Mercedes’ record-breaking championship ‘sextuple double’

2019 Japanese Grand Prix stats and facts

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While we don’t yet know who will be the 2019 Formula 1 drivers’ world champion, we do know it will be someone who drives a Mercedes.

Valtteri Bottas’s victory in Suzuka yesterday means he is the only driver left who can prevent Lewis Hamilton from scoring a sixth world title. There are just 104 points available over the remaining races, and third-placed Charles Leclerc is 117 points adrift.

Last weekend Mercedes also put a lock on their sixth consecutive constructors’ championship title. This equals the record Ferrari set from 1999 to 2004. But Ferrari’s drivers did not manage a sweep of the available titles during that time – McLaren’s Mika Hakkinen took the 1999 crown.

Mercedes has therefore become the first team in F1 history to take a ‘sextuple double’, sweeping both championships for six consecutive seasons.

However the team will be well aware that the recent run of performance is not on their side. Japan was the sixth consecutive race without a Mercedes on pole position – the longest such streak since the last eight races of 2013 – and the fifth pole in a row for Ferrari. It ended a run of five poles in a row at Suzuka by Mercedes.

Sebastian Vettel took his fifth pole position at his favourite F1 track, though he remains three shy of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record. This was the first time in nine races he’d out-qualified Charles Leclerc, and ended his team mate’s streak of four poles in a row.

Bottas scored his third win of the season, equalling the number of victories he scored in 2017 following his win-less 2018. His sixth career victory puts him level with two world champions – John Surteesa and Jochen Rindt – plus Tony Brooks, Gilles Villeneuve, Jacques Laffite, Riccardo Patrese and Ralf Schumacher.

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Alexander Albon scored the best result of his career so far with fourth place. After five races at Red Bull, he is now within nine points of the driver he replaced at the team, Pierre Gasly, who was in the seat for 12 races.

Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Suzuka, 2019
Sainz is sixth – but Albon may catch him
However Red Bull’s driver swap has created an opportunity McLaren are eager to take advantage of. Carlos Sainz Jnr led the midfield home for the fifth time this year at Suzuka and by doing so moved up to sixth in the championship, three points ahead of Gasly. If he stays there, it’ll be the first time since 2015 a driver from outside Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull has finished in the top six.

Will he do it? Since Albon joined Red Bull he has out-scored Sainz 48-18, and is only 12 points behind, so the odds are not in Sainz’s favour.

Finally, an error with the chequered flag signal meant the race result was taken from the 52nd lap instead of the full 53-lap race distance. This was good news for Sergio Perez, who crashed out of ninth place on what should have been the final lap, and got his position back as a result. It cost Nico Hulkenberg and Lance Stroll a point each.

This is the fifth time a race has accidentally been ended early. Three of these were within the past five years: Yesterday, Canada last year and China in 2014. It also happened at the 1985 British Grand Prix and 1978 Argentinian Grand Prix. Other early endings have usually been due to weather, the race time limit or serious accidents.

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Review the year so far in statistics here:

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

2019 Japanese 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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19 comments on “Mercedes’ record-breaking championship ‘sextuple double’”

  1. As Albon was already mentioned, but for some reason not in the most important “category” – battle against teammate.

    And the facts are:
    – since joining RBR Albon has quite handily  beaten Verstappen on points – by a margin of 55%!!! (5 races, 48-31=17 points)
    – Verstappen didn’t lose so many points to teammate – by absolute value in points, and by margin % – in any 5 consecutive races since Canada 2018 (in those 5 races – 72-42=30 points difference, with Ricciardo earning 71% more points)
    – Verstappen hasn’t been point-negative to teammate since Belgium 2018 (where he was +2 total points vs Ricciardo)

    Of course some will claim how unlucky Verstappen was in the last races…
    But, c’mon, he set such low standards of driving all by himself, he shouldn’t complain or be surprised to be taken out by others – it is now a part of modern “hard racing”, where many overtakes and defence maneuvers are based not on skill of driver, but on sturdiness of the car – if it survives the crash into opponent and you are ahead – you “win”, if not – sorry, bad luck.

    (Sorry for a little bit of salt rubbing in the end, but Albon indeed performs well compared to hectic Verstappen)

    1. Oh come on don’t you know Verstappen is the greatest driver EVER!! in the known universe? Well according to some anyway :)
      All jokes aside he is very good and quite exciting to watch and I think he is very much a potential WDC and an asset to F1. But the fact of the matter is he has lots of competition and there are no guarantees.

    2. I was most impressed that Albon exactly matched Verstappen in qualifying. Points over short period can often be down to luck – Verstappen has had 2 retirements & started from 20th in 3 of the 5 races in that period, whereas Albon has had a bit of an easier time of it – although he did start from the back in Spa, finishing 5th compared to Max’s 8th in the same situation in Monza, but still, points over that amount of time isn’t always representative. What is representative, is the 2 qualifying sessions in which they went directly against one another. Albon was 6 tenths off in Singapore, but that can be explained by it being a very difficult track for rookies – Norris, who’s often had the measure of Sainz in qualifying, was 5 tenths off. Then in Suzuka, as mentioned, he got exactly the same time as Verstappen, which is especially impressive given many people see qualifying as one of Max’s best strengths. Albon has really impressed me, and convinced me that he definitely deserves the seat next year, especially if he can keep this form up over the next few races.

