Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011

Hamilton matches Clark’s record of team loyalty

2011 Australian GP stats & facts

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Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011

Lewis Hamilton reached an historic milestone in the Australian Grand Prix.

It was his 72nd start for McLaren, meaning he now shares the record for the longest F1 career spent driving for a single team with Jim Clark.

But while Clark took nine years to amass 72 starts for Lotus in world championship races, Hamilton has equalled the tally at the start of his fifth season.

Sebastian Vettel scored his first hat-trick of wins, adding his Australian victory to the two he scored at the end of last year. Indeed, he’s won four of the last five races.

It moves his wins total up to 11, giving him as many as Jacques Villeneuve, Felipe Massa and Rubens Barrichello.

The last time the reigning champion won the first race of the year was Fernando Alonso in 2006. That was also the last time a driver successfully defended their title.

Vettel also bagged his 20th podium finish and 16th pole position – the latter matching the totals of Kimi R??ikk??nen and Stirling Moss.

Vettel’s pole position time of 1’23.529 (an average speed of 228.552kph) was the fastest-ever lap of the Albert Park circuit in an F1 race weekend, almost four-tenths faster than the previous best also set by Vettel last year.

However the fastest lap in the race (Felipe Massa, 1’28.947) was almost five seconds slower than the record set by Michael Schumacher in 2004, of 1’24.125. The Drag Reduction System, tyres that degrade more rapidly and the refuelling ban explain much of the difference.

That was Massa’s first fastest lap since Monaco 2009. He’s racked up 13 in his career, as many as Jacky Ickx, Alan Jones and Riccardo Patrese.

Until this weekend Red Bull had never been on the podium at Melbourne. Vettel put that to an end, but Mark Webber once again failed to better his first result in his home race – fifth for Minardi in 2002.

Rubens Barrichello set a new record for starting more seasons than any other driver. He has raced every year since 1993, giving him a record 19 seasons, beating the previous record of 18 set by Graham Hill.

Assuming the FIA’s decision to exclude Sauber from the results is upheld, Paul di Resta became the 70th driver to score a world championship point in his first race.

That mark should have fallen to Sergio Perez. Instead he and team mate Kamui Kobayshi became the first drivers to be disqualified from a race since Lewis Hamilton at the same circuit two years earlier.

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Melbourne, 2011
Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Melbourne, 2011

Vitaly Petrov scored his first Formula 1 podium – and the first for a Russian driver – in his 20th start.

The return of Pirelli meant we had our first non-Bridgestone win since Alonso won for Renault on Michelin tyres at Suzuka in 2006. Pirelli made their first appearance in an F1 race since Australia 1991 and won their first race since Canada 1991.

Spotted any other interesting statistics and facts from the Australian Grand Prix weekend? Share them in the comments.

F1 Fanatic’s 2011 season statistics pages will be launched ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix.

2011 Australian Grand Prix

Browse all 2011 Australian Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Pirelli, Renault/LAT

Author information

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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171 comments on “Hamilton matches Clark’s record of team loyalty”

  1. This is the article I have most been waiting for!

    1. Ooh, I have a stat.

      HRT’s Liuzzi and Karthikeyan became the first drivers to ‘DNQ’ for a race since Alex Yoong failed to qualify his Minardi Asiatech within 107% of Michael Schumacher’s pole position time at the 2002 German Grand Prix at the (newly castrated) Hockenheimring.

    2. Me too :) the facts and stats articles are my favourite :)

      1. Same here. There’s nothing like making Excel pages full of stats!

        1. Perez is the first driver to be DSQ from points in his first race since Kubica made his debut in 2006.

          1. I read somewhere on Twiter he shares being DSQ from 7th on his debut, in a Sauber with RK.

    3. I always anticipate these articles as well. The thech articles from John are my other favorites.

      1. Tech, not thech.

  2. Didn’t David Coulthard stay with McLaren for 8 years?

    1. Coulthard didn’t spend his entire carreer at one team though. Hamilton (so far) has.

      1. Oh. Who’s to blame for the ambiguity?

        1. Looking at Twitter, I’m not the only one who understood the article wrong. So… *looks at the author*

          1. I am with you mate, this article isn’t particularly well articulated (a rarity for F1 Fanatic)

          2. I agree, it is always be the author’s fault when I don’t understand something.

        2. I think the second sentence spells it out quite plainly:

          “the record for the longest F1 career spent driving for a single team”

          What exactly about that is confusing you?

          1. How many races did Schumacher do with Ferrari? Or doesnt that count as he has driven for other teams? Same as Hakkinen.

          2. I must admit to being slightly confused when I first read it as well. I think in part because it’s such an obscure statistic (still interesting though, just not the first thing that springs to mind). It doesn’t really show team loyalty, what it shows to me is that Hamilton was fortunate enough to start his Formula 1 career for a very competitive team.

            I would have phrased it as “… driving for only one team”, since I don’t feel that amassing X starts for a single team excludes having started for others.

