Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

China is first country to score points on its debut since the championship began

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix stats and facts

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Charles Leclerc brought joy to Ferrari, and no small measure of relief, by scoring their first victory for more than two years last weekend.

By doing so he ended a 910-day win drought which was the team’s longest since the early nineties. Gerhard Berger’s victory at the Hockenheimring in 1994 came 1,400 days after the team’s previous win with Alain Prost at Jerez in 1990.

This was the third win of Leclerc’s career, giving him as many as Ferrari’s 1958 and 1961 world champions, Mike Hawthorn and Phil Hill respectively, plus several more of his Scuderia predecessors: Peter Collins, Didier Pironi and Giancarlo Fisichella, though the latter never won a race for the prancing horse.

Leclerc also took the 10th pole position of his career, giving him as many as 1970 world champion Jochen Rindt. He added the fastest lap too, and therefore scored the his first hat-trick to boot.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Leclerc took Ferrari’s first win since 2019
Ferrari already have more wins than any other team in F1. This was their 239th triumph. Their closest rival is McLaren on 183, and they only won once in the nine seasons prior to this. Given the respective form of the two teams last weekend, expect that 56-win gap to widen further this year.

With Carlos Sainz Jnr equalling the best result of his career with second, Ferrari took the 85th one-two in their history. They opened their account with a maximum haul of 44 points.

But this season will offer opportunities to score much higher. The changes to F1’s sprint race rules means there are up to 59 points available per team at three weekends this year, beginning with Ferrari’s first home round at Imola in one month’s time.

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In contrast the opening race of the season was a disaster for Red Bull, who failed to score. It’s the second time in three seasons they’ve left the opening race with nothing on the board.

Magnussen delivered on his return for Haas
A double misfortune for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez opened the door for Lewis Hamilton to finish on the podium. He has now done so in all 16 consecutive seasons he has competed in, which is a record, one longer than Michael Schumacher’s streak.

The Red Bull drama also produced windfall results further down the field. Kevin Magnussen made a jubilant return to F1 by taking fifth place for Haas. He’s only finished higher once in his career, when he took second place in the 2014 season-opener (following the disqualification of Daniel Ricciardo, on another occasion when Red Bull started the season point-less).

Bahrain has been a happy hunting ground for Haas in the past. It took fifth place at the track in 2016, only its second race in F1, and aside from Romain Grosjean’s fourth place at the Red Bull Ring in 2018 it has never finished higher anywhere.

The breakthrough result followed two painful years for the team. In a single race, Magnussen’s 10-point haul exceeded their combined totals for 2020 and 2021, of just four.

George Russell did not improve on the best finish of his career with fourth place. However 12 points is the most he has scored in a race, as second at Spa last year earned him just nine as half-points were awarded.

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Zhou Guanyu also rose from 12th to finish 10th, claiming the final point on his debut. It also meant China became the first country to have a debut points-scorer since the world championship began.

However it bears pointing out several countries can lay claim to similar achievements. The first New Zealander to start a race, Bruce McLaren, finished fifth on his debut in the 1958 German Grand Prix, but was not eligible to score points under the rules of the time because he was driving a Formula 2 car.

Five other countries saw their first drivers finish inside the top 10 on their debuts in the days before points were awarded for all those positions. They are:

CountryDriverRacePositionNotes
RhodesiaJohn Love1962 South African Grand Prix8thRhodesia is now part of Zimbabwe and Zambia
NetherlandsJan Flinterman1952 Dutch Grand Prix9thShared drive with Chico Landi (Brazil)
CanadaPeter Ryan1961 United States Grand Prix9th
SpainPace Godia1951 Spanish Grand Prix10th
PortugalNicha Cabral1959 Portuguese Grand Prix10th

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

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2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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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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69 comments on “China is first country to score points on its debut since the championship began”

  1. 102th consecutive Q3 appearance for Bottas, & the first for K-Mag since 2019 Brazilian GP.

    Leclerc’s & Ferrari’s first win since 2019 Italian & Singapore GPs, respectively.
    Also, the first time Ferrari has led both WDC & WCC since 2018 British GP & of course, the first time for Leclerc leading the former. Additionally, first Ferrari 1-2 since 2010 German GP, the infamous team order race.

    RBR’s first double non-finish since 2018 Azerbaijan GP.