      1. It was a bad lap from verstappen in suzuka, no question.

        To further prove your point in singapore, bottas is consistently 7 tenths behind hamilton in qualifying, driver’s track.

        And yes, albon is doing better than I thought, I KNEW he’d do better than gasly because he was too subpar in a red bull, I just didn’t know if he’d do better than kvyat, guess that’s good enough for a number 2, so far we haven’t seen the real verstappen in recent races and probably not even the real red bull, I expected a better car from them.

  2. Only Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas can now win the drivers’ championship

    Gee wizz I wonder who it could be? ROFL

    1. Greatest mystery of all!

  3. Admittedly this is a rather subjective statistic, but this was the first race won by Bottas that wasnt mind-numbingly boring!

    1. @minnis Neither 2017 Austrian nor this year’s Azerbaijan GP wasn’t mind-numbingly boring, though. The season-opening Australian GP was relatively decent, as well.

  4. Some random stats:
    – Sixth career win moves Valtteri Bottas ahead of Keke Rosberg as the third most successful Finn in terms of race victories. There’s a long way to go to catch Kimi Räikkönen or Mika Häkkinen who are at 21 and 20 race wins respectively.
    – Suzuka becomes the second venue where Finnish drivers have won four times (Häkkinen in 1998 and 1999, Räikkönen in 2005, and now Bottas). The other being Spa, with three wins for Räikkönen and one for Häkkinen.
    (These do not include Nico Rosberg, as he raced with German licence)
    – With 64 points separating Bottas and Hamilton, Hamilton can secure the championship in the next race at Mexico if the outscores Bottas by 14 points (the gap would then be 78 points, and even if Bottas won all the remaining races and got the fastest lap in each one, Hamilton would win due to the number of race wins he has). A result like this has happened twice this year (in Canada, HAM P1 – BOT P4; and in Hungary, HAM P1 – BOT P8). So, in terms of statistics, it is likely not to happen.
    – Conversely, Bottas needs to outscore Hamilton by more than 16 points in each of the remaining races to grab the championship. A fifth place for Hamilton in all the four remaining rounds is enough, no matter what his team mate does. So far, Hamilton has only finished fifth or lower twice this year.

    1. @kaiie Kimi has won at Spa four times. In 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009

      1. Yeah but he cheated at the 1st corner in 2009 so that shouldn’t count ;)

  5. Didnt one of the Brazillian GP also ended early(Alonso had massive crash) for which winner trophies were exchanged later on due to Jordan successfully disputing the finishing order?

    Also more than a 1000 races and only handful of early finishing due to error is still a good success ratio.

  6. Mercedes has therefore become the first team in F1 history to take a ‘sextuple double’, sweeping both championships for six consecutive seasons.

    That depressed me a bit, the fact that I went through all of those 6 seasons

    It’d be pretty spectacular if Sainz gets 5th, be he might need some help Norris

    1. Even worse, Ferrari’s 5.5, Red Bull’s 4, and Merc’s 6 consecutive double championships have all occurred in the last 20 years. 15 of 20 WDCs to 3 drivers (LH, MSC, SV) and 17 of 20 WCCs to 3 teams (Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull).

      When you break out WDCs by team it is 16 of 20 to 3 teams (Ferrari, Merc, Red Bull). The only outliers being 2 by Fernando at Renault (neither will be winning a championship again soon), 1 by Button at Brawn (almost unrepeatable circumstances of a good but not great driver in a massively developed car, with the best engine, and a trick design deemed legal), and 1 by Hamilton at McLaren (the driver now being on a dominant team and the team now no longer dominant).

      When I compress it all into these sorts of numbers, it makes it look very boring. Hoping for a better 2020 and a maybe actual competition outside of Merc/Ferr in 2021.

  7. And to think the mind-numbing predictability of F1 only got worse over the decades..

  8. The only 2 tracks at which Vettel has had 5 pole positions are the two most recent tracks at which there has been a premature end-of-race signal.

    Hamilton has only ever finished 1st, 3rd, or 5th at Suzuka (excluding 1 DNF in 2013).

    Whenever qualifying has been delayed until Sunday, a German driver has ended up on pole.

    Joint-best result for a Thai driver (Prince Bira finished 4th in Switzerland 1950 and France 1954).

    Thanks to and for some of these.

  9. Bottas the only Merc driver not to win a WDC in those six years..

  10. This is the price of the durability rules on car parts. It’s also a tendency.

  11. Driveable = good.
    Safe = good.
    Durable = not F1, and expensive like hell at top level also.
    Fans don’t wanna see cars that can go around the world without breaking down.
    Fans wanna see this :

    I’d like to see lost championship because of mechanical failures, much more like than winning streaks due to reliability.

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