most overtaking in races, by a driver and more

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Rightly or wrongly, overtaking is often used by fans as the measure of a good Grand Prix. More passing means more action and therefore more excitement, right?

Not necessarily. Who could argue that watching Daniel Ricciardo hang on to win the Monaco Grand Prix in 2018 despite losing some of his power wasn’t convincing? The same could be said of Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the principality 12 months later, long after he radioed to say his tires were dead.

Sometimes defense can just be fun as an offense. This is why Fernando Alonso’s battle with Michael Schumacher at the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix is ​​a legend.

Even so, there is nothing worse in F1 than a race where the order hardly changes. This is why the DRS (Drag Reduction System) was introduced in 2011, which immediately led to record levels of overtaking and the most overtaking of any grand prix in history in the fourth race of the season.

Many believe the DRS is making things too easy, and the new rules coming in 2022 are designed to make it easier for cars to follow each other by reducing the amount of turbulent air in their wake. McLaren CTO James Key believes DRS will become “less influential” as a result of the changes.

George Russell, Williams FW43 overtakes Romain Grosjean, Haas VF-20 as he overtakes

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

What is an overrun?

You might think that an overtaking is an occasion where one car overtakes another, but that is not the definition used to analyze the data. First of all, an overtaking must take place on a thrown turn, which means that the movements of the first turn don’t technically count.

Secondly, any overtaking must then be maintained until the finish line on that lap, so if for example one car overtakes another to be immediately overtaken, it comes down to zero overtaking instead of two.

One pass must be for position, so straddling a back marker or hitting one of the first does not count. And that has to happen on the track as well, which means that changes in position following pit stops are not real overtaking either.

The reason for all of this is that it’s easier to look back and compare what happened in old races by studying the dashboards, which record the running order every time the cars finish. a lap. So you can tell when a pass for a position has occurred just by looking at the peloton’s order at any time during a race.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12 in the lead

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12 in the lead

Photo from: Red Bull Content Pool

Most overtaking in dry race – 161, 2016 Chinese Grand Prix

Unofficially, the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix saw the most overtaking of any dry race, with 161 assists for position as Nico Rosberg took the checkered flag for Mercedes. Part of the reason the figure was so high is that several of the fastest cars ended up near the back of the grid: Lewis Hamilton started at the back after MGU-H failed in qualifying, Kimi Raikkonen was forced to retire early for a new front wing after a collision that also pushed Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel down, and Daniel Ricciardo suffered a puncture while leading for Red Bull, ultimately falling to the 17th place.

It also helped that all 22 cars reached the finish, one of the few Grands Prix in F1 history that ended without any abandonment. The fact that everyone has reached the end has increased the number of overtaking.

The previous record holder would be the Turkish Grand Prix in 2011, which saw 79 overtakes during the 58-lap race. This was only the fourth grand prix after the introduction of DRS, the passing aid that gives cars speed acceleration by opening a flap on the rear spoiler.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari F2012, leads Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull RB8 Renault

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari F2012, leads Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull RB8 Renault

Photo By: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images

Most overtaking in a wet race – 147, Brazilian Grand Prix 2012

According to tire supplier Pirelli, there were 147 overtakes in the final of the 2012 season at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the largest number of races affected by rain. Conditions made the Interlagos Grand Prix one of the most exciting highlights of a season, as championship leader Sebastian Vettel was knocked down in the first round and forced into an epic retaliation to beat Fernando Alonso from Ferrari in the title. With the Spaniard finishing second behind McLaren’s Jenson Button, sixth place was enough to give Vettel his third consecutive crown, topping the standings by just three points.

The race was also notable for being the first to be led by Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, who took the lead from Button on lap 18 and ceded it to Lewis Hamilton 30 laps later after a spin. On lap 54, the pair collided in Turn 1, putting the two out of the race for the win.

With a grandstand finish in sight, Paul di Resta’s crash three laps from the finish saw the race and the championship battle end behind the safety car.

Jackie Stewart, BRM P261, leads Jim Clark, Lotus 33-Climax at the 1965 Italian Grand Prix

Jackie Stewart, BRM P261, leads Jim Clark, Lotus 33-Climax at the 1965 Italian Grand Prix

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Most overtaking for the head – 41, 1965 Italian Grand Prix

The 1965 Italian Grand Prix at Monza is believed to have seen the most number of overtakes for the lead of any F1 championship race in history, with first place changing hands 41 times during the event. of 76 turns. Four British drivers – Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill, Jim Clark and John Surtees – all traded the lead for BRM, Lotus and Ferrari respectively, largely thanks to the powerful suction effect on the high-speed circuit.

In the end, Stewart won, just over three seconds ahead of teammate BRM Hill. Clark and Surtees both retired with mechanical issues.

The start of the race with only six cars

The start of the race with only six cars

Photo By: Steve Swope / Motorsport Images

The fewest overtaking races – 0, Monaco Grand Prix 2003, United States Grand Prix 2005, European Grand Prix 2009

Since 1950, there have only been three races without any overtaking. All three arrived over a six-year period, marked by the Monaco Grand Prix in 2003 and the European Grand Prix in Valencia in 2009.

The 2005 United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis is infamous for having only six cars participating in the race. The entire bar peloton Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi withdrew from the race at the end of the formation lap after political fallout caused by a series of Michelin tire failures during practice. Unable to guarantee the safety of the drivers or to find a compromise with the teams using Bridgestone tires, the Michelin teams chose not to compete in the race, much to the fury of the thousands of fans present.

The Russian Grand Prix almost repeated the feat in 2017: while Valtteri Bottas won the first F1 race of his career, fans were only allowed one overtake in the 52-lap race.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, celebrates on the podium

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, celebrates on the podium

Photo By: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Most overtakes by a single driver in a season – 78, Max Verstappen (2016)

2016 was a big year for Max Verstappen: Promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull at the start of the season, the Dutch driver won the Spanish Grand Prix in his debut after his Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton faced each other in the first round. . Verstappen – who was only 18 at the time – drove like a seasoned pro to fend off Kimi Raikkonen on a two-stop strategy.

According to data compiled by Pirelli at the end of the season, Verstappen amassed 78 overtakes on the 21-race calendar; 18 for Toro Rosso and 60 for Red Bull, an average of 3.7 per race. Meanwhile, teammate Daniel Ricciardo made 61 passes, which would have been a record in itself without the teenage sensation.

Sebastian Vettel (2012), Michael Schumacher (2003) and Niki Lauda (1984) shared the record with 60 overtakes in a single season before 2016, while Felipe Massa and Mark Webber narrowly missed the 59 in 2013. Jean Eric- Vergne scored 58 in 2012 and Sergio Perez recorded 56 in 2016, which is Kimi Raikkonen’s total of 56 in 2013.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB8, leads at the start of the race at the 2012 Japanese GP

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB8, leads at the start of the race at the 2012 Japanese GP

Photo from: Motorsport Images

Most overtakes in a single season – 870 (2012)

It wasn’t just Max Verstappen who was there to shake things up in 2016. The entire grid combined for a total of 866 overtakes in the 21-race campaign, more than any other year. in F1 bar one.
But the all-time high belongs to the 2012 season, which saw 870 overtakes at an average of 43.5 per grand prix over the 20-race calendar. This is slightly higher than the 2011 average of 43.2 when DRS was first used.

The average pass in F1 dropped significantly in 1994 when refueling was reintroduced, with 18.1 overshoots per race well below the 24.5 that had been observed the previous year. The average hovered between low and mid-teens until refueling was banned for the start of the 2010 season, when the average immediately dropped from 13.2 overtakes per race in 2009 to 23.8 in 2010.


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