whilst Jaime Alguersuari- who’s scored twice in 2010- wouldn’t have a single point on the board. It’s a crazy new system!

Badger has a final stat attack piece coming up- any requests for stats you’d like to see dug from our data files would be most welcome.