    Haas best result since that 2018 Austrian GP & AR’s since 2019 Brazilian GP.
    Furthermore, the former team’s first points-finish since the 2010 Eifel GP.

    Tsunoda has finished in the points in his Bahrain GP outings thus far, a position higher this time around.

    1. The last 1-2 for Ferrari was Hungarian gp 2017.

      1. @albo94 Thanks. 2019 Singapore GP, of course.
        I should’ve recalled & or double-checked rather than merely go by memory.
        @philby

        1. @Jere Same here I forgot about Singapore 2019 but remembered that Ferrari had finished twice 1-2 in 2017 with Vettel-Raikkonen.

          1. Monaco ?

    2. Tsunoda has finished in the points in his Bahrain GP outings thus far, a position higher this time around.

      The first points finish for a RBPT powered car ;)

      1. @jff Good note.

    3. I am pretty sure Ferrari last 1-2 was Singapore 2019.

    4. You forgot austria 2020 for the red bull’s last double DNF, or maybe you purposely didn’t include that cause albon was classified since he retired after 90% of the race.

      1. @esploratore1 No, I simply forgot rather than left out because Albon got classified.
        I guess I should do more double-checking than solely rely on memory despite having a long memory.

  2. Every time when Ferrari has started the season with a pole and a win they have won the drivers title.

    1. True, but as recently as 2010 they started with a 1-2 finish and then only featured in the podium once for the next 10 races!

      1. @chrischrill that’s not accurate, both Massa and Alonso scored a number of podiums in the first 10 races.

  3. The drivers that scored in first race of first championship can also claim it.
    Plus we still have to check all drivers to 10th place.

  4. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that two Asian drivers from different countries have finished in the points. Satoru Nakajima and Aguri Suzuki finished together in the points twice, but until Sunday, they had only ever been Japanese.

    1. Did we ever have three Asian drivers in an F1 race, let alone finishing the race.

      1. Officially, Albon, Zhou and Tsunoda as Albon races under a Thai licence even though he grew up in Suffolk. Also Nakajima, Suzuki and Naoki Hattori entered the last two rounds of the 1991 season, but Hattori failed to pass qualifying in both of them.

        1. @Nomad Despite the officiality via a racing license, I consider him Brit since he’s England-born & grew up in the country (& even raced under Union Jack in the early-2010s).

      2. jff, if you allow individuals from the same nation, there were three Japanese drivers at the 1977 Japanese GP (Kazuyoshi Hoshino, Noritake Takahara and Kunimitsu Takahashi).

        1. thanks.
          As Noritake Takahara didn’t finish the race (out due to collision* on lap two), we have a first with three Asian drivers finishing an F1 race.

          * need to check that race to see how the pole sitter could collide and take out numbers 19 and 21 on only the second lap.

          1. jff, Andretti didn’t collide with either of those drivers – what happened was that Andretti had a terrible start and dropped to 8th on the first lap. On the 2nd lap, he passed Stuck to move up to 7th, but he then tried an overly optimistic move on Laffite and ended up sliding off the track and into the barriers.

            That left part of the track covered in debris, with Takahara listed as having struck one of the wheels which had been ripped off Andretti’s car and Binder listed as having spun and crashed whilst trying to avoid Takahara and the debris form Andretti’s car.

        2. Also the Japanese GP in 1994 (Ukyo Katayama, Hideki Noda and Taki Inoue, also all Japanese). All of them had retired within the first three laps of the race.

  5. What about Kevin Magnussen’s 3rd place in his first race ?

    1. He was not the first F1 driver under a Danish flag.

    2. Also KMag’s dad Jan Magnussen scored a point in 1998 Canadian GP

  6. It also meant China became the first country to have a debut points-scorer since the world championship began.

    I am not sure I quite understand this. It may be a question of language understanding (English is very much a second language to me), but if Magnussen claimed a podium on his debut, doesn’t that put Denmark in the running for that honour?

    1. There had been several Danish F1 drivers prior to Magnussen.

    2. I think the point is that China is the first country to have a driver from a country which is being represented in F1 for the first time to have that driver score points in their first race.

      1. Which is wrong anyway because whomever scored in the first F1 championship race already took this supposed record.

        1. @trido I think it’s not about who has the first one it’s about how many countries have it.

        2. The statistic is remarkable due to the 72 year history. Using this statistic for the first race is not remarkable. It’s like using the one time winners of the Indy 500 to claim F1 race winning percentage of 100% which is not remarkable compared to Fangio’s career percentage of 47%.