            I feel like this is going to come across as annoyingly grammar-nazi’ish, I hope not. Although I do find it interesting how language can be interpreted in so many ways.

          3. I think in part because it’s such an obscure statistic

            Given the recent hyped-up talk about Hamilton upping sticks to Red Bull I thought it was quite pertinent.

          4. Obscure, not irrelevant. It’s just an unusual record since when I think of a record, I think of something that someone would need to come a long and break. However in this case, the record would no longer be a record if Hamilton raced for another team, it wouldn’t be broken, just cease to be a record. My point was that because of the unusual nature of the record, it wasn’t the first thing that sprung to mind. :)

            As a complete change of subject, is there a limit on the depth of a comment tree, since I notice I can’t reply to the above comment.

          5. Obviously I and a lot of your readers were confused because our brains probably interpreted “F1 career” as career within the F1 team, not within F1 as a whole.

            I would’ve written it as “the record for the longest F1 career spent entirely driving for one team”, but hey, maybe I should make my own F1 site, with blackjack!

          6. Fair enough (and nice Futurama reference, someone knows how to get around me…)

          7. It’s kind of difficult to phrase for sure, but the statistic is relevant given the talk of a move to RBR, say, and Lewis’s own insistence on loyalty (including the recent chat with Whitmarsh).

            Loyalty is admirable but not when it’s blind. And given McLaren have almost been his ‘parents’ I get the feeling that a move elsewhere would be good for Hamilton’s development, however good the McLaren car this year or next.

          8. Adrian Sutil would also be matching Lewis and Jim had Spyker not been bought out in 2007 (assuming the team had survived this long without the buyout).

          9. I had to read it twice because my mind automatically thought ‘career’ and not ‘single team’, but it was quite clear after reading it a second time…..

          10. I also had the same impression reading the article. But I admit the text is perfect and I read it too fast at first. I also remembered Schumacher’s 100+ starts with Ferrari, but then I realized he was talking about drivers who raced for only one team during their whole careers.

            That’s a funny record: it’ll be ‘provisional’ until Hamilton retires, because if he ever drivers for another team, he loses it.

          11. Keith don’t be touchy. Everyone can do mistakes and you can (not in this case though) make confusing sentences.

          12. I wasn’t being touchy, I was literally asking what wasn’t clear. I took care to write the article as clearly as possible and I was disappointed some people were confused.

            Frankly, I think the eagerness to make a correction explains some of the confusion.

    2. Read the article again…

      1. Because Keith is in a slightly obtuse mood…(he’s either tired and grumpy or typing ‘read it again’ with a sly grin on his face)

        Scribe has, it by the way, but I’ll be long-winded.

        Lewis has ONLY ever driven for McLaren in F1 the same way that Jim Clark ONLY drove for Lotus.


        While Michael Schumacher was at Ferrari for donkey’s years and *won* 72 races for Ferrari (he started alround double that amount), he also drove for Benetton and now Mercedes (and, some might say, the FIA), Lewis has been with one team his entire career and has matched Jim Clark’s single-teamedness.

        Here’s hoping Lewis leaves the sport in a much less unfortunate way than Jimmy Clark…

      2. Good thing you warned. I had to read that three times to get it :-(

        I bet Hamilton is not feeling like moving away from them right now.

      3. I’ll agree to an extent with the complainers, but only a bit: it’s a nitpicky thing to complain about, it’s not too hard to figure out what it means and it’s a tricky thing to word concisely. Maybe: “record for the longest career spent driving with his first F1 team” hmm, not that great, maybe: “record for the longest F1 career spent driving for his original team”? No offense though, Keith – your writing is excellent, especially given how much you produce in the days surrounding a race weekend!

        1. excellent article as usual but agree is a bit confusing, couldn’t figure out how the Hamilton stat was right until read some of the comments!

      4. Haha, this is like with the iPhone and the death grip – you’re holding it wrong.

        There’s nothing wrong with the article, you’re all reading it wrong!

  3. This is the first time since Turkey 2009 that the leader of the World Championship has won a race (if you consider Vettel the leader, as by virtue of the #1 on his car he was listed first coming into the weekend).

    1. There is no leader before the start of the first race.

  4. Didn’t Senna stay at McLaren for 6 years, totalling some 96 GPs?

    1. Read the article again, it’s a single team that Lewis and Clark raced at. Never have they ever been in another teams car.

      I expect Schumacher’s Ferrari years were the longest stay at a single team.

      1. They were. I think he also had the longest partnership with another driver (Barrichello).

        1. I have a feeling Jenson and Lewis will be breaking that record soon

        2. Just! Schumacher and Rubens started 104 races together, Coulthard and Hakkinen were next up I believe, with 99 starts

          1. Alesi and Berger must be up there somewhere, they spent 5 seasons together (93-97) with two different teams (Ferrari, Benetton) though Berger missed 3 races in 97 and Alesi missed two in 94…

          2. Yeah, although for both couples it was the same number of seasons – 6.

        3. I thought that was Hakkinen and Coulthard (off the top of my head)

        4. Dan – Alesi and Berger were together for 5 seasons and started 82 races together. Back then of course, seasons were 16 races long, with a couple of 17s…

  5. wow.. didn’t even think of this

  6. So double DSQ yesterday, Hamilton in 2009, and there was also Barrichello in 2008. So the last 3 disqualifications all happened in Melbourne.

