The 2018 Formula 1 season managed to throw up its own fair share of quirky statistics. Here are a select collection of 11 stats that reflect the up and downs, the joys and despairs, the frustration and ecstasy of a long winding 21-race season.
#1 Valtteri Bottas goes winless and luckless
Luck can play cruel games. With the same car that Lewis Hamilton won 11 times, Bottas didn’t win once. He was close and leading several times, but never crossed the chequered flag ahead of everybody. He had finished second 7 times in 2018, The highest second places a driver has notched up without ever winning in a season. That is a painful and unwanted statistic.
#2 Hamilton has a 51% record since 2014
The 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix marked the 100th race since Formula 1’s 1.6-litre V6 hybrid turbo power era units. An era which has so far been utterly dominated by Mercedes - especially Lewis Hamilton, who has won 51 of those races. 2018 was a flawless performance from the five-time world champion, where he won from as low as 14 on the grid. Last time that happened was in Singapore 2008 when Fernando Alonso won the inaugural night race.
#3 Ricciardo emulates former champion Jochen Rindt
Despite those two sensational wins in China and Monaco, Daniel Ricciardo didn’t step on the rostrum again in 2018. In every other race, he either finished fourth, fifth, sixth, or retired and was plagued by technical issues so much so that he termed the car as 'cursed'. The last driver to win multiple races in a season without standing on any other step of the podium was Jochen Rindt in 1970 – who is also F1’s only posthumous champion.
#4 Max Verstappen mirrors his dad Jos Verstappen
Max Verstappen collided with Esteban Ocon which screwed over his chances of winning the Brazilian Grand Prix. Ocon, a backmarker, while faster on fresher rubber was trying to unlap himself. The last time a backmarker crashed into the race leader was in 2001 when Williams’s Juan Pablo Montoya found himself being taken out by Jos Verstappen in an Arrows.
#5 A point for everyone
In a silly season that saw a huge shuffling of the drivers for 2019, amazingly all 20 drivers who took to the grid for the first race in Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne for the first race also raced in the final race at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Incredibly, all 20 drivers competing in 2018 also managed to score points - which is the first instance in F1 history.
#6 Wooden spoon for Williams Racing
Williams scraped up just 7 points the whole season. It is safe to say Williams only participated and not competed this season. Having made developmental errors early, they effectively wrote off this campaign. The British outfit finished dead last in the constructors’ championship for the first time in their F1 history. The once mighty had truly fallen.
#7 Alonso whitewashes Stoffel Vandoorne
Vandoorne is no slouch but he just couldn’t find a way to beat Fernando Alonso in qualifying -ending up being whitewashed 21-0, at every race this year. Alonso while crediting this to his forays in other formats increasing his all-round skills, was also the last driver to perform the last whitewash in F1 – outqualifying Nelson Piquet Jr. 18-0 in 2008 at Renault.
#8 Lewis Hamilton breaches 400 and 3000
By finishing off his most spectacular season in style - with a win at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, Lewis Hamilton became the first driver in F1 history to break the 400-point mark. He notched up an aggregate of 408 points and in the process becoming the first driver to breach the 3,000 career points mark.
#9 Max Verstappen enjoys his best-ever podium streak
In what can be termed as one of the best turnarounds to a season seen in the sport, Max Verstappen shook off a terrible first half a dozen races (in which team-mate Daniel Ricciardo won twice) to take 11 podiums in the year. He finished with 5 straight podiums, which is a career-best streak and also fourth in the driver’s championships, again a career-best.
#10 Kimi Raikkonen sets the fastest lap in F1 history
Back in 2004, during pre-qualifying in Italy, Juan Pablo Montoya blitzed through Monza at an average of 262.242 km/h in his Williams. He went on to partner Kimi Raikkonen at McLaren the next year. 14 years later, Kimi finally broke the long-standing record. The Finn lapped the iconic 5.7 kilometre circuit at an average of 263.587 km/h to claim the record for himself en route to his stunning pole lap to wild cheering by Ferrari fans.
#11 Hypersoft tyre plays a starring role…
Sole tyre supplier Pirelli decided to introduce the softest-ever compound for 2018. The pink-walled hypersoft proved to be a boon. A direct consequence of it was that 10 lap records were set during 2018. The times for the track records tumbled more frequently than ever, with best times being clocked in Spain, Monaco, France, Austria, Belgium, Singapore, Russia, the United States, México and Brazil.