How to stay in championship contention

The championship is hotting up, and with only six races to go, Vettel has almost got his second consecutive championship. Here, in handy table form, are the positions where each of Alonso, Button, Webber and Hamilton need to finish in order to ensure they remain in contention.

VET

 

ALO

BUT/WEB

HAM

1

4+

2

Out

2

7+

5+

1

3

9+

6+

2+

4

Any

8+

3+

5

9+

4+

6

Any

5+

7

6+

8

7+

9

8+

10

9+

11+

10+

As you can see, Vettel needs to finish on the podium to have a chance of being declared champion. If he wins, Hamilton is out of the running and only one of Button or Webber can remain in contention (they can’t both finish second). Hamilton also needs to finish ahead of Vettel in order to reduce the gap between the pair from its current 126 points, and he must finish in the points.
Alonso, who has been showing strong form recently, is likely to prevent Vettel from winning just yet. He has, after all, won the Singapore Grand Prix twice in the three years it has been running, though last year’s win was better than his 2008 win.
Even if the championship is wrapped up, don’t think it means the fun is over. The racing this year is some of the best we have seen in the modern era. And with the BBC/Sky deal coming into effect from next season, British viewers at least should watch until the end. It might be the last chance you’ll get to watch a full F1 season if you can’t afford or don’t want Sky.

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Driver points comparison

Thanks to his third place at Spa, Fernando Alonso became the second driver in Formula One history to reach 1000 points. But unlike Michael Schumacher, he only achieved this because of the 25-18-15… points system which began last season. With the big discrepancy between the current system and the old systems, it’s hard to compare between drivers. In fact, it was less than ten years ago that points became available for 7th and 8th, so some of the older drivers missed out on quite a few points compared to today’s drivers.
In order to really see how drivers stack up against one another, I had a look at some of the top points scorers in F1, especially those in the top ten points finishes as well as those with top ten career points. It quickly became clear that the new points system has massively inflated some drivers’ career points. Converting their results to the current system, here are the top ten F1 points scorers. No prizes for guessing number one.

10 – Jenson Button 1332 points
The Brit began his career when points were only available for the top six finishes. While he has done well in the current system, his long career has helped with the tally. As has his incredible 2009 season with Brawn, of course. In fact, in his actual career points total, pre-2010 is still greater than 2010 and 2011.

9 – Gerhard Berger 1420 points
Austrian Gerhard had a relatively low tally of career points because of the time when he was racing, never picking up points for 7th-10th. Yet he had a good proportion of points finishes anyway, so the new system was only going to massively inflate his total – as well as adding on those top ten finishes he didn’t get points for before.

8 – Kimi Raikkonen 1494 points
The Finn had a medium-length F1 career, and in the few seasons he raced, he picked up a world championship and lots of wins, but even more second and third place finishes. He did not finishes off the podium very often.

7 – Nelson Piquet 1680 points
World champion and brilliant Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet had a great career tally even though he could only pick up points down to sixth. And on top of that, he sometimes lost championship points due only a certain number of his results being allowed. He also picked up two second places in non-championship races, which have not been included in the score.

6 – David Coulthard 1726 points
Scot David Coulthard was a great F1 driver, and despite not picking up any world championships he has a great career points tally thanks to his long time in the series. He started in 1994 after the death of Ayrton Senna, and only retired in 2008. It’s the length of his time racing more than his results that have given him this tally.

5 – Fernando Alonso 1844 points
Fernando Alonso was the youngest world champion in 2005, and he’s only 30 now. Despite that, he has an incredible points tally and is on the verge of beating the man in fourth place. Considered one of the best drivers on the track, he is definitely one of the best all-time drivers as well.

4 – Ayrton Senna 1859.5 points
If Ayrton Senna had lived, he probably would have a much greater points tally than the one he left us with, perhaps even being able to challenge Prost or Schumacher’s numbers. An incredible driver with 41 wins under his belt, he usually finished on the podium. Out of 104 top-ten finishes, 80 were on the podium.

3 – Rubens Barrichello 1892 points
By contrast, Rubens Barrichello has only won 11 races, usually finding himself second-best to Schumacher. He has picked up 29 seconds and 28 thirds, coming fourth 20 times as well. He has plenty of off-podium finishes as well to boost his tally, and since he’s been in F1 longer than anyone else, it’s no surprise that he is ahead of Senna.

2 – Alain Prost 2452.5 points
Four-times world champion Alain Prost has an incredible career points tally, with 51 wins to his name. Like Senna, he more often than not finished on the podium. One of the greatest drivers of all time, the ‘professor’s’ driving style helped him avoid unnecessary accidents.

1 – Michael Schumacher – 3780 points
Seven world championships, 90 wins, 43 second places, 20 third places. Schumacher dominated the early 2000s. He’s still picking up points today! He has over 1000 points more than Prost, and nearly 3000 more than Sebastian Vettel (who has 855). But Sebastian is young and has many years ahead of him. All the same, it’s a huge gap.