    And on another note, I remember watching my first GP2 Asia race in Qatar in 2009, and I remember only 4 people – Hulkenberg winning, Perez and Petrov on the podium, and Kobayashi crashing massively at the start. According to wikipedia, D’Ambrosio and Maldonado raced in that season as well. And who of those 6 is the only one not racing in f1 this year? Yep, the race winner…

    1. Interesting fact, that.

    2. And thw two before that were in Canada, Massa and Fisichella, so the last 5 DSQs have been in Commonwealth countries. Okay that’s stretching it but still true :P

      1. In fact the only one of the last 11 DSQs that wasn’t in a Commonwealth country was Sato in Japan 2005…

        1. Paul Gilbert
          28th March 2011, 18:26

          Sato was also DSQ’d in China 2006.

  7. What about Chandok for the quickest time taken to write off their car in a F1 season? I can’t recall a quicker one…

    1. good one!

    2. I disagree with this statement only because the car wasn’t written off. Lotus repaired it and Trulli drove in in FP2.

      If you trade “damage their car in an accident” for “write off their car”, then that statement has a high probability of being true.

  8. Perez, like Kubica, finished 7th on debut but was subsequently DSQ’d on a technicality. (Kubica was disqualified after Hungary 2006 for an underweight car IIRC)

    1. Also both were driving for what is effectively the same team…

      1. Wow, Sauber must learn to avoid that…

        1. Yeah, however in the case of Kubica it was more a communications failure: they should have advised him to get the ‘pick up rubber’ by driving over the marbles after the race. That would’ve added the extra weight he needed. At least, that’s what Niki Lauda said at the time and I cannot imagine him to be wrong…

          1. Well, we all know one has to do it after the race :) Too bad Kubi didn’t (or he simply forgot) and his team failed to advise him appropriately as all other teams do.

          2. Not entirely true. The final examination by Sauber revealed that Kubica’s fire extinguisher was damaged and leaked out during the race, thus causing the underweight.

          3. Oh, I didn’t know that, Phildick!

      2. Paul Gilbert
        28th March 2011, 13:36

        And on both occasions Felipe Massa scored the fastest lap and was eventually classified 7th.

    2. How many drivers have been disqualified from their debut race?

  9. I believe this is the first time since Diniz and Hill for Arrows, that two drivers have finished outside the 107% while the rule was in operation. Hill was allowed to race. Can anyone say when the last time both drivers from a team participated in qualifying but failed to qualify, and weren’t allowed to race?

    1. Probably the two Pacific’s at some stage in 1994…that my friends was a woeful team! Seeing as Australia was the last race in 94 I’ll say Austaralia!

      1. The 107% rule has only been in operation since 1996. I think both Fortis fell foul of it on a few occasions that season before the team eventually folded.

        But I believe the last time two cars from the same team fell outside 107% and weren’t allowed to race was the much-beloved Mastercard Lola team, at Melbourne in 1997.

        1. Ah, thought it was too easy to be true…

      2. Nope, it was the 2 Orange Arrows cars in France in 2002

        1. Well remembered. I’d forgotten about that one. They deliberately drove incredibly slowly so they wouldn’t have to race, as they couldn’t afford to.

          1. That was such a farce. Arrows were never a very good team but it was still sad to see them dying so publicly

          2. However, the last driver (rather than both members of the same team) to not qualify was Alex Yoong in Germany 2002 – the race after France 2002 (see first comment).

          3. Arrows were an awesome team with an awesome livery.

      3. Haha, GeeMac – Hill and Diniz were teammates in 1997, therefore 1994 couldn’t have been the last time since 1997. :)

        And just looking at the Australian GP in Melbourne:
        In 1996 – both Forti-Fords of Badoer and Montermini didn’t qualify
        In 1997 – both Lola-Fords of Sospiri and Rosset didn’t qualify

        Both Fortis failed to qualify together as many as 5 times in 1996.

        This also happend to Minardi and Arrows in the French GP of 1999. But all four drivers were allowed to race.
        Exactly the same thing (with the same lack of consequences) happend to Minardi and Arrows in the Belgian GP of 2001.

        And the last instance of two cars from one team not qualifying was in 2002, when the Arrows team deliberately failed to qualify for the 2002 French Grand Prix due to financial problems.

        1. Ned Flanders
          That was such a farce. Arrows were never a very good team

          Well, yeah. The only significant things they’ve left in my memory were Damon Hill’s “almost-a-win” in Hungary 1997 and their 2000 car, which to this day is for me the most beautiful car of the narrow cars era (1998- ):

          1. And it had one of the best liveries ever!