Ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix Badger has been digging about in the archives to bring you a delectable selection of stats and facts about the event. Here’s what we’ve got on offer.
The 3.387 mile Shanghai International Circuit opened its gates in 2004, the same year that it hosted its maiden Formula One race. Designed by Herman Tilke (naturally), the venue is a pretty standard modern F1 facility, complete with Herr Tilke’s trademark twisty first sector and long back straight. Now, on to the stats…
Since the race debuted in ’04 it has run seven times and, quite impressively, produced seven different winners. Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello took the first before Fernando Alonso won aboard his Renault in 2005. Michael Schumacher won it in 2006 – to date his last victory in Formula One – and was followed by Kimi Raikkonen in ’07 and Lewis Hamilton in ’08, both of whom would go on to win the world championship in the same year that they won the race. Sebastian Vettel’s 2009 triumph and Jenson Button’s victory last season complete the magnificent seven – what odds on yet another different winner this year? Mr. Webber, you’re the best bet of making that happen.
Did you know that the 2008 event saw the biggest winning margin in the history of the grand prix, with Hamilton beating Felipe Massa by 14.925 seconds? Meanwhile the smallest margin of victory came at the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix, when Barrichello beat the BAR of Button by just 1.035 seconds, with third place Raikkonen less than half a second behind the Englishman. Close!
If you’ve got post-grand prix plans for Sunday here’s something to bare in mind: the longest Chinese Grand Prix – the 2009 event – lasted 1 hour, 57 minutes and 43.485 seconds. Epic! The shortest, if you were wondering, was in ’04. That came in at a paltry 1 hour, 29 minutes and 12.420 seconds.
Five drivers have contested all seven Chinese Grand Prix: Rubens Barrichello, Mark Webber, Jenson Button, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso. At the other end of the scale we have four first-timers in Shanghai this weekend, with Pastor Maldonado, Paul di Resta and Jerome d’Ambrosio all making their debut at the event. However Perez and d’Ambrosio have both raced here in GP2 Asia, whilst di Resta contseted FP1 at the circuit last season. That means Maldonado is the only man making his debut at the venue this weekend.
Michael Schumacher holds the lap record (a 1:32.238s) at the Shanghai International circuit, a time he set back in 2004. Since then Kimi Raikkonen (2005), Fernando Alonso (2006), Felipe Massa (2007), Lewis Hamilton (2008 & 2010) and Rubens Barrichello (2009) have recorded the fastest race laps at the event.
Ralf Schumacher scored the last of his 23 podiums as a Williams driver at the 2005 Chinese Grand Prix, a race that also saw Christian Klien take a career-best finish of fifth and Antonio ‘Jungle Boy’ Pizzonia contest his 20th and final Formula One event. As previously mentioned, 2006 saw Michael Schumacher’s most recent F1 victory, whilst in 2007 China saw Alex Wurz start his final grand prix and Sebastian Vettel scoring his first points in Red Bull colours at the wheel of a Toro Rosso. Two years later Seb would take the main team’s first grand prix victory at the same venue.
Did you know that the Zhuhai circuit was set to host China’s first Grand Prix back in 1999? The track – located in Southern China – was on the pre-season calendar, but F1 never arrived there after concerns over its logistical problems. These days it host several national and international racing events.
Unsurprisingly pole is the most common position that the race has been won from, with first on the grid translating in to first to the flag on four occasions. Drivers starting second, fifth and sixth have all taken one win, meaning that the stats suggest either the first or third row of the grid is the place to start at Shanghai. Second row? Forget it.
Did you know that Fernando Alonso crossed the line as race leader on every single lap of the 2005 Chinese Grand Prix – a true lights to flag victory for the Spaniard. That, added to the two other ocassions on which he’s led the race, make him the top lap leader at Shanghai, having spent 86 tours of the circuit in P1. Next up is Lewis Hamilton, with 77 laps led and Jenson Button on 51. Check out the full leaders’ table below.
- Fernando Alonso: 86
- Lewis Hamilton: 77
- Jenson Button: 51
- Sebastian Vettel: 49
- Rubens Barrichello: 47
- Kimi Raikkonen: 31
- Nico Rosberg: 16
- Michael Schumacher: 15
- Giancarlo Fisichella: 13
- Heikki Kovalainen: 3
- Mark Webber: 2
- Robert Kubica: 1
- Ralf Schumacher: 1
And that completes our look at the stats that make up Chinese Grand Prix. Got any more to add? Let us know in the comments box below.