I hope you found that interesting. The next five drivers, by the way, are Carlos Reutemann (1131), Ricardo Patrese (1105), Ralf Schumacher (1095), Felipe Massa (1061) and Lewis Hamilton (1029).

Formula One round 13 report

Round 13 of the Formula One World Championship, and the sun was shining on Monza. But 13 turned out to be a very unlucky number in a race of high attrition.
Three drivers didn’t even make it to the end of the first lap, as Tonio Liuzzi tripped on the grass and lost control, slamming his HRT into Petrov’s Renault as the Russian negotiated the first chicane. Petrov collided with Rosberg’s Mercedes, and the three of them were out of the race. The safety car was called to the track. A few drivers took advantage of the situation to pit including Bruno Senna, who had started on hard tyres. He was now on softs till the end of the race. Fernando Alonso overtook Sebastian Vettel, and led the race.
Next to fall was Jerome d’Ambrosio, retiring at the end of the first lap with mechanical issues. A couple of laps later the race restarted. Schumacher took advantage of a slow Lewis Hamilton to get into third, resulting in a battle for third that would last a long time due to McLaren’s short gear ratio choice. Mark Webber found himself in sixth behind Felipe Massa as lap four commenced. At the start of lap five, Webber went wide on the chicane and hit his front wing into the Ferrari. The wing got caught under his nose, and as Vettel overtook Alonso for the lead, Webber found his wheels had no contact with the ground and he went sliding into the tyre wall. Down five drivers already.
The next drivers to go were Adrian Sutil, Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez. Daniel Ricciardo had car problems and started the race late, finishing fourteen laps down and wasn’t classified. This left only fifteen classified finishes. We might have had some boring races in 2011, but we’ve also had some fantastic ones.
So Vettel won. Second was Jenson Button, who overtook Fernando Alonso in the middle of the race. Alonso came third, avoiding the oncoming Lewis Hamilton because of the chequered flag. A few more laps and he would have lost that position. Fifth was Michael Schumacher, who had a great race. This is the first time five world champions have finished a race in positions 1-5.
13 was unlucky for the two Williams drivers finishing 11th and 12th. But it was lucky for Bruno Senna who finished 9th and was closing on Di Resta in 8th. It’s the Brazilian’s first points in F1, and the first points for a Senna since Australia 1993. 13 was especially lucky for Heikki Kovalainen. The Finn finished in that position for the first time this season, allowing him to move up in the championship standings. He is now between Trulli and Liuzzi.

Di Resta’s points mean Force India overtakes Sauber in the constructor’s championship, while 7th for Alguersuari and 10th for Buemi see Toro Rosso closing on the Swiss team. The non-finish for Webber regulates him to fourth, but still ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Alonso is in second. Vettel extends his championship lead, and could win it at the next round in Singapore. The battle is on for second, where it is close between Alonso, Button, Webber and Hamilton.

Summer day 24 – Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso – 4
In the tense battle for second place, next up is Fernando Alonso. He came very close to winning the 2010 world championship, but a Renault got in his way. In Australia the same thing happened, with Vitaly Petrov able to get third before a charging Fernando could catch up to him. But this was really Ferrari’s best hope of a podium in the first part of the season; the Spaniard’s results in Malaysia and China were not fantastic.
Then came the Turkish Grand Prix and a change of fortune. The fantastic track played into the hands of Ferrari and they took their first podium this season. Spain was a bit of a blip and Fernando came third. Monaco was an important race for Fernando. He and Jenson Button were close behind Sebastian Vettel as the race neared its end. The only question was whether the German’s tyres would hold on long enough. But the answer never came as the red flag flew. The situation resumed as before, but the cars all had fresh tyres. And the Spaniard came second.
Canada was a bad race as he was tipped off the track in a racing incident at the other wall (ie: not the Wall of Champions) and failed to finish the race. But since then things have been going well again.
Valencia – a dull race and he finished second. But then Britain came. At first Vettel led, but Alonso was fastest. While Red Bull messed up in the pit lane and Alonso overtook that way, he would probably have overtaken on-track as he had good pace and was far ahead of the others by the end. And Britain was happy not to see a certain German take the podium.
In Germany, he took part in the amazing three-way battle for the lead between himself, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber. He didn’t win out, but it was another good race for himself and Ferrari. Finally in Hungary he was gifted third by Lewis Hamilton’s tyre mistake and spin. The last few races have been good for Fernando, but with Ferrari already getting stuck into their 2012 car, his end to the season may not be so strong.

Points: 145
Worst qualifying: 5
Best qualifying: 2
Worst finish: 7 (China)
Best finish: 1 (Britain)
Average difference: -1
Laps completed: 646/681 (95%)
Average race position: 3.73 (Best: 2.3 Britain; Worst: 6.3 China)

Former Hungaroring winners

There are plenty of former winners from the Hungaroring taking place in the races this weekend. Quite a few drivers made their win debuts at this track as well, helped perhaps by the difficulty in overtaking.