  7. Pastor Maldonado Has never scored a point at the Bahrain Grand Prix and with him not currently holding a seat this trend looks likely to continue.

    1. Good spot!

    2. Happens every year!

  8. Pretty pointless statistical info though.

    1. Pretty pointless comment too 👍

      1. And a pointless reply. lol

        1. Charles Leclerc crossed the finish line first. So he won ;)

        2. And a pointless reply to the reply, and I already admit my reply to the reply to the reply is also pointless.

  9. This wouldn’t even be true if you discounted retirements. He’s failed to spray champagne in 25% of his openers in fact. 2 of which were just off the podium results, 2013 P3 and P4 in 2020, while he retired from pole on the 2nd lap in his Merc debut as well as had his Trulli scandal in his first race as reigning champion from which he was disqualified. As far as the Michael bit, he never had more than 3 openers consecutively on the podium in his entire career.

    “A double misfortune for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez opened the door for Lewis Hamilton to finish on the podium. He has now done so in all 16 consecutive seasons he has competed in, which is a record, one longer than Michael Schumacher’s streak.”

    1. The statistic is right, as it means he finished on the podium at least one time in every season, not just the opening race.

  10. 2013 P5*, not P3 of course. Fat fingered that one

  11. Surely whoever won the first ever F1 grand prix would have been the first to win a point for their country on their debut?

    1. Giuseppe “Nino” Farina for Italy takes that honor in the 1950 British Grand Prix. A lot of records were set that race solely due to it being the first official World Drivers Championship F1 race. Farina was also the first person to get pole on debut, fastest lap on debut, first person to lead the championship standings on debut, etc etc. For that reason, many statisticians of F1 don’t count the first race when they talk about statistics relating to a drivers first race. Also worth noting, Formula One actually started holding races in 1946, so many of the drivers that participated in the World Drivers Championship races, which didn’t start until 1950, had already been racing in F1 for a few years prior to 1950 (Farina started racing in 1933 for example).

    2. Of course but that’s not statistically interesting.

  12. Ferrari’s best combined grid position since Mexico 2019.
    Lewis Hamilton’s worst qualifying since Turkey 2020, and before that USA 2019 and then Brazil 2017.
    Valtteri Bottas with the best grid slot for Alfa Romeo since Spa 2019, and closer to Hamilton than on six occasions last year.
    Kevin Magnussen’s best grid slot since Monaco 2019, and Haas’s since Brazil 2019.
    Mick Schumacher’s best qualifying.
    Max Verstappen’s first mechanical retirement since Monza 2020.
    Ferrari lead the championship for the first time since 2018.
    Best result for Haas since Austria 2018, and for Alfa Romeo since Brazil 2019.

  13. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
    23rd March 2022, 17:54

    Here’s a fairly obscure one:

    Last Sunday’s race marked the 26th time that a Magnussen and at least one Schumacher shared the grid in Formula 1. However, it was the first time a Magnussen and a Schumacher did so as teammates. It was also the first time (not counting retirements) that the Magnussen finished ahead.

    While I’m at it – a minor detail, @keithcollantine. In the article you wrote that

    In a single race, Magnussen’s 10-point haul exceeded [Haas’] combined totals for 2020 and 2021, of just four.

    Actually, Haas only scored three points during those two years. Like I said, just a minor detail. But I figured I’d mention it while I was at it.

    1. 26, shouldn’t it be 25?
      Jan M had 24 races on the grid
      And KMag this one.

      1. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
        23rd March 2022, 18:45

        I actually debated that with myself before posting, @melmgreen.

        It’s true – according to the official stats, Jan Magnussen DNS’ed at the 1997 Brazilian Grand Prix, bringing his and Kevin’s combined total down to 25, as you wrote.

        However, Jan’s DNS came when the race was restarted after having been red-flagged. So, strictly speaking, he did share the grid with the Schumachers (Michael and Ralf) at the first start.

    2. It’s the first time since 1997 that a Schumacher, Verstappen and Magnussen have started an F1 race together.

      1. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
        23rd March 2022, 18:48

        Also a good one. I’m a bit embarrassed that I didn’t spot it.

        1. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
          23rd March 2022, 18:57

          That does beg the question (and I’m hoping that someone more knowledgeable than me will chime in) – was this the first time that three sons of former F1 drivers were on the grid at the same time?