First Formula One, where the track has been part of the world championship since 1986. First won by Nelson Piquet, of the current F1 crop the first winner was Michael Schumacher in 1994. He also got pole position and fastest lap for Benneton. Schumi has also won here in 1998 (pole, fastest lap), 2001 (pole) and 2004 (pole, fastest lap, led every lap), but hasn’t dominated in comparison to his usual record at tracks. Rubens Barrichello also won here in 2002 for Ferrari getting pole and barely beating Schumi to the line, and the next year it was Fernando Alonso in the Renault – unsurprisingly, he also had pole.
More recently, the race hasn’t been won by anyone in their championship year. 2006 was the debut win for Jenson Button, who took the first victory for a British driver since Australia 2003. Incredibly Jenson did not start on pole – he qualified 4th and an engine change meant he started 14th. The next year was Lewis Hamilton’s debut season; the race was hit with controversy when Alonso held up his teammate in the pits. Hamilton qualified second, but started 1st because of a five-place grid penalty given to Alonso. Another win from pole.
2008, and Heikki Kovalainen’s first season with McLaren. He took his debut (and so far only) win at the Hungaroring after Hamilton got a puncture and Massa’s engine blew up. He’d started second on the track. Kovalainen became F1’s 10th winner. The next year, Hamilton won again, incredibly qualifying ahead of both Brawns. He was assisted by problems for Alonso on pole and Vettel who’d started second.
Last year, Mark Webber won the race because of a drive-through penalty for teammate and polesitter Sebastian Vettel, who had fallen too far behind the safety car and thus broken sporting regulations.

In GP2, Sebastien Buemi won the sprint race in 2008. Pastor Maldonado won the feature race last year. Neither are likely to win this weekend, but may score some points for their teams.
Current GP2 drivers Giedo van der Garde and Adam Carroll have also both won here in the series. Carroll won the feature race in 2007, and van der Garde won the sprint in 2009.

Last year’s GP3 feature race winner Nico Muller, who has won a race this year, took the feature GP3 race last year. If things continue the way they have been going, however, we’ll get another two new winners at Hungary.

A few drivers have had victories here in Formula Renault 3.5: Daniel Ricciardo won the first race in 2010, though if he won this year it would be a miracle. GP2 driver Fairuz Fauzy won the first race in 2009, and Giedo van der Garde won the first race the year before his GP2 victory at the track.

Practice sessions summarised

As it turns out, the FIA overall problem only affected the drivers of Ferrari, Mercedes and Force India. But they have got their problems sorted and were driving well this morning. There were also practice sessions for F2, GP2 and GP3 today. A summary follows after the jump.
Continue reading

Records progress

With the 2011 British Grand Prix, Jarno Trulli has entered 247 races – the same number as David Coulthard. The Italian has been in F1 since his impressive first season with Prost in 1997. Coulthard, however, beats him on starts. In his career, the Scot only failed to start the 2005 US Grand Prix when all the Michelin teams came into the pits after their start lap. While Trulli – who took pole there – also retired, he also failed to start three other Grands Prix: San Marino in 1997, Malaysia in 1999, and more recently the 2010 Australian Grand Prix in his unreliable Lotus. So Trulli requires three more race starts to match Coulthard.

Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso has achieved his 27th win – matching Jackie Stewart’s record. But while Stewart could complete the feat in 100 races, Fernando has taken 168. It is his 67th podium. At his next he will match Rubens Barrichello, though he will still be 12 behind Ayrton Senna’s 80.
Nico Rosberg and Nick Heidfeld are closer than ever in the ‘most points without a win’ battle. Heidfeld is a mere 1.5 points ahead of his fellow German.
Vettel now has 14 consecutive starts from the front row – a string extending from the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix. The last time he was off the front row was at the 2010 Italian Grand Prix, where he started 6th and finished 4th. He has 11 consecutive podium finishes starting from the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix – 9 consecutive from the start of the season matching Alonso in 2006 and Hamilton in 2007.

In all-time career points, Vettel has now overtaken Kimi Raikkonen’s 579, though Raikkonen never drove under the current points system. Vettel is only 20 points behind Hamilton. Meanwhile Mark Webber has knocked David Coulthard out of the top 10. Coulthard has 535 total career points, but Webber has managed half a point more. This means that the Aussie now has the second-most career points without being world champion – only Barrichello on 658 points has more.

This was Ferrari’s 215th victory, and their 15th at the British Grand Prix. But it was the 216th victory for a Ferrari engine, with the odd-victory-out being taken by Vettel in the Toro Rosso-Ferrari in 2008. The Scuderia have now beaten McLaren’s 14 British GP wins. It was also their 225th fastest lap.

This info is all from Wikipedia. It’s a very useful website!