          1. In 2016 we had Max, Nico, Kevin and Jolyon. I think 4 is the highest at once.

          2. No, it wasn’t. It already happened in 1994, with Damon Hill, Christian Fittipaldi and David Brabham.

          3. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
            23rd March 2022, 20:49

            In 2016 we had Max, Nico, Kevin and Jolyon.

            Of course. I already knew that, but I had somehow managed to forget it. Thanks for reminding me, @eurobrun!

            It already happened in 1994, with Damon Hill, Christian Fittipaldi and David Brabham.

            I had completely, totally forgotten about Christian Fittipaldi and David Brabham ever being in F1. Thank you to you too, @srga91!

            (The website wouldn’t let me post this as a reply to your comments, so I did it this way instead.)

  14. With his latest mechanical retirement Max has now the highest DNF rate of all drivers on the grid with 30 DNF’s in 142 races = 21.13%, he surpassed Hulkenberg at 21.11% and Alonso at 20.60%.

    1. Wow, I had a feeling verstappen was very unlucky with mechanical dnf (I know this stat also includes crashes).

      1. He does his fair share of kerb riding too – must contribute to the failure rate.

  15. Um, whoever scored points in the first acknowledged F1 championship race already took the supposed record of nations first points on debut.

  16. The first New Zealander to start a race, Bruce McLaren, finished fifth on his debut in the 1958 German Grand Prix, but was not eligible to score points under the rules of the time because he was driving a Formula 2 car.

    He also finished 5th in the first World Championship race where he drove an F1 car (Monaco 1959).

    All 3 of Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mates have started their F1 race careers at Williams before moving to Mercedes.

    Alfa Romeo’s best start since Raikkonen started 6th in Belgium 2019.

    First time Ferrari have managed a 1-2 in the season opener since 2010 – another Bahrain race in which they were helped by a Red Bull suffering a mechanical problem.

    Wolfgang von Trips regains his record for shortest length of time between first and last victories (for a driver who had 2+ victories).

    First no-scoring weekend (i.e. no points in sprint race or race proper) for Verstappen since Azerbaijan 2021. Sainz now has the longest unbroken streak (16 races, last no-score was France 2021).

    First time since Italy 2021 that Verstappen has not been on the podium.

    Second time since he joined Red Bull that Perez has had 3 consecutive no-scores.

    First weekend since Emilia-Romagna 2020 in which Red Bull have not scored.

    First time since Austria 2020 that neither Red Bull reached the finish.

    Thanks to statsf1 and the official F1 site for some of these.

  17. Guenther Steiner didn’t have to have a difficult post-race phone call with Gene Haas for the first time in three years.

    1. That’s very true, underrated stat!

  18. Among the cars that made it to the chequered flag, those with a British licence occupied the last 6 places. Not sure if something like that ever happened before.

  19. From statsf1.com

    Monaco is now 4th on average points per race for a nation. 5.62.
    1 United Kingdom 9.58
    2 Germany 9.41
    3 Finland 6.42
    are the top 3

    At least one finnish driver has now raced in 44 season as many as USA
    That streak has been continuing from Portugese GP 1989

    China has now as many points as Hungary the 34th country to score a point

    Charles has now 9 poles for Ferrari (8th)
    Last “number 1” drivers stats look like this
    Vettel 12 (5th)
    Alonso 4 (13th)
    Raikkonen 7 (9th)

    Massa is 3rd in that list with 15 poles. So can Leclerc end this season with 3rd most poles for Ferrari?

  20. Technically, as sadi above, also the first scoring race, which was 1950 SIlverstone, with the following point scorers:

    Nino Farina (Italy)
    Luigi Fagioli (Italy)
    Reg Parnell (UK)
    Yves Giraud-Cabantous (France)
    Louis Rosier (France)

    Fangio DNFed

  21. Of course, one could, I guess, argue that Italy, UK, and France did not “debut” at their first scoring race since Grands Prix had already been running for decades. So there is a way of playing the language such that it really is only China.

  22. @keithcollantine Obviously the first country to score points on it’s f1 debut was Italy when Emilio Giuseppe Farina won the first ever f1 race in the 1950 championship.
    Or whatever country’s driver won the first race when points were introduced if that was not 1950.

  23. China is first country to score points as the only rookie since the championship